ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - In the State of Hockey, we all love a good Cinderella story.
For the North Branch Vikings, getting to the State Tournament is uncharted territory. It’s made even more remarkable because the team doesn’t have its own rink.
Without a place to call home, the team rents ice in Chisago, which is 13 miles away. What’s available to them is not ideal.
“They have to get to the high school about 4:15 a.m. Our bus leaves at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to get over to the arena we rent over in Chisago,” said North Branch Activities Director Matt Lattimore.
Some players are up as early as 3:30 a.m. to get to practice, which means parents are too.
“I have another son that’s older, Caleb, that I brought every single day, so I’m two into it,” said Rocky Larson, a parent. “So it’s been a long haul.”
In fall of 2010, the North Branch Hockey Association began work on their own arena. Over the years, as money became available, they built the front lobby, locker rooms and office.
To build the rest, including the actual arena portion, is more than $3 million. They don’t have enough to get a loan.
“Right now would be about $1.3 million up front and then finance the rest,” said Craig Moline, the President of the North Branch Hockey Association.
For those who hope to play on this team one day, it’s hoped that making state, despite the challenge, may inspire a way to find the money.