NAHL’s newest team is the Watertown Shamrocks!

March 16, 2024

Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Appropriate timing for the announcement of Watertown being awarded membership into the North American Hockey League (NAHL),

On St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the NAHL announced the Watertown Shamrocks will join the league beginning in the 2024-25 season. There were previous reports by some media outlets that misidentified the team name as Lakers.

The NAHL announced the addition of the Shamrocks on Friday. The league’s press release reads:

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announces that its Board of Governors has awarded the membership application for an NAHL team in Watertown, SD.

The Watertown Shamrocks will compete in the Central Division beginning in the 2024-25 season. Owned and operated under Codington County Hockey Club LLC which includes Mark Gulbrandson, Vince Foley, Donald Sisson, and KC Finnegan, the Shamrocks will be the second NAHL team in South Dakota.

“As a group, we are excited to be able to bring the excitement of junior hockey to Watertown to fill the fabulous new Prairie Lakes Ice Arena,” Vince Foley said. “The team name draws from a men’s team from Watertown that played other communities in the area in the first half of the 20th century.”

The Shamrocks will call Prairie Lakes Ice Arena home. The brand new arena boasts two NHL-sized ice rinks featuring a main rink that is three feet lower than the main floor, providing a fantastic view of the playing surface. The second floor consists of seating, walking tracks, and a media box that can be utilized for filming games and broadcasting.

“It has been fun to evolve through the Watertown project since the very beginning,” NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld said. “Mayor Holien and his team were very diligent to build a great building capable of being home to a NAHL team for the community, then being able to bring the project over the line with such a great ownership group committed to service and community is a huge win for everyone,” Frankenfeld added. “We are excited to watch the Shamrocks impact the players and the communities of Watertown over the years.”

With the goal to establish a positive and long-standing presence locally, the Shamrocks plan to be active in Watertown through community engagement. The team looks to measure their success on ice by developing players that can compete at the next level but more importantly look to off ice success developing the character of the young men who will call Watertown home during their junior hockey career. The players will live in the community with billet families.

The Shamrocks can be contacted at [email protected].

The NAHL is made up largely of players who are seeking to polish their skills in an effort to land a college hockey scholarship.

The Watertown Shamrocks will be the seventh team in the NAHL’s Central Division. The Central currently has six teams including the: Aberdeen Wings (Aberdeen, SD), Austin Bruins (Austin, MN), Bismarck Bobcats (Bismarck, ND), North Iowa Bulls (Mason City, IA), Minot Minotauros (Minot, ND) and St. Cloud Norsemen (St. Cloud, MN).