The Central Wisconsin Saints will be hosting the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League Lakes Cup, the championship tournament for the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL), known as the “Final or Frozen Four”.
The Central Wisconsin Saints will be hosting the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League Lakes Cup, the championship tournament for the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL), known as the “Final or Frozen Four.”
The Saints secured one of the four spots in the tournament by winning two out of three games in the first round playoff series in Kenosha. The Saints defeated the Wisconsin Rampage on Saturday and Sunday after dropping the first game on Friday. This marks the first time the Saints have advanced to the Lakes Cup.
“This was a huge step for the program and it means a lot that we are in the tournament that we are hosting,” said Mike Grote, team Director. “It's like having home field advantage for the Super Bowl. We really need the community to come out and watch their Saints this weekend.”
The Lakes Cup will be held at the KB Willett Arena, 1000 Minnesota Avenue, Stevens Point, on March 10-13. The games will start at 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The match-ups have not yet been determined. The championship game will be at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Central Wisconsin Saints will be offering discounted tickets to see both games on one day.
“Any time we can bring an event into the area of this size, it means a lot to the greater Stevens Point Area,” stated Tom Coleman with the Central Wisconsin/Stevens Point Area Sports Commission. “We are a great sports town, and when the attendees go out into the community and stay at our hotels, eat at our great restaurants, or take advantage of any one of the many great shopping opportunities, they will see why we are such a great place to host special events like the Great Lakes Cup. “
The regular season league champion and the winner of the Lakes Cup are guaranteed spots in the Junior National Championships in Massachusetts in late March.
“This is a great opportunity,” stated Joe Zuniga owner of the Central Wisconsin Saints, “ to show our community the level of competition at the Junior Level. Our goal as a Saints organization is to give the players the tools they need to move on to a college and play hockey. Last year we moved two players to NCAA Division 3 Colleges and 4 to Junior Colleges. Many college coaches will be invited to attend this Tournament. Coaches will have the opportunity to see the caliber of players that are in the Great lakes Hockey league. After this tournament some players will be contacted by colleges, and that’s what we are about.”
The GLJHL is made up of teams from across the Midwest, from Ohio to Missouri. The league's 11 members are broken into two divisions. In the West, the Saints are joined by the St. Louis Frontenacs, Indianapolis Inferno, Ft. Wayne Federals, Chicago Hitmen, and the Wisconsin Rampage. The East Division features the Michigan Ice Dogs, Michigan Mountain Cats, Motor City Chiefs, Tri-City Icehawks, and Wooster Oilers. The Ice Dogs, Chiefs and Hitmen also won first round playoff series to join the Saints in the tournament.
As part of the GLJHL, the Saints play a 44 game schedule and participate in league playoffs with the goal of competing for USA Hockey National Championship. The Saints home rink is the Willett Ice Arena, which is also home to the NCAA Division III University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point team. The Saints are dedicated to providing a competitive environment for some of the top players at the U-20 level to improve their skills and showcase their abilities to NAHL, USHL, and NCAA college hockey programs.