Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
The regular-season games are in the books, but the Dubuque Fighting Saints keep on winning in their first year on the ice.
They skated out of the regular season as the best team in the Western Conference of the United States Hockey League, selling out four of their games.
Today, the U.S.H.L named one of their players Rookie of the Year.
But the Fighting Saints also stole the hearts of people in Dubuque.
For every home game; every time they sang the National Anthem; every time the players took the ice, the fans showed up. And as the Saints started winning, over and over again, even non-fans began to take notice.
Saints Vice President of Business Operations Stephanie Henderson said, "So many people who have never been exposed to it caught the fever. It's what you wish for."
More than 75,000 fans filled the seats during the regular season. That's an average of 2,500 fans per game. Fans who bought tickets and treats and fell in love with the team.
"Who would have thought our first year being back in this market we would get as far as we've gotten in such a short time?" said Henderson.
It seems the community is taking notice.
Hockey fan Jake Noonan said, "I was actually at my brother's baseball game last night and I heard a few people talk about the Saints and the playoff games."
Managers say these players are good people and involved in the community. That may be true, but a lot of people showed up for the games to see the brand new Mystique Ice Arena.
"This facility is amazing. I'm hoping that more people will come just to check out the facility and fall in love with the hockey," Henderson said.
Henderson said no matter the reason fans have to show up, the Saints play exciting hockey and they are a team the city can be proud of.