Northwoods team to make Hudson its home
The Northwoods League baseball team coming to Hudson next year needs a name, and it wants the Hudson community to help.
The St. Croix team's home will be at the new stadium being built as part of the redevelopment of the old St. Croix Meadows Dog Track on Carmichael Road.
"One of the visions for the development was to build a baseball stadium," developer Klint Klaas said.
Klaas played minor league baseball in the past, and wanted to bring a team to the area. To help he rounded up a group who had a love of baseball and varied expertise to head the new Northwoods League team - himself, Andy Persby, Kevin McMann, Tom Quinlan, Robb Quinlan and Steve Fleischhacker.
The league is comprised of top college players who want to continue competing during the summer. Players come from all over the country to play.
"These are kids that their careers are very promising," McMann said.
In 2018, the league will have 22 teams, including the St. Croix team. During the summer season, players stay with host families in the team's town. In exchange, those families get season tickets.
The season consists of 72 games, with 36 played at home. With its opening season, the team hopes to draw at least 3,000 tickets, with room to expand up to 5,000.
More than just baseball, McMann said the games will be similar to St. Paul Saints games, with plenty of fun and involvement for the fans.
"The entertainment value will kind of parallel that," McMann said.
The team is asking for community input on its name because it wants the community to be involved in the whole process.
"We really want it to be a staple in the community," Klaas said. "We want this to be the city's ball team."
Persby said the team has no limitations on potential names.
"Be creative," Persby said. "Doing this I think will be super fun for everybody."
Though Klaas and his company are based in Woodbury, Hudson was an easy pick for the stadium's location. As soon as the land came to his attention, Klaas said he knew it was the perfect place.
"Being in Hudson is the special part about it because it's a great community," Klaas said. "I think that it will be a really unique draw, not only for the city, but I think it will be a special place to play for the players."
Outside of the baseball games, the stadium will also be open for community use, for events like concerts.
"We're kind of building the infrastructure around the theme of entertainment," McMann said.
Construction is set to start this August, with the stadium opening as soon as May 2018, depending on weather. Ticket sales will begin around Sept. 1.
"From the development side things are looking to be on track," Klaas said.
The stadium is the first step for the development, which will include a brewery, business offices, a 150-room hotel, indoor sports complex, condos, retail and more.
"The other pieces that are coming into the development will be kind of trickling in over the next year," Klaas said.
Name suggestions and any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is Thursday, July 20, and the selected name will be announced in the Star-Observer on Thursday, July 27.