Minnesota Wilderness

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Minnesota Wilderness
MinnesotaWilderness.png
City Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
League NAHL
Division Central
Founded 2003
Home arena Northwoods Credit Union Arena
Colors Green, Black, and White
              
General manager David Boitz (2013–14)
Head coach Tim Madsen (2016–17)
Franchise history
Junior A/Tier III franchise
2000–2004 Northwest Wisconsin Knights
2004–2010 Wisconsin Mustangs
2010–2012 Wisconsin Wilderness
2012–2013 Minnesota Wilderness
Tier II NAHL franchise
2003–2006 Texarkana Bandits
2006–2012 St. Louis Bandits
2013–present Minnesota Wilderness

The Minnesota Wilderness are an American Tier II junior ice hockey team based in Cloquet, Minnesota and play in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The organization formerly fielded teams in the Canadian-based Junior A Superior International Junior Hockey League for three seasons and in the American-based Tier III Minnesota Junior Hockey League.

Prior to the 2013–14 season, the Wilderness' owners bought the franchise rights to the St. Louis Bandits of the Tier II North American Hockey League and began play for that season.

History[edit]

The organization was founded in 2000 as the Northwest Wisconsin Knights as a Junior B team in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL). In 2004, the Knights changed their name to the Wisconsin Mustangs. In 2006, their league was promoted to Tier III Junior A status by USA Hockey.

2011 Wilderness

From 2001 until 2003, the Knights had an interleague relationship with the Canadian Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). The 2009–10 season saw them back in an interlock with the SIJHL.

Knights' Logo
Mustangs' Logo

On May 17, 2010, the Mustangs announced they were officially leaving the MnJHL, their players were released to a dispersal draft.[1] Soon after they applied for entry into the SIJHL. After a couple months, they were allowed entry. The team dropped the Mustangs logo, colors, and name as the organization entered the new league and became the Wisconsin Wilderness.

On September 17, 2010, the Wilderness played their first ever game as a full member of the SIJHL, on the road, against the Sioux Lookout Flyers. The Wilderness took the game 3-2 to record their first ever win as a full member of the league. On September 24, 2010, the Wilderness became the first American-based full membership SIJHL team to host a regular season game in the United States. The Wilderness defeated the Fort Frances Lakers 4-3. In 2011, the Wilderness won the league championship.

In the summer of 2012, the team relocated to Cloquet, Minnesota and changed their name to the Minnesota Wilderness.

On May 4, 2013, the Wilderness became the first American team in history to win the Dudley Hewitt Cup by defeating the St. Michael's Buzzers 4-3 in overtime in the Central Canada final. They also became the first American team to compete directly for the Royal Bank Cup, the Canadian National Junior A championship.

After winning the Dudley Hewitt Cup, the Wilderness announced that the 2013 Royal Bank Cup would be their final foray in Canadian junior hockey as they joined the North American Hockey League (NAHL) at the beginning of the 2013–14 season. At the Royal Bank Cup, Minnesota finished fourth in the round robin with a 1-3 record. In the semifinal, they surrendered a 4-2 third period lead to the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits to lose 5-4 in overtime. Their loss to Brooks ended their hopes of a National Championship and was their final game as members of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

In the spring of 2013, the Wilderness bought the franchise rights of the dormant St. Louis Bandits franchise to obtain entry into the NAHL.

In the spring of 2016, the league realigned the Wilderness to the Central Division.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2000–01 36 26 9 1 53 192 120 3rd, MnJHL
2001–02 42 30 10 2 62 227 160 2nd, MnJHL
2002–03 42 29 10 3 61 221 132 3rd, MnJHL
2003–04 40 14 25 1 3 32 152 194 5th, MnJHL
2004–05 48 11 34 1 2 25 151 267 6th, MnJHL
2005–06 48 21 23 3 1 46 180 196 4th, MnJHL
2006–07 40 25 12 3 0 53 176 130 3rd, MnJHL Lost Semifinal
2007–08 48 38 5 5 81 268 122 2nd, MnJHL Lost Quarterfinal
2008–09 48 29 17 2 60 219 172 4th, MnJHL Lost Semifinal
2009–10 50 28 18 4 60 189 148 4th, MnJHL Lost Semifinal
2010–11 56 45 6 5 95 264 122 1st, SIJHL League Champions
2011–12 56 49 6 1 99 259 97 1st, SIJHL League Champions
2012–13 56 51 3 2 104 282 85 1st, SIJHL League Champions
Won Dudley Hewitt Cup
North American Hockey League (NAHL)
2013–14 60 37 14 9 83 159 115 2nd, Midwest Lost Div. Semifinals, 2-3 vs. Wenatchee Wild
2014–15 60 39 15 6 84 209 152 2nd, Midwest Won First Round, 3-2 vs. Coulee Region Chill
Won Quarterfinals, 3-0 vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Won Semifinals, 2-0 vs. Janesville Jets
Won Finals, 2-0 vs. Austin Bruins
Robertson Cup Champions
2015–16 60 34 18 7 76 183 161 3rd, Midwest Won Div. Semifinals, 3-1 vs. Janesville Jets
Lost Div. Finals, 2-3 Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Playoffs[edit]

Wisconsin Wilderness defeated Fort Frances Lakers 1 two-game aggregate to 1, 2-1 SO tie breaker
Wisconsin Wilderness defeated Thunder Bay North Stars 4-games-to-none
Wisconsin Wilderness defeated Dryden Ice Dogs 4-games-to-none SIJHL CHAMPIONS
Fourth and eliminated in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (0-2-1)
Fort Frances Lakers defeated Wisconsin Wilderness 1 two-game aggregate to 1, 6-5 SO tie breaker
Wisconsin Wilderness defeated Thunder Bay North Stars 4-games-to-none
Wisconsin Wilderness defeated Fort Frances Lakers 4-games-to-3 SIJHL CHAMPIONS
Fourth and eliminated in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (1-0-2)
Minnesota Wilderness defeated Minnesota Iron Rangers 4-games-to-none
Minnesota Wilderness defeated Fort Frances Lakers 4-games-to-2 SIJHL CHAMPIONS
First in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (2-0-1)
Minnesota Wilderness beat St. Michael's Buzzers (OJHL) 4-3 OT in final DUDLEY HEWITT CUP CHAMPIONS
Fourth in 2013 Royal Bank Cup round robin (1-3-0)
Brooks Bandits (AJHL) beat Minnesota Wilderness 5-4 OT in semi-final

Interleague records[edit]

Season GP W' L T OTL Pts GF GA League
2001–02 24 6 14 4 0 16 77 118 SIJHL
2002–03 20 6 14 0 0 12 76 113 SIJHL
2009–10 20 4 15 1 9 56 90 SIJHL

References[edit]

External links[edit]