|City||Cloquet, Minnesota, United States|
|Home arena||Northwoods Credit Union Arena|
|Colors||Green, black, and white|
|General manager||David Boitz (2013–14)|
|Head coach||Jon Vaillancourt (2019–20)|
|Junior A/Tier III franchise|
|2000–2004||Northwest Wisconsin Knights|
|Tier II NAHL franchise|
|2006–2012||St. Louis Bandits|
The Minnesota Wilderness are an American Tier II junior ice hockey team based in Cloquet, Minnesota, and play in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The organization formerly fielded teams in the Canada-based Junior A Superior International Junior Hockey League for three seasons and in the American-based Tier III Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
Prior to the 2013–14 season, the Wilderness' owners bought the franchise rights to the St. Louis Bandits of the Tier II North American Hockey League and began play for that season.
The organization was founded in 2000 as the Northwest Wisconsin Knights in Spooner, Wisconsin, as a Junior B team in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL). In 2004, the Knights changed their name to the Wisconsin Mustangs. In 2006, the MnJHL was promoted to Tier III Junior A status by USA Hockey.
From 2001 until 2003, the Knights had an interleague relationship with the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) of Hockey Canada. The 2009–10 season saw them back in an interlock with the SIJHL.
On May 17, 2010, the Mustangs announced they were officially leaving the MnJHL, their players were released to a dispersal draft.Soon after they applied for entry into the SIJHL. After a couple months of petitioning USA Hockey to join a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league, they were allowed entry. The team dropped the Mustangs logo, colors, and name as the organization entered the new league as the Wisconsin Wilderness .
On September 17, 2010, the Wilderness played their first game as a full member of the SIJHL, on the road, against the Sioux Lookout Flyers, winning the game 3–2. On September 24, 2010, the Wilderness became the first American-based full membership SIJHL team to host a regular season game in the United States. The Wilderness defeated the Fort Frances Lakers 4–3. In 2011, the Wilderness won the league championship in their inaugural SIJHL season.
In the summer of 2012, the team relocated to Cloquet, Minnesota, and changed their name to the Minnesota Wilderness.
On May 4, 2013, the Wilderness became the first American team to win the Dudley Hewitt Cup by defeating the St. Michael's Buzzers 4–3 in overtime in the Central Canada final. They also became the first American team to participate in the Royal Bank Cup tournament, the Canadian National Junior A championship.
After winning the Dudley Hewitt Cup, the Wilderness announced that the 2013 Royal Bank Cup would be their final foray in Canadian junior hockey as they joined the North American Hockey League (NAHL) at the beginning of the 2013–14 season. At the Royal Bank Cup, Minnesota finished fourth in the round-robin with a 1–3 record. In the semifinal, they surrendered a 4–2 third period lead to the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits to lose 5–4 in overtime. Their loss to Brooks ended their hopes of a national championship and was their final game as members of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
In 2013, the Wilderness bought the franchise rights of the dormant St. Louis Bandits franchise to obtain entry into the NAHL.
|2006–07||40||25||12||3||0||53||176||130||3rd, MnJHL||Lost Semifinal|
|2007–08||48||38||5||—||5||81||268||122||2nd, MnJHL||Lost Quarterfinal|
|2008–09||48||29||17||—||2||60||219||172||4th, MnJHL||Lost Semifinal|
|2009–10||50||28||18||—||4||60||189||148||4th, MnJHL||Lost Semifinal|
|2010–11||56||45||6||—||5||95||264||122||1st, SIJHL||Won Super Series, 1-1 (2-1 SO) (Lakers)|
Won Semi-final, 4-0 (North Stars)
Won Final, 4-0 (Ice Dogs)
4th of 4 DHC Round Robin (0-2-1)
|2011–12||56||49||6||—||1||99||259||97||1st, SIJHL||Lost Super Series, 1-1 (5-6 SO) (Lakers)|
Won Semi-final, 4-0 (North Stars)
Won Final, 4-3 (Lakers)
4th of 4 DHC Round Robin (1-0-2)
|2012–13||56||51||3||—||2||104||282||85||1st, SIJHL||Won Semi-final, 4-0 (Iron Rangers)|
Won Final, 4-2 (Lakers)
1st of 4 DHC Round Robin (2-0-1)
Won DHC Final, 4-3 OT (Buzzers)
4th of 5 RBC Round Robin (1-3-0)
Lost RBC Semi-final, 4-5 OT (Bandits)
|North American Hockey League (NAHL)|
|2013–14||60||37||14||—||9||83||159||115||2nd, Midwest||Lost Div. Semifinals, 2–3 vs. Wenatchee Wild|
|2014–15||60||39||15||—||6||84||209||152||2nd, Midwest||Won First Round, 3–2 vs. Coulee Region Chill |
Won Quarterfinals, 3–0 vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Won Semifinals, 2–0 vs. Janesville Jets
Won Finals, 2–0 vs. Austin Bruins
Robertson Cup Champions
|2015–16||60||34||18||—||7||76||183||161||3rd, Midwest||Won Div. Semifinals, 3–1 vs. Janesville Jets |
Lost Div. Finals, 2–3 vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs
|2016–17||60||32||22||—||6||70||188||179||2nd, Central||Won Div. Semifinals, 3–2 vs. Brookings Blizzard |
Lost Div. Finals, 2–3 vs. Aberdeen Wings
|2017–18||60||33||21||—||6||72||184||181||3rd, Central||Lost Div. Semifinals, 1–3 vs. Austin Bruins|
|2018–19||60||26||29||—||5||57||170||189||5th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2019–20||52||26||22||—||4||56||160||165||5th, Central||Season cancelled|
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is one of the top junior hockey leagues in the United States and is in its 44th season of operation in 2019–20. It is the only Tier II junior league sanctioned by USA Hockey, and acts as an alternative to the Tier I United States Hockey League (USHL). The NAHL is one of the oldest junior hockey leagues in the United States and is headquartered in Addison, Texas.
The Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) is a junior A ice hockey league and a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) and Hockey Canada. The league operates in the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Winners of the SIJHL playoffs compete for the Dudley Hewitt Cup against the winners of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The winner of the Dudley Hewitt Cup then moves on to compete for the Centennial Cup, the Canadian Junior A championship.
The Dudley Hewitt Cup is a championship ice hockey trophy awarded to the Central Canadian Junior A Champion. The trophy is currently decided by round robin tournament format, at the conclusion of the playoffs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Superior International Junior Hockey League, to determine the central seed to the Centennial Cup, the national Junior A championship. The Royal Bank Cup is the Canadian National Junior A Championship and is only competed for by teams within the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
The St. Louis Bandits were a Tier II Junior A ice hockey team in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The team played their home games at the 2,200-seat Hardee's Iceplex (previously Summit Center) in Chesterfield, Missouri. Owners of the St. Louis Bandits include former St. Louis Blues Kelly Chase as well as Scott McCuaig, Ben Bishop, Jr., Jeff Cooper, Michael J. Brooks, and Jon Cooper.
The Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL) was a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III junior ice hockey league operated out of Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
The Janesville Jets are a Tier II junior ice hockey team in the North American Hockey League. Based in Janesville, Wisconsin, their home games are played at the Janesville Ice Arena.
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The Duluth Clydesdales were an American Junior ice hockey team based in Duluth, Minnesota. They are former members of the Canadian-based Superior International Junior Hockey League.
The 2010–11 SIJHL season was the 10th season of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). The six teams of the SIJHL played 56-game schedules.
The Minnesota Iron Rangers were an American junior ice hockey team based in Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. Originally named Iron Range Ironheads, the Iron Rangers played in the Canadian-based Superior International Junior Hockey League.
The 2011–12 SIJHL season is the 11th season of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). The seven teams of the SIJHL will play 56-game schedules.
The Wisconsin Wilderness were an American Junior ice hockey team based in Spooner, Wisconsin. The Wilderness played in the Canadian-based Superior International Junior Hockey League.
The 2012–13 SIJHL season was the 12th season of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). The seven teams of the SIJHL were to play 56-game schedules.
The 2013 Royal Bank Cup was the 43rd Junior "A" ice hockey National Championship for the Canadian Junior Hockey League. The 2013 Royal Bank Cup marks the 43rd consecutive year a national championship has been awarded to this skill level since the breakaway of Major Junior hockey in 1970.
The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) is an American ice hockey league. Founded in 2012, the USPHL has grown to over 60 organizations from across the United States fielding teams in the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), Premier, Elite, EHF, 18U, 16U, 15U, and High Performance youth divisions.
The 2013–14 SIJHL season was the 13th season of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL). The seven teams of the SIJHL played 56-game schedules.
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