County Announces Return of United States Hockey League to the Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center
August 05, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
USHL Team to Call Dane County Home for First Time in Nearly 20 Years
A new five-year agreement with Madtown Hockey, LLC will bring an expansion team from the United States Hockey League to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center (AEC) for the first time in 20 years, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
“We’re excited to welcome USHL hockey back to the Coliseum after nearly 20 years,” said Parisi. “We know that, together with USHL hockey, we can provide an exciting experience for fans. This partnership is yet another reason why the Alliant Energy Center remains such an important contributor to Dane County’s regional economy, and continues to offer world-class entertainment for residents and visitors.”
The United States Hockey League’s Board of Directors has approved the new Member Club that will play in Dane County at the AEC’s Coliseum. The team will be owned and operated by Madtown Hockey, LLC, a consortium of veteran and new USHL owners.
Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, the more than $800,000, five-year agreement would begin in time for the 2014-15 USHL season. A naming contest for the team will be announced later this year.
“I remember going to hockey games in the Coliseum as a kid. The environment there was awesome. We plan to bring that energy back with USHL hockey,” said Tom Garrity, CEO of Quan Sports Management and a Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin native who is part owner of the team and will be assisting with its launch.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the Alliant Energy Center staff in making this happen and are very excited to work with them to bring a great product to the people of Madison and its surrounding areas,” said Saul Treiman, the team’s Chairman and part-owner.
Dane County first hosted a Madison USHL team for 11 seasons from 1984 to 1995, competing as the Madison Capitols until 1991, and then as the Wisconsin Capitols until 1995. During that time, the Capitols won over 200 games, including a team record 33 games in both the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons under coach Scott Owens, the now long-time head coach at Colorado College.
The USHL is widely considered an elite proving ground that has graduated some of the talent competing in college and professional hockey today. Nearly 40 percent of NCAA Division I hockey players are alumni of the USHL, (including 15 of the 26 players for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers last season) and 99 percent of USHL players earn Division I hockey opportunities.
A total of 12 USHL players who played for the Capitols went on to be selected in the NHL draft, with numerous other players earning NCAA Division 1 opportunities.
Former NHL defenseman Brian Rafalski spent the 1990-91 season in the USHL with the Madison Capitols before staying in town to play collegiately at the University of Wisconsin. His NHL career spanned 11 years, and included three Stanley Cup Championships, the most by any USHL alum. Derek Plante, a member of the Madison team for the 1988-89 season, went on to become the second-ever USHL alum to win the Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Dallas Stars.
The return of the USHL to the Coliseum comes on the heels of a recent announcement that the Gold Wing Riders Association’s “Wing Ding” will return to the AEC grounds for the fifth time in July of 2104. That show is estimated to have 12,000 guests in attendance, with an economic impact of $3.5 million.
Interest in planned upgrades for the AEC, such as a proposed $18 million construction of two multi-use pavilions to replace aging barn facilities on site, has also generated more than a dozen new contract proposals for shows that are interested in bringing their event to the AEC. This interest could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business for the center and an influx in new tourism dollars to the local economy.
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