Sunday, January 24, 2010

USHL Expansion: Dubuque Fighting Saints

The USHL announced on Sunday that the Dubuque franchise will take on the classic name of "Fighting Saints" when they join the USHL next year. The Fighting Saints will wear red, white and silver.

Dubuque will begin playing in the USHL next season. That puts the league at 15 teams assuming everyone from this year returns. I would expect another club from the East to join next season as well to make 16 teams.

Let's say this scenario plays out, how does the divisional alignment change? What are your thoughts on the league expanding? Good for the USHL, but bad for the odds of winning cups. Would you support two 8 team divisions or four 4 team divisions? It'd be interesting to say the least.

For what it's worth, Dubuque is geographically farther east than Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Waterloo. The city sits right on the corner of Iowa-Wisconsin-Illinois. If another team is added even further East, then either Waterloo or Cedar Rapids may be grouped with West teams next year. Who knows how it will play out. Thoughts?

Edit:  I wanted to add a few more logos that Dubuque will use next season on their uniforms.  Just my opinion, but I really like what they have done.  I think the logos look great, and the silver, red, white combination will look sharp. -Yeti



14 comments:

BellTolls said...

Allow me to comment first on my own blog post. Four-team groups could potentially look like this. (For 8-team groups, group the South and North into one and Central and East into the other)...

South: Tri-City, Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines
North: Fargo, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Waterloo
Central: Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Green Bay, Chicago
East: Indiana, Youngstown, Team USA, New East Team

Keith said...

Based on their record, does anyone else think Dubuque could be replacing Team USA? Nothing against USA (and I think having a team with a radically different philosophy is good for all), but in many ways, they don't really belong in this league. I mean, it seems like they are the ones getting punished here, rather than the rest of the league learning a little from them. Plus, I wanna return to thinking of the other team as Russia and "us" as the US -- U S A ! U S A !

Yeti said...

Great article, Bells.

This yet another group option that would divide the teams into 3 divisions:

EAST: Youngstown, Indy, Team USA, Muskegon, Chicago

CENTRAL: Green Bay, Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines

WEST: Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Lincoln, Tri City, Omaha

There are rumors that Muskegon, MI will fold their IHL team after this season, and start up a USHL team for next season. Just rumors as of right now. If the IHL folds altogether, you could see some of those cities buy their way into the USHL and start up expansion teams.

Anonymous said...

Nice article there.

If there is a 16th team in the works, the USHL is not showing their hand early on that one. The announcement on the USHL website of the first-ever league tryout combines in the Chicago area in the upcoming offseason states that the league will have "15" teams next season.

I would also welcome a division realignment into three divisions (East, Central, West or North, Central, South) but the USHL Board of Governors would have to determine how playoffs would work with three divisions. If they leave it at 8 playoff seeds, they might favor going to the top 8 teams overall, regardless of division as it was 7-8 seasons ago.

Hopefully we won't have a repeat of 2007 and a NCAA style format for the postseason!

James said...

Amen Keith well said.

BellTolls said...

I read on another board that the Muskegon USHL team is supposed to be voted on this week, so that could be announced any time. There are also rumors of squads potentially joining from Bloomington, Quad Cities and Evansville. There may be possibly 18 teams next year, 3 divisions of 6. That would really help cut down on long road trips.

BellTolls said...

I don't know if we are the ones to be talking about having Team USA replaced, sadly. They're only 2 points down of us with 2 games in hand, and all their players are 16 or 17....and there's my depressing thought for the day.

Yeti said...

Don't forget that the U-18 Team USA squad plays in the USHL also. That team is very, very good. They frequently beat Division 1 colleges. The U-17 Team USA squad has struggled quite a bit this season against USHL opponents. There's a BIG difference in talent between the two teams. Both squads are considered the same "team," according to the USHL.

Don't fix what's not broken said...

Further expansion is a horrible idea. The league is too diluted now. There is not enough quality talent available. Unless you change the rules and allow more 20 year olds and more foreign borns. The USHL was a much better league 7-10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought here. What if the league settles at 15 next year but to keep the division concept even they have team USA play all the teams in the league but not be eligible for the playoffs. Perhaps each USHL team could have a home and home with both the U 17 and U 18 team. That way both of team USA's teams get 28 good games and there would be 7 teams in each USHL division. Team USA could also focus on their other tournaments and games against colleges iwthout the pressure of anticipating a playoff schedule. If another team joins the league then I suppose to keep it fair Team USA would have to reamina and participate in the league as they have this year.

HOCKEY MAX

Force Blogger said...

It is weird to be going against Team USA in games but it is nice to see the best players from the United States in one league. It gets a lot more exposure from scouts for the rest of the teams in the league. As for the U-17 playing USHL teams, they will only get better by playing better competition....they played us to a 3-2 (Force win) in a shootout and the Force are among the top in the USHL this year.

Yeti said...

Force Blogger,

You are correct. The U-17 team is quite a bit better now than they were earlier on in the season. I'm sure going against USHL opponents every weekend has made them more "salty." They still lose more often than win, but they aren't getting blown out as much as they did early on.

Davvolun said...

@Force Blogger @Yeti
What I'd really like to see from this arrangement is the rest of the league improve from Team USA's inclusion. I'm not sure that Team USA is gaining something it wants by playing non-Olympic-style teams. That is to say, wouldn't it be nice to see the Stars pick up a better PP, perhaps learning from a team who *has* to focus on the technical aspects of the game? Just out-muscling a team that really isn't allowed to be as physical probably isn't beneficial to anyone...

Anonymous said...

any chance Grand Forks will one day get a USHL team?