Northwoods League

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Northwoods League
Northwoods League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1994
No. of teams 18
Countries  United States
Most recent champion(s) Kenosha Kingfish
Most titles Rochester Honkers (5)[1]
Official website

The Northwoods League is a collegiate summer baseball league comprising teams of the top college players from North America and beyond. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. Players are not paid, so as to maintain their college eligibility.

Teams are run similar to a professional minor league team, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions, using wooden bats and minor league specification baseballs. Teams play 72 games scheduled over a 76-day season running from late May to mid-August. The season itself is broken into two halves, with the winners of each half in each of the two divisions meeting first in a playoff to determine a divisional champion. The divisional champions then meet in a playoff for the league championship.

The Northwoods League has more teams, draws more fans and plays more games than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League.[2] Many of the teams in the league play in ballparks formerly occupied by professional clubs from the Midwest League, Prairie League and the Northern League. The wooden bat circuit allows communities deemed too small for pro ball to continue to enjoy high quality, competitive baseball during the summer months.

The teams are located in the Northwoods region of the Upper Midwestern United States and Southern Canada, mostly in the U.S. states of Minnesota (with five teams) and Wisconsin (with eight teams), also with two teams in Michigan and one team each in Iowa, Illinois, and Ontario.


Northwoods League
Division Team Location Stadium Capacity
Duluth Huskies Duluth, Minnesota Wade Stadium 4,200
Eau Claire Express Eau Claire, Wisconsin Carson Park 3,800
La Crosse Loggers La Crosse, Wisconsin Copeland Park 3,550
Mankato MoonDogs Mankato, Minnesota Franklin Rogers Park 1,400
Rochester Honkers Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Field 2,570
St. Cloud Rox St. Cloud, Minnesota Joe Faber Field 2,000
Thunder Bay Border Cats Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada Port Arthur Stadium 3,031
Waterloo Bucks Waterloo, Iowa Riverfront Stadium 5,000
Willmar Stingers Willmar, Minnesota Bill Taunton Stadium 1,500
Division Team Location Stadium Capacity
Battle Creek Bombers Battle Creek, Michigan C.O. Brown Stadium 4,701
Green Bay Bullfrogs Green Bay, Wisconsin Joannes Stadium 2,000
Kalamazoo Growlers Kalamazoo, Michigan Homer Stryker Field 4,000
Kenosha Kingfish Kenosha, Wisconsin Simmons Field 3,000
Lakeshore Chinooks Mequon, Wisconsin Kapco Park 3,000
Madison Mallards Madison, Wisconsin Warner Park 7,500
Rockford Baseball Rockford, Illinois Aviators Stadium 3,279
Wisconsin Woodchucks Wausau, Wisconsin Athletic Park 3,850
Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin Witter Field 1,560


League champions[edit]

  • 2015: Kenosha Kingfish(1) beat St Cloud Rox
  • 2014: Lakeshore Chinooks(1) beat Mankato MoonDogs
  • 2013: Madison Mallards(2) beat Duluth Huskies
  • 2012: La Crosse Loggers(1) beat Mankato MoonDogs
  • 2011: Battle Creek Bombers(1) beat Mankato MoonDogs
  • 2010: Eau Claire Express(1) beat Rochester Honkers
  • 2009: Rochester Honkers(5) beat La Crosse Loggers
  • 2008: Thunder Bay Border Cats(2) beat Madison Mallards
  • 2007: St. Cloud River Bats(3) beat Eau Claire Express
  • 2006: Rochester Honkers(4) beat Thunder bay Border Cats
  • 2005: Thunder Bay Border Cats(1) beat Madison Mallards
  • 2004: Madison Mallards(1) beat Duluth Huskies
  • 2003: Wisconsin Woodchucks(2) beat St Cloud River Bats
  • 2002: Waterloo Bucks(2) beat Brainerd Mighty Gulls
  • 2001: Wisconsin Woodchucks(1) beat St Cloud River Bats
  • 2000: St. Cloud River Bats(2) beat Waterloo Bucks
  • 1999: Rochester Honkers(3) beat St Cloud River Bats
  • 1998: St. Cloud Rivers Bats(1) beat Rochester Honkers
  • 1997: Rochester Honkers(2) beat Waterloo Bucks
  • 1996: Waterloo Bucks(1) beat Rochester Honkers
  • 1995: Kenosha Kroakers(1) beat Manitowoc Skunks
  • 1994: Rochester Honkers(1)

Notable Northwoods League alumni[edit]


The Northwoods League, in addition to being a developmental league for players and coaches, is also a developmental league for umpires. The concentrated game schedule, travel, and Minor League-like game conditions give NWL umpires a pre-professional experience. Since the League's inaugural season in 1994, 44 of its former umpires have furthered their careers in affiliated professional baseball.

The League recruits its umpires from the two umpire schools whose curricula have been approved by the Professional Baseball Umpire Corps. (PBUC): The Umpire School and Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires. The umpires ultimately chosen are usually among the top school graduates who were then selected to the pre-season, PBUC sponsored Umpire Evaluation Course.

The NWL employs nine two-man crews during the regular season, a six-man crew during the mid-season All-Star game, and six umpires for both the divisional playoffs and championship series. Umpires are salaried and are provided hotel accommodations, meals and travel.


  1. ^ Kitzman, Shane (August 17, 2009). "Honkers beat La Crosse for fifth championship". Rochester Post-Bulletin. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  2. ^ Willmar, MN Joins Northwoods League at, URL accessed October 18, 2009. Archived 10/18/09
  3. ^ "2012 Northwoods League Schedule Announced". 2012 Northwoods League Schedule Announced. Northwoods League. Retrieved 19 December 2011.

External links[edit]

Franchise Timeline[edit]

Kenosha Kingfish Kalamazoo Growlers Lakeshore Chinooks Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Willmar Stingers Green Bay Bullfrogs Battle Creek Bombers Eau Claire Express Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers Brainerd Blue Thunder Thunder Bay Border Cats La Crosse Loggers Duluth Huskies Madison Mallards Alexandria Blue Anchors Alexandria Beetles Mankato MoonDogs Mankato Mashers Grand Forks Channel Cats Brainerd Mighty Gulls Minot Greenheads Austin Southern Minny Stars Waterloo Bucks Wisconsin Woodchucks Wausau Woodchucks Rochester Honkers Manitowoc Skunks Kenosha Kroakers St. Cloud Rox St. Cloud River Bats Dubuque Mud Puppies