The Kenai River Brown Bears will be back on the ice next season. It’s not a stretch to call what Steve Stuber, supporters, and the community of Soldotna did remarkable. Faced with the possibility of shutting down the hockey operation, following the way of the Alaska Aces, the community helped complete an extraordinary comeback.
On April 1, the team announced it needed to raise $300,000 to remain in operation. The National Junior Hockey League gave them less than a month to raise the money, but they did it. Tuesday, the league voted to reinstate the club.
“You know, I think about the lady in Kenai that bought the ticket from my wife Leah,” said Stuber, who led the effort to save the team. “She gave me two checks instead one because she only makes $12 an hour. That’s a huge commitment to this whole area.”
The team has been in existence for 10 years, now going on 11.
“I live here. I love playing in front of my hometown. It’s amazing. I get to do this again this year hopefully,” said defenseman Preston Weeks.
It’s a team that will embody the second chance when it takes the ice next season.