Area baseball fans will have to wait yet another year before the St. Croix River Hounds make their debut in the summer collegiate Northwoods League after the team announced last week that construction on the team’s ballpark at the former St. Croix Meadows dog track site in Hudson won’t begin until spring, 2020.
The delay means the River Hounds, who were initially set for a 2019 launch, won’t begin play until the Northwoods League’s 2021 season.
The Northwoods League announced in Oct. 2017 that the River Hounds would join the league as an expansion franchise beginning with the 2019 season and play in a new stadium planned as part of the Hudson Gateway development at the site of the former St. Croix Meadows dog track. But delays to the development of the site initially pushed the team’s launch to 2020 and now to 2021.
The team and league announced Friday, Oct. 11, that construction on the new ballpark will begin next spring and be completed in time for the Northwoods League’s 2021 season.
“The Northwoods League and the St. Croix River Hounds are excited to announce that the St. Croix Meadows development in Hudson, Wisconsin is under construction and the infrastructure is near completion. The River Hounds are proud to welcome anchor tenants Phillips Medisize and luxury home builder Divine Custom Homes to the development site,” a statement on the league’s website said.
“The stadium build is also moving forward with construction set for the spring of 2020 which will allow the St. Croix River Hounds to play their inaugural season in the summer of 2021,” said River Hounds Owner/CEO Klint Klaas.
“The Northwoods League is very pleased by the announcement today from the St. Croix River Hounds regarding the progress of construction of the new baseball stadium at the St. Croix Meadows development in Hudson, Wis.,” said Northwoods League President Gary Hoover. “As stated in the announcement, construction is set to be completed in time for the River Hounds’ inaugural season in 2021, and momentum for the development overall is building given that it is attracting additional tenants as well.”
The Northwoods League is a prestigious collegiate summer baseball league featuring some of the top college players in North America. All players must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate and are not paid in order to maintain their eligibility. The league currently consists of 22 teams in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota and Ontario.
More than 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs), Brandon Crawford (San Francisco Giants) and Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), as well as 2019 MLB Home Run Derby champion Peter Alonso (New York Mets).