Twin Cities Northern Lights
Twin Cities Northern Lights logo
City: Bloomington, Minnesota
League: MNJHL
Division: Minnesota
Founded: 1993
Home Arena: Bloomington Ice Garden
Colors: Navy, Turquoise , and Silver
Owner(s): 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
General Manager: Ross and Stephanie Smith
Media: Sun Current
Franchise history
1993-2002: South Suburban Steers
2002-2014: Twin Cities Northern Lights

The Twin Cities Northern Lights were a Tier III Jr. A ice hockey team located in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA, a southwest suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The Northern Lights Hockey played in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL), a college preparatory league.

Between August and April of each season, the team plays a 40-50 game regular season schedule and post-season playoffs. Throughout the season the Northern Lights play games and scrimmages against NCAA Division III teams and ACHA college teams.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has been managed by Ross and Stephanie Smith, who joined the hockey business after working several years in hockey sports medicine, specializing in concussions.[1]


After the South Suburban Steers were reorganized in 2002, the team was renamed and moved to Bloomington, Minnesota. They play their games at the Bloomington Ice Garden, which was Team USA's practice rink in preparation for the 1980 Winter Olympics "Miracle on Ice." [2] Student-athletes attend Normandale Community College, take online courses or attend a local high school.

The Northern Lights have played international exhibition games against teams in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Italy during the 2006 Winter Olympics. The team and members of the Rotaract Club of the Athlete Village served as Sports Goodwill Peace Ambassadors during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[3] The team served again in a similar role in Sochi, Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Northern Lights were MNJHL regular season champions and Bush Cup winners in 2002-03, 2011-12 and 2012-13; national tournament semifinalists in both 2003 and 2006. In 2013 Twin Cities advanced to the USA Hockey National Championship game, falling short to the North Iowa Bulls. The team also represented the Minnesota Junior Hockey League at the 2010 and 2012 USA Hockey National Tournament.

On August 25, 2014, the team announced it would temporarily suspend operations for the 2014-15 season with plans to return for the following season.[4] However during the 2014-15 season, 13 of the remaining 14 teams in the MnJHL announced they would joining the United States Premier Hockey League for the following season in a new Midwest Division. The MnJHL would subsequently suspend operations for the 2015-16 season with no announcement for the future of the Northern Lights.[5]


Season Wins Loses Ties OTL Points Finish Playoffs
2002-03 32 10 0 0 65 1st Won Bush Cup. Nationals appearance
2003-04 16 21 0 3 35 4th
2004-05 31 15 0 2 64 3rd
2005-06 34 6 4 4 76 2nd Bush Cup runner-up. Nationals semifinalist.
2006-07 18 20 1 1 38 4th
2009-10 31 16 0 3 65 3rd Bush Cup runner-up. Nationals appearance.
2010-11 15 26 0 4 34 7th
2011-12 42 5 0 1 85 1st Won Bush Cup. Nationals appearance.
2012-13 45 4 0 1 91 1st Won Bush Cup. Nationals runner-up.
2013-14 27 15 0 2 58 4th


Players have advanced to play higher levels of Junior hockey (USHL, NAHL), NCAA and ACHA college hockey as well as professional hockey.[6]

Coaching staff have also advanced through the Northern Lights coach development program which intentionally creates first-time employment opportunities for strong candidates. Five TCNL head coaches have served and advanced including:


  1. Koskie concussion. (2008). Retrieved on 2009-05-04.
  2. Land of 10,000 lakes. Sports Illustrated (2004). Retrieved on 2009-05-04.
  3. Northern Lights will shine in Vancouver. Retrieved on 3 February 2010.
  4. Rebuilding the Lights. Northern Lights Hockey (August 25, 2014).
  5. DAILY DISH: So long Soo? Not So Fast…, RIP MnJHL - Junior Hockey News. Junior Hockey News (April 29, 2015).
  6. 2013 College Commitments. Retrieved on 15 June 2013.
  7. Chill names Degenhardt Head Coach and GM (17 April 2013).
  8. Dobes steps in as new coach for Cobras (13 June 2014).
  9. Josh Hauge Named Assistant Coach for Clarkson Hockey Program (24 August 2015).
  10. Bighorns hire Jonasson as head coach (12 June 2014).
  11. Largen tapped to lead Marian men's ice hockey program (19 August 2015).

External linksEdit

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