Building A Dynasty: Bruins and Grizzlies have farm system in place

“By having an NA3 team 40 minutes down the road it’s a huge competitive advantage for us."

Posted: Jan 9, 2020 11:27 PM

KIMT NEWS 3 SPORTS – Two area teams have joined forces to become two of the best in junior hockey.

Junior hockey in Austin dates back to the 1970s with the Austin Mavericks. They later became known as the Austin Bruins in 2010. What would happen just a few years later the owners weren’t even in the market for.

“This opportunity got presented to us by the league a couple years ago and we weren’t even in the market to get into the NA3, but after talking it over with our staff at the time we realized what a great opportunity it would be,” said Mike Cooper, Co-Owner of the Austin Bruins and Rochester Grizzlies.

When the Minnesota Junior Hockey League collapsed, the Rochester Ice Hawks were left scrambling to find a league. They would join the North American Tier III Hockey league. The ownership was later transferred to Cooper and Craig Patrick, owners of the Austin Bruins. They would rename and rebrand the team into what is now known as the Rochester Grizzlies.

Brian Schulz, the President of Business Operations for the organization says the new arrangement gives players a leg up on the competition.

“By having a NA3 team 40 minutes down the road it’s a huge competitive advantage for us in terms of business, shared resources, and it’s also a huge recruiting advantage for our players.”

Having a Tier III team under the same ownership allows players to get on the ice with tougher competition. Once the Austin coaches conclude a player is ready and there’s an opening, that player can move up quickly while still playing the same type of system.

“Bottom line is that’s what we’re here for whether it’s to advance players to the NAHL or to college,” said Grizzlies head coach, Chris Ratzloff.

Grizzly players have been reaping the benefit this year with players being part of eight games so far with the Bruins.

Peyton Hart has embraced the opportunity.

“It’s a great experience for sure,” Hart said. “I’m definitely getting to a faster pace of play and knowing what’s different between up there and down here in Rochester.”

Teammate Matt DeRosa has also spent time with the Bruins. Getting on the ice with superior players is what his heart desires.

“You kind of get stagnant,” he said. “You see the same pace and you kind of play at the same pace but when you have to up your game, you kind of step back and you're like, ‘wow, I can play faster. I should play faster.’ You bring that back to Rochester and it just makes the entire experience so much better.”

Like the players, the coaches are learning from this partnership on the ice.

“We learn from each other on drills and maybe some of the things that they’re focused on to try to get some wins. Those are the important things that we’re trying to do here, too,” said Bruins head coach, Steve Howard.

Cooper believes over time the NAHL would like more teams to do what the Grizzlies and Bruins are doing.

“It’s another great avenue for young players to develop at the junior level.”

The Bruins and Grizzlies are both back in action on Jan. 10. The Grizzlies host Milwaukee at 7 pm, and the Bruins host St. Cloud at 7:05 PM.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 22464

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7540565
Ramsey2610103
Stearns198412
Nobles14883
Anoka126259
Dakota118244
Olmsted57510
Washington56230
Kandiyohi4751
Rice4112
Clay40625
Scott3792
Todd2960
Wright2691
Sherburne2192
Mower2161
Carver1852
Benton1692
Steele1480
Martin1265
Blue Earth1221
St. Louis11513
Freeborn970
Pine850
Winona7815
Nicollet747
Carlton730
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Goodhue603
Watonwan590
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Itasca537
Chisago501
Dodge460
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Meeker440
Le Sueur431
Morrison400
Douglas390
Jackson390
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Lyon360
Isanti330
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Rock210
Swift170
Pennington170
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Wabasha170
Brown142
Faribault130
Beltrami130
Sibley130
Cass122
Norman110
Wilkin113
Kanabec111
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pope80
Wadena80
Aitkin70
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Lincoln50
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Red Lake40
Traverse30
Big Stone30
Clearwater30
Redwood30
Grant30
Lac qui Parle30
Houston20
Lake10
Hubbard10
Roseau10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 18342

Reported Deaths: 496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3876115
Woodbury265831
Black Hawk171343
Linn93876
Marshall87815
Dallas87317
Buena Vista6820
Johnson6058
Muscatine54741
Wapello5384
Crawford4882
Tama40026
Scott34610
Louisa33610
Dubuque33016
Jasper25716
Pottawattamie2277
Sioux2100
Washington1858
Wright1240
Allamakee1194
Plymouth1191
Warren1140
Story961
Poweshiek888
Mahaska888
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines581
Boone560
Taylor480
Cedar461
Guthrie443
Clarke400
Benton391
Jones360
Iowa360
Monroe354
Shelby350
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Osceola310
Marion300
Webster291
Hamilton280
Madison261
Fayette260
Monona240
Lee230
Cherokee230
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Jefferson190
Harrison190
Lyon190
Grundy190
Floyd181
Sac170
Mills160
Hardin150
Butler150
Delaware150
Humboldt140
Ida140
Keokuk140
Hancock140
Appanoose133
Jackson130
Dickinson130
Clay130
Greene130
Howard120
Audubon121
Winnebago110
Cass110
Page100
Van Buren90
Franklin90
Carroll90
Pocahontas90
Chickasaw80
Emmet80
Unassigned80
Kossuth80
Adair70
Adams70
Lucas70
Union60
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Mitchell50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
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