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Northwoods League makes it official

Northwoods League owners announced Wednesday, Oct. 11, that the Hudson-based St. Croix River Hounds will join the league as its newest expansion franchise beginning with the 2019 baseball season.

The River Hounds will make their home in a new stadium that will be part of a multi-use campus planned for the old 130-acre St. Croix Meadows dog track.

"The ingredients of this newest Northwoods League team—a uniquely experienced group of owner operators fielding a team in a newly constructed facility that is situated in a great community—make this a very exciting addition to our league," said Northwoods League President Gary Hoover. "We are thrilled to be bringing Northwoods League baseball to the St. Croix River Valley area fans, and look forward to welcoming everyone in the 2019 season."

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 20 teams in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Ontario. The St. Croix River Hounds will become the league's 10th Wisconsin franchise and the league expects to add another expansion franchise for the 2019 season in order to maintain balance in its two divisions.

"We are excited to be part of the Northwoods League and in bringing a team to the St. Croix Valley area," said the ownership group of the River Hounds. "We look forward to providing entertainment for families and individuals of all ages that is fun, safe, and ensures lasting memories at an affordable price."

A record-tying 23 Northwoods League alumni made their Major League Baseball debuts this season, and overall 77 former players appeared in the majors at some point in 2017. In all, the 24 year-old league has sent more than 180 players to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist, and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale, Jordan Zimmermann, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda.

St. Croix Valley baseball fans can find out more about the River Hounds at a meet-and-greet the team is planning for this November to unveil logos, colors, stadium videos and renderings as well as season ticket information.

"The owners want to introduce themselves, their families, and meet all of the passionate fans excited for St. Croix River Hounds Baseball," a River Hounds news release said.

For more information, visit the team's Facebook page, St. Croix River Hounds, or email stcroixbaseball@gmail.com.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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