The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the 2017 Robertson Cup National Championship will be played at the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Center in Duluth, Minnesota, from May 11-14, 2017.
"With its rich history and state-of-the-art facilities, we feel that the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Center in Duluth is the perfect venue to crown our National Champion in 2017," said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. "The feedback we received from the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts who attended last year's Robertson Cup in Minnesota was very positive, so we felt a priority and need to keep that momentum and standard going. In addition to the NAHL Showcase and NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, it is yet another incredible event to highlight our most important asset, the players. With a National Championship on the line, we expect the competition among our four divisional playoff champions to be at a very high and entertaining level."
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, over 185 players have already made NCAA Division I commitments during the 2016-17 season. The NAHL Robertson Cup Championship plays a big role in that success, with dozens of players from last year's Championship earning an NCAA Division I opportunity following their participation in the event.
The Robertson Cup is awarded to the national playoff champion of the NAHL. The oldest junior hockey trophy in the United States, the Robertson Cup is named in honor of Chuck Robertson, a pioneer of junior hockey in the NAHL and youth hockey in the state of Michigan. Robertson was the owner of the Paddock Pools Saints when they won a record seven straight championships from 1976-83.
"We are extremely excited to be hosting the Robertson Cup," stated Jerry DeMeo, President/CEO of the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center. "Duluth has a very rich and storied hockey tradition and to have the best teams in one of the top junior leagues in the world decide their National Championship in our arena, adds to our growing list of notable events at our venue."
Built in 2008, the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Center serves as the home of Duluth's High School Hockey, the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association and the Dave Goldberg family branch of the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland. The center is a tribute to the rich hockey tradition in the area with numerous displays of Duluth's hockey history. The facility has two ice rinks (Sill and Seitz Arenas). The Robertson Cup Championship will be held in Sill Arena, which accommodates up to 1,600 spectators.
The four NAHL divisional playoff champions will advance to the Robertson Cup Championship. Once the four NAHL Divisional Playoff Champions are determined, clubs will be seeded 1-4 based upon their finish in the NAHL regular-season standings. The game schedule will be as follows: The #1 Seed will face the #4 seed in a best of three series. The #2 seed will face the #3 seed in a best of three series. The two series winners will advance on to a one-game playoff to determine the Robertson Cup National Champion. The event will begin on Thursday, May 11th and conclude no later than Sunday, May 14th.
The event will be held in cooperation with the 2017 NAHL Future Prospects Combine. Entering its fourth year in 2017, the Combine will accept applications from all players with birth years from 2001-04. The players will be introduced to and provided with a weekend that involves the 'NAHL Experience,' which will consist of competitive hockey, education of the future levels of hockey, academic preparation for NCAA hockey and exposure to professional, college, and junior scouts.
The Holiday Inn & Suites Duluth Downtown is the official host hotel of the 2017 NAHL Robertson Cup. Located at tip of Lake Superior in the heart of downtown Duluth, The Holiday Inn & Suites is Duluth's largest full-service hotel. Amenities include: complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, expanded 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour business center, two swimming pools, complimentary covered parking, and skywalk access to downtown Duluth and Canal Park. The Holiday Inn & Suites will host teams, staff, fans and scouts, as well as, serve as host to the 2017 Robertson Cup Luncheon. Rooms can booked at the special Robertson Cup Rate of $125 per night. Reservations can be made by calling (218) 722-1202 and asking for the Robertson Cup Rate.