Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will serve as part of the ownership group for the newly named Madison Capitols of the United States Hockey League beginning in 2014-15.
The announcement by the management of Madtown Hockey LLC was made Tuesday at the Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, Wis. In addition to the nine-year NHL veteran, former Wisconsin Badgers center Tom Sagissor will serve as part of the ownership team.
The Capitols name is a nod to the original USHL team that competed in the city for 11 seasons, first known as the Madison Capitols (1984-91) then the Wisconsin Capitols (1991-95). The Madison Capitols AAA youth hockey program continues to play at Capitol Ice Arena.
The USHL's Madison Capitols will play their home games at Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
"I am so excited about the USHL playing in Madison where I have so many friends, memories and deep hockey roots," Suter said in a statement. "This is a new and unique opportunity for me to be an owner and investor, and I believe in the product and the great staff that is being assembled. I look forward to the first game and the support of the great hockey fans in the Madison area."
Suter's father, Bob Suter, played at the University of Wisconsin and won an NCAA championship in 1977. He also was a member of the "Miracle on Ice" U.S. team that won gold at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
Suter's uncle, Gary Suter, played in the USHL for two seasons (1981-83) with the original Dubuque Fighting Saints. He went on to play at the University of Wisconsin before embarking on a 17-year NHL career that included a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1988-89.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime to bring a USHL club to a great hockey community like Madison," Sagissor said. "I know the fans in this area will love to watch the development of these players over time. We wanted to keep the great tradition with the name Madison Capitols as it means so much to the history of hockey in this marketplace. I cannot wait for the team to drop the puck next fall."
Ryan Suter, in his second season with the Wild, was chosen by the Nashville Predators in the first round (No. 7) of 2003 NHL Draft. He spent seven seasons with the Predators prior to signing with the Wild in the summer of 2012. The Madison native spent a year playing college hockey at Wisconsin (2003-04) before beginning his pro career. He also starred for the National Team Development Program for two seasons (2001-03).
"We're excited to bring the USHL to one of the Midwest's greatest cities and hockey communities," USHL president and commissioner Skip Prince said. "Madison's ownership and senior management have already proven themselves to be innovative, focused, and committed to making 'Hockey Night' at the Alliant Energy Center a must-see event. We're counting down the days until a team with the Wisconsin state capital's name on their sweater hits the home ice. This will be special."