17 Teams in 17 Days: Breezy Point North Stars
The ‘17 in 17’ series features an in-depth look into all 17 NA3HL teams, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 8th. ‘17 in 17’ will go in-depth into each 3HL team and will include interview with all 17 3HL head coaches as they prognosticate and break down their outlook for the upcoming season.
Breezy Point North Stars
Head Coach: Bryan Henrichs
Assistant Coaches: Shawn Chambers, Shaun Mienke, Kevin Wessman
2011-12 Record: N/A
2012-13 Division: West
Opening Night: Saturday, September 15th vs. North Iowa Bulls – 7:30 pm at Breezy Point Hockey Center
In addition to the Alexandria Blizzard starting their inaugural season this year, the Breezy Point North Stars will as well, also joining the West Division. The Breezy Point North Stars, located three hours north of the Twin Cities, have been actively putting together a team and building up the excitement within the community all summer.
Breezy Point’s addition to the junior hockey market had been a long time coming. General Manager Joe Bergquist had been fighting hard and developing a business plan for a junior hockey program in Breezy Point for last five years. With the approval into the NA3HL footprint, Bob Spizzo, owner of Whitebirch Inc., supported Bergquist’s vision and made it possible to fund the team in this popular resort town of Minnesota.
The Breezy Point North Stars organization is unique in the way that it is centered around the popular Breezy Point Resort. The resort features over 250 rental units, two golf courses, convention center, marina, restaurants and a hotel. The resort is also home to the Breezy Point Hockey Center, now the home ice to the team. The facility features one sheet of ice that can host 500 fans in attendance, a training facility, pro shop, dormitory, lodge and outdoor sports field and recreational area.
With the vision in place, Bergquist had to find the right coaching staff to put together a team that would have success its first season in the league, in the highly competitive West Division. He didn’t have to look far as Berguist hired Bryan Henrichs to take the position as head coach, an easy decision as Henrichs already held a rich and knowledgeable hockey reputation in the community prior to accepting the position.
Henrichs, and his three assistant coaches quickly to started the recruiting process. “The recruiting window was short and intense as we worked very hard to find players to come and play in Breezy Point,” Henrichs said. “Players often lean towards playing for established programs that have tradition and history, which we don’t have yet.” Although the process of putting the new team together was challenging, the North Stars are very happy with what they have found. Players joining the new team are predominately from the Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois area, as well as a few players moving in from Texas, Colorado, Michigan, California and Wisconsin.
Breezy Point’s inaugural season goal is to establish a program that develops players on and off the ice in a manner that establishes the club as an honorable place to play while being held to the highest NA3HL standards. Being able to promote the NAHL as a stepping- stone will motivate the players to try their hardest during every game.
The North Stars will start their season by hosting the North Iowa Bulls at Breezy Point Hockey Center on September 15th. Henrichs is excited to be apart of the West Division and knows that the competiveness will demand the best from every player, every night.