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Poof! Minnesota Magicians' disappearing act has NAHL team moving to Wisconsin at season's end

After a nine-season run playing their home games in Richfield, Minn., the Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL will leave the state at the end of the 2021-22 season, relocating to Eagle River, Wis.

Day 2
Gavin Best, a forward from Richfield, Minn., was one of the leading scorers for the NAHL's Minnesota Magicians in the 2021-22 season, and announced his commitment to Michigan State.
Jeff Lawler / NAHL

RICHFIELD, Minn. — Magicians are good at making things disappear. At the end of the current hockey season, with or without a mystical words and a puff of smoke, the Minnesota Magicians will disappear.

The North American Hockey League announced on Wednesday that the team based out of Richfield Ice Arena in suburban Minneapolis will relocate to Eagle River, Wis., starting next season. The team has been sold to Copper Island Hockey Club, LLC, and will be renamed and rebranded for next season and beyond.

“The Magicians have done a wonderful job in developing and advancing NAHL players for the past nine years, so we thank their ownership, organization, and community for their commitment to our league,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld, in a statement released by the league. “We are excited to have a new location in Eagle River, Wisconsin, which has a storied tradition in hockey and great community support who are passionate about the game of hockey.”

Minnesota Magicians
Prior to his standout run in goal for Omaha, Anchorage native Isaiah Saville played 41 games for the NAHL's Minnesota Magicians in the 2017-18 season.
John Elftmann / NAHL

The Magicians moved to Minnesota in 2013 after playing in New Mexico for two seasons that were unsuccessful on the ice and in terms of ticket sales. With former Minnesota Gopher and NHLer Stu Bickel behind their bench last season, the Magicians had one of their best seasons on the ice, winning their division final playoff series and advancing to the Robertson Cup semifinals where they were swept by the Aberdeen (S.D.) Wings.

With East Grand Forks, Minn., native Nick Bydal coaching them this season, the Magicians have a 23-19-4-3 record, heading into a two-game home series versus the Springfield (Ill.) Junior Blues this weekend in Richfield.


Eagle River, known as the Hockey Capital of Wisconsin, is in the north central part of the state, close to the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is often compared to the Brainerd Lakes Area as a place with many seasonal cabins and a ballooning population in the summer. The Eagle River Sports Arena, built in 1925, has seating for 2,000 and also houses the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Magicians are 19th out of 29 teams in the NAHL in attendance this season, averaging 479 fans for 26 home games. The league average for attendance is 894 per game. Corpus Christi (2,159), Shreveport (2,153) and Fairbanks (2,109) are the top three NAHL teams in attendance.

The Magicians’ move will leave Minnesota with three NAHL teams: the Austin Bruins, the St. Cloud Norsemen and the Minnesota Wilderness, based in Cloquet. The Magicians will become Wisconsin’s third NAHL team. The state currently has teams in Chippewa Falls and Janesville.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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