Albert Lea Thunder
The Albert Lea Thunder was a Tier II junior ice hockey team in the North American Hockey League's Central Division. The team was an expansion franchise for the 2008–09 season and played their home games at the Albert Lea Ice Arena in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
|Albert Lea Thunder|
|City||Albert Lea, Minnesota|
|League||North American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Albert Lea Ice Arena|
|Colors||Navy blue and tan|
|2008–2010||Albert Lea Thunder|
The franchise joined the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for the 2008–09 season with Chicago businessman Jim Perkins and Barry Soskin as owners. Soskin was also the owner of independent Northern Junior Hockey League teams, the Findlay Grrrowl and defunct Pittsburgh Cougars, as well as the former owner of the ECHL's Toledo Storm and Central Hockey League's Nashville Nighthawks.
On November 18, 2009, it was reported that the Thunder were engaging in "pay-to-play," or taking money to guarantee players' spots on the team, an act that is against the rules under the Tier II sanctioning of USA Hockey for the NAHL. A total of eight players were named and the organization was facing a $400,000 fine from the NAHL. On December 7, 2009, the NAHL's Board of Governors terminated the Albert Lea membership and took over operations of the team during the transition. Despite the scandal, the Thunder mounted a late-season comeback and made the playoffs for the first time in team history in 2010.
Regular season records
|2008-09||58||4||49||5||13||112||309||1,497||5th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2009-10||58||19||34||5||43||153||231||1,345||4th, Central||Lost in first round|
- "Albert Lea Thunder Hockey Registration & Management Software By GOALLINE.ca". Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
- "NAHL finds Thunder guilty of pay-to-play". Archived from the original on 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
- Minnesota Meltdown-- NAHL Roster Spots for Sale?
- NAHL Statement on terminating Albert Lea Thunder ownership
- "Albert Lea, Mason City Lose NAHL Teams". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-05-17.