ST. CLOUD – The North American Hockey League Board of Governors approved the relocation of the Brookings Blizzard to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where the team will continue play in the NAHL’s Central Division during the 2019-20 season as the St. Cloud Blizzard. The team will be playing and office out of the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex (MAC).
“We have enjoyed the past seven years in Brookings,” said Blizzard Owner and Governor Chris Canavati. “It is a great town with passionate fans and a great facility. However, there were some things beyond our control that made it necessary to consider a new home. We felt like the relocation to St. Cloud gives us the best chance as an organization to continue to be competitive in the NAHL and the Central Division.”
The Blizzard will continue to be coached by Moe Mantha, who will be entering his third season behind the bench for the Blizzard and eighth season in the NAHL overall.
“In their time in Brookings, the Blizzard have had on-ice success, which includes advancing players to the next level and that is something that we expect to continue in St. Cloud,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The relocation provides the team with the best option to be successful on and off the ice moving forward in a quality venue with enhanced access to scouts and a deep player pool, which includes closer proximity to many of the teams in the NAHL family of leagues.”
Brookings went 11-44-3-2 during the 2018-19 season and finished last in the NAHL with 27 points – 12 behind the nearest team.
The Blizzard qualified for the playoffs three times – 2013, 2016 and 2017 – during their seven years in Brookings.
They posted a regular-season record of 158-217-19-26 (.376 winning percentage) and went 3-9 in the postseason.
The Blizzard’s best season in Brookings was its inaugural campaign in 2012-13. They went 32-23-1-4 (69 points) and earned the No. 3 seed in the NAHL Central Division Playoffs semifinals before getting swept by second-seeded Bismarck.
The Blizzard were the fourth seed in 2015-16 after going 25-29-4-2 (56 points). They fell 3-1 to No. 1 Bismarck in the division semifinals.
The Blizzard finished 30-25-4-1 (65 points) and earned the No. 3 seed in 2016-17. They dropped the best-of-five division semifinal series 3-2 to the No. 2 MN Wilderness.
BLIZZARD IN BROOKINGS
NAHL Central Division
Year Rec. (pts.) Div. Post.
2012-13 32-23-1-4 (69) 3rd 0-3
2013-14 18-34-3-5 (44) *5th —
2014-15 19-32-2-7 (47) *5th —
2015-16 25-29-4-2 (56) 4th 1-3
2016-17 30-25-4-1 (65) 3rd 2-3
2017-18 23-30-2-5 (53) 6th —
2018-19 11-44-3-2 (27) 6th —
TOTAL 158-217-19-26 (361) — 3-9
*The Central Division had five teams in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex is a city-owned complex consisting of two hockey rinks, two baseball fields and an executive public golf course. It is home to the St. Cloud Youth Hockey Association, the St. Cloud Figure Skating Club, the Cathedral High School boy’s hockey team (2019 Minnesota State Class A Champions) and the St. Benedict NCAA Division III women’s hockey team. Seating capacity in the main arena is 2,100.
The MAC is currently planning a $24 million expansion to the facility with approximately $12 million allotted for the arena. The rink expansion would provide much needed space for additional locker room facilities, meeting rooms, offices and dry land training areas.