MARQUETTE - The Marquette Royales have made it official.
The Junior A level hockey team officially announced details about the team on Wednesday, two days after the Marquette City Commission approved three-year leases for ice time, locker rooms and office space at Lakeview Arena. It also comes about a month after word was first announced about the formation of the team.
The Royales, which will include 17- to 20-year-old players born from 1993-95, will play a 46-game regular season schedule that includes 21 home games starting in mid-September and running through late February.
Marquette Royales logo
The team is a member of the USA Hockey-sanctioned Minnesota Junior Hockey League, which actually includes teams from six Midwestern states.
Head coach and general manager Mike Stanaway, 32, is excited to return to his hometown where he grew up playing youth hockey until he moved away to play in the Green Bay, Wis., area in high school.
He played collegiate hockey at Finlandia University in Hancock and has coached for a number of years since, including the past four years with other Junior level teams in the western U.S.
"Marquette is home to me," Stanaway said. "I couldn't pass up an opportunity to come back here."
While the team already has a roster listed with 26 players, including two from the Upper Peninsula - former Marquette Electrician Mike House and Hancock High School graduate Trevor Givens - the Royales will conduct a pair of tryouts during August.
The first will be held in South Bend, Ind., from Aug. 3-5 and then in Marquette from Aug. 30-31.
"I've been doing this for a number of years, so I anticipate we'll pick up at least two or three players from these camps," said Stanaway, who said he was on the road from about mid-April until the end of June looking at and recruiting prospective players.
"I already feel we have a group that can contend for the MNJHL title."
He says one of his strengths as a coach is producing players who have advanced to college-level play.
Forms for those who want to attend the camp are available on the team's website, www.marquetteroyales.com, or by calling Stanaway at 715-310-3218. Incidentally, the website states that the team picked its name based on the U.P.'s own Isle Royale National Park.
The website has a myriad of information, including a number of news releases related to recent player signings, its schedule, the Marquette area and ticket information.
Season tickets cost $100 for adults and $70 for students - less than $5 per game for adults and under $3.50 per game for students.
"We're not looking at this as a big profit-making venture," Stanaway said. "We want to have a terrific atmosphere with everyone having a fun time at our games."
The MNJHL Eastern Division team kicks off the season on the road at a league showcase in Rochester, Minn., from Sept. 12-15, when the Royales play teams from the Western Division of mostly Minnesota-based teams.
The team then has 14 three-game weekends of play, seven at home and seven on the road, against their Eastern Division rivals located in Lower Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri.
Each home series includes 7:30 p.m. games on Friday and Saturday and noon Sunday. The opener is against the Fort Wayne, Ind., Federals from Sept. 20-22. Five of the team's seven home series will be played by mid-November, with its other two in early December and at the end of the regular season in late February.