Missouri River Adult Hockey League


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About US

The Beginning

One winter evening in late January of 1997, five people sat around a table at the All Seasons Arena in Bismarck to discuss the formation of an adult hockey league. Actually, the word, “league,” is a little too ambitious to describe our goal at the time. We just hoped to get enough people together to skate and play hockey once a week. Present at that first meeting was Kevin Hay, Clyde Ereth, Todd Flicek, Paul Kohler and Peder Stenslie. Soon after that meeting, a small group of us skated for the first time over in Mandan.

The creation of this league was an endeavor begun largely by guys (and a few women) in their 30s and 40s who didn’t grow up playing competitive hockey but who nonetheless had a great love for the sport. Some had participated in adult leagues before.

During that first season we skated in the old (and cold) Mandan rink. When they took out the ice in Mandan, we were able to move to the Bismarck Civic Center for a couple weeks while the Bobcats played out their final season there. As soon as we discovered there was also ice during a couple of summer months, we organized our first summer season.

Dale Berreth Memorial Tourney

The league organized its first tournament in March of 1999. This tournament was a great success and would eventually become the Dale Berreth Tourney. In this first tournament, we had 4 teams who each wore a different color of pull-over jersey. There was Team Blue, Team Yellow, Team Red and Team Green.

The following year, a beautiful cup was donated to the tournament by Al and Tanya Fyfe. Team Yellow, with George Georgeson in net, won that year. In 2001, the tournament became the Dale Berreth Tourney and expanded to 8 teams. We had 5 local teams and 3 out-of-town teams. We did the same in 2002, but one team (Minot) was a no-show. In 2003, we decided to go with an all-local tournament. This way we could make sure all the teams were relatively equal, and every team would make it to the rink.

League Coordinating Committee

As the league grew in size it was decided to form a league coordinating committee to help “steer” the development of the organization. This was done in 2000. The original committee members were Tanya Fyfe, Bob Zander, Doug Bradford, Todd Flicek, John Pendergast, Peder Stenslie and Jeff Aas. It was then we officially named our organization the Missouri River Adult Hockey League. Today, the coordinating committee still meets, though quite irregularily. The committee members today are Fred Anderson, Brandt Bailey, Curt Berreth, Travis Berreth, Jeff Brown, Josh Brown, Tim Brubakken, Mark Butland, Kai Christensen, Steve Delap, Cody Fleck, Chad Hasche, Randy Hoovestol, Greg Larson, Steve Martian, Jason Renner, Peder Stenslie, Mike Trottier, John Westbee and Terry Wolf.

E-MAIL & Web Sites

Early on in our league’s history, we got ourselves connected to the internet. Frosty Paris was generous enough to share some of his web space for a MRAHL web site. This was a fantastic benefit for the league. Frosty first created this website in 1999 and faithfully updated it for 3 years. In 2012, Jeff Brown took over the MRAHL webmaster responsibilities and still runs the superb site we use today. With the number of participants increasing rapidly, Peder began using e-mail (in the spring of 2000) in order to communicate ice-times and rosters to everyone. Presently, there are well over 200 people on the MRAHL e-mailing list.

League Expansion

In 2001, another adult hockey league, the Mandan Young Men, folded. The organizer of that group, Curt Berreth, along with many of its members joined our league. At that point, the skill level of MRAHL’s fast league rose dramatically.

The same year, some of the women who played in our league formed their own women’s league. It was Barb Winking, who had participated in a women’s league in Montana, who spearheaded this effort. After the first season, Tana Pendergast overtook the management. The women have even managed to organize a few games against Minot and Rugby women’s teams.

MRAHL Team League & Jersey Sponsors

In the summer of 1999, inspired by the success of our first tournament, we organized our first team league. The first season lasted 6 weeks. Each team had 10 players and a goalie on the roster. After the first season, we learned the necessity of having a procedure for finding subs. We still didn’t have any team jerseys, but used again practice pull-overs.

The next team league began in August of 2000. With the help of sponsors, 4 sets of team jerseys were obtained midway through the season. The first sponsors were Big Muddy Music (D.J. Service), Play It Again Sports, Concrete Mudjacking Service, and Matah Adventures (Canoe Rental & Guide Service).

Other MRAHL Team League jerseys were added later. Mandan Plumbing & Heating was added in the Spring of 2001. Atlas, Inc. sponsored a set which was taken into use during the late winter season of 2003. In the spring of 2003, two more teams were born, sponsored by Heart River Lutheran Church and the Prairie Rose State Games.

In October of 2003, the team league expanded to 6 teams.

The Mud Cats

In 2002, the Mud Cats were born. Among certain league members, there was a lot of interest in organizing games against teams from other towns and participating in various tournaments. We had a contest to choose the team mascot, and once that was decided, Brian Wild, along with some assistance from his brother Scott, designed the logo. Jerseys were ordered and the Mud Cats have now travelled all over the state playing games and tournaments wherever they can.

City Fast League

In December of 2003, Pat Irey called a meeting of the “managers” of 4 local fast teams. The purpose was to organize a local “A” league. The 4 teams involved in this inaugural season were the Mud Cats, Meriwether’s, the Bismarck Young Men, and the Mandan Flyers. Each team played 7 games.

Mandan Menace & Bismarck Wildcats Organized

As the Mud Cats gradually became established as the MRAHL’s “A” team, it was decided that our league’s “C” players should have teams of their own. In late 2003 and early 2004, people who were interested in playing on a travelling “C” team were identified; and two teams were formed: The Mandan Menace and Bismarck Wildcats. Early games were played against Minot teams and a Rapid City team. In March of 2004, the Menace and Wildcats travelled to Rapid City to participate in a tournament.

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