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Crusaders may leave Hudson if beer sales aren't allowed

The general manager of the Hudson Crusaders told the City Council on Dec. 15 that the Junior League hockey team's future in Hudson may depend on whether the city allows beer sales at its games.

The team lost $20,000 during its inaugural 2007-08 season in Hudson, said Harry Urschel.

He said beer sales revenue is need to help support the nonprofit team.

The City Council voted 3-2 to grant the Hudson Hockey Association temporary licenses allowing beer sales at the Crusaders' Dec. 20, Jan. 10 and Jan. 16 games at the Hudson Sports and Civic Center.

Urschel said the hockey association has been "taking heat" for applying for beer sales at Crusaders games, but the sales are really for the benefit of the team.

He wanted to inform the council about the team and its financial needs.

The team is operated by Crusader Hockey Inc., a 501(C)(3) educational charity that teaches hockey skills, Urschel said.

The organization's goals, he said, are to:

1. Help 16- to 20-year-old hockey players advance to the collegiate level;

2. Partner with the Hudson Hockey Association in teaching skills to younger players; and

3. Provide entertainment for the community - especially the youth.

Addressing the complaint about beer sales being allowed at a sporting event with players under the legal drinking age, Urschel said it is a common occurrence.

He named Minnesota Wild and Milwaukee Admirals professional hockey games, and Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball and hockey games, as events involving underage players where beer sales are allowed.

Beer sales also are allowed at home games of five teams in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League that the Crusaders are a part of, Urschel said.

He said the largest sponsor of youth hockey in the United States is Labatt's beer.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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