Junior hockey returning to Lakeview Arena

MARQUETTE – A USA Hockey Tier III Junior hockey team is reported to be coming to Marquette this coming season.

According to the Minnesota Junior Hockey League website, the Marquette Royales will be coming to Lakeview Arena for the 2013-14 season.

The Royales of head coach and Marquette product Mike Stanaway will be one of eight members of the Great Lakes Division within the 16-team MnJHL.

The other divisional teams are the Central Wisconsin Saints (Stevens Point, Wis.); Fort Wayne (Ind.) Federals; Illiana Blackbirds of Dyer, Ind.; St. Louis Frontenacs; Tri-City Blackhawks of downstate Bay City; Wisconsin Rampage of Pleasant Prairie, Wis.; and the Wooster (Ohio) Oilers.

“We couldn’t be happier to add Marquette as an official league member,” MnJHL vice president Cal Ballard said in a news release.

“Expanding our footprint into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is an exciting move for the league and we couldn’t be more proud to see this come together.”

Stanaway could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

He said, however, in the MnJHL news release “Marquette is home to me. This town loves this game and we’re confident we will give them something to be proud of.”

Stanaway added in an interview on “We have two goals here in Marquette. The first is to help players advance to prominent NCAA Div. III schools. The other is to compete for league and national championships.”

The Royales will consist of players with birth years between 1993-95.

The team has been sanctioned by USA Hockey, according to the MnJHL, after originally committing to play in the Midwest Junior Hockey League.

Stanaway is a former Finlandia University hockey player who spent the last two seasons coaching on the West Coast.

The first was with the New Mexico Renegades and the second with the Southern Oregon Spartans.

With the Spartans last season, Stanaway went 40-9 during the regular season and took his team to the Tier III USA Hockey national tournament, according to the MnJHL.

The last junior-level hockey team to occupy Lakeview Arena – former home of Northern Michigan University’s NCAA Div. I hockey program – was the Marquette Rangers, who played four seasons from 2006-2010 in the Tier II NAHL before moving to Flint and bring renamed the Michigan Warriors.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.