Brown Bears to request reactivation in NAHL

The general manager for the Kenai River Brown Bears announced Monday that the team will request reactivation at a meeting of the North American Hockey League Board of Governors on Tuesday.

“The save the Bears group has done an outstanding job and the outpouring of community support has been, in many ways, tremendous,” said Nate Kiel, the GM of the 10-year-old club. “We’ve made the decision to request reactivation.

“It will now fall upon the Board of Governors tomorrow afternoon.”

Kiel said he is cautiously optimistic the Board of Governors will reinstate the Bears for the 2017-18 season.

The Bears went inactive on Feb. 26 due to financial difficulties. March 21, a small group, spearheaded by Steve Stuber, met to plan a fundraising drive to save the team. The amount that had to be raised by April 15 was $300,000.

The group pulled it off, raising the $300,000 in 25 days, at a dizzying rate of $12,000 per day.

Stuber estimated Monday that he worked 18 to 21 hours a day on the project throughout the fundraising drive, but pointed out that his success was really about the community’s success.

“It’s about community,” he said. “I finally woke people up and said, ‘Hey, we can all do this together if all we do is our small part.’

“All I was, was the messenger. The message is what did it.”

Kiel gave credit to Stuber and a group of ardent Bears supporters for making the fundraising drive happen. After putting 10 years of his life into the team, he said it was nice to see the amount of good will that had accrued.

“We are very honored to realize the importance of this team to this community,” Kiel said. “There are so many things this team provides.

“It was awesome to see the commitment by people to step up and match pledges and buy season tickets.”

Kiel said his presentation to the Board of Governors today will involve more than the money raised. He said many volunteers have come forward to help with various aspects of running the Bears. Kiel also wants to start having more success on the ice.

Stuber said he thinks Kiel’s presentation should find success.

“We’ve proven we’re an awesome community and an amazing place for junior hockey,” Stuber said. “Why wouldn’t they take us?”

If the league takes back the Bears today, Kiel and Stuber stressed that marks a beginning, not an end.

“It’s just a new beginning, and now we keep trudging forward,” said Stuber, whose group has sold over 300 season tickets for next season. “We still have a season ticket goal of 500.”

More in Sports

Kards win Silver Bracket at Dimond-Service volleyball

Kenai Central won the Silver Bracket on Saturday at the Dimond-Service Volleyball… Continue reading

Soldotna's Hunter Richardson and Homer's Nestor Kalugin tangle at 189A at the Luke Spruill Memorial Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. Richardson won the match 11-1 on the way to first place, while Kalugin was third. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai’s Gaethle wins Spruill award

Kenai Central junior Andrew Gaethle won the Luke Spruill Outstanding Wrestler award,… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Caden Triggs (far left) celebrates his first-period goal with Tyler Pfister and Brendan Hill on Friday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Bears split Friday, Saturday games with Steel

For the second time all season, the Kenai River Brown Bears scored… Continue reading

Brown Bears forward Cole Dubicki and Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel forward Ethan Benz tangle for the puck Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears drop home opener to Steel

The Kenai River Brown Bears lost their home opener 6-2 to the… Continue reading

Seward volleyball comes back to top Nikiski

The host Seward volleyball team pulled off a big comeback for a… Continue reading

A moose darts into the forest on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, Alaska, during the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Refuge Notebook: Mating systems of moose and caribou

Driving home the other day, my friend and I came across a… Continue reading

Kenai Lake sparkles under the sun on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: To everything, there is a season

We don’t really have “seasons” where I’m from. It stays an amicable… Continue reading

Costume Caper 5K draws 44 in Nikiski

The Nikiski Community Recreation Center held a 5K Costume Caper on Saturday,… Continue reading

Brown Bears look to home cooking to spark season

The Kenai River Brown Bears will turn to home ice advantage to… Continue reading

Most Read