Albert Lea Thunder
|Albert Lea Thunder|
|City||Albert Lea, Minnesota|
|Home arena||Albert Lea Ice Arena|
|Colors||Navy Blue and Tan|
|2008-2010||Albert Lea Thunder|
The Albert Lea Thunder was a Tier II Junior A ice hockey team in the North American Hockey League's Central Division. The team was an expansion franchise for the 2008-2009 season and played their home games at the Albert Lea Ice Arena in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
The Franchise joined the North American Hockey League for the 2008-2009 season with Chicago businessman Jim Perkins and Barry Soskin as owners. Soskin is the owner of NJHL independent Junior teams the Findlay Grrrowl and defunct Pittsburgh Cougars, as well as the former owner of the ECHL Toledo Storm and CHL Nashville Nighthawks.
On November 18, 2009, reports came out that the Thunder were engaging in "pay to play," or taking money to guarantee players' spots on the team. A total of 8 players where named. The organization was facing a $400,000 fine from the NAHL
On December 7, 2009, the NAHL issued following statement:
- The North American Hockey League’s Board of Governors today voted to terminate the Albert Lea membership. The league is now involved in addressing a number of transition issues regarding the future operations of the team. The league will work to stabilize the team as quickly as possible.
Despite the scandal, the Thunder mounted a late-season comeback and made the playoffs for the first time in team history in 2010.
On May 11, 2010, it was reported that the team had found new owners and would relocate to Texas for the 2010-2011 season. Their roster was officially sold to the expansion Amarillo, TX franchise, the Amarillo Bulls, on May 26, 2010.
Regular season records
|2008-09||58||4||49||5||13||112||309||1,497||5th, Central Division|
|2009-10||58||19||34||5||43||153||231||1,345||4th, Central Division|
|2009||Did Not Qualify|
|2010||3||0||3||0||5||18||68||Lost in 1st Round|
- "Albert Lea Thunder Hockey Registration & Management Software By GOALLINE.ca". Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
- "NAHL finds Thunder guilty of pay-to-play". Archived from the original on 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
- Minnesota Meltdown-- NAHL Roster Spots for Sale?
- NAHL Statement on terminating Albert Lea Thunder ownership
- Albert Lea, Mason City Lose NAHL Teams