An Idea Born From a Decades-Long Friendship

An idea born from a decades-long friendship will give northeastern Wyoming hockey fans the opportunity to see one of the most dominant NA3HL organizations at Spirit Hall Ice Arena this weekend.

Granite City Lumberjacks veteran General Manager/Head Coach Brad Wilner and the squad will make the 11-something hour bus ride from Sauk Rapids, MN, to Gillette to face off with the Gillette Wild Friday and Saturday night. The Fraser Cup is awarded annually to the organization winning the NA3HL Championship, and over the last decade, no group has had it handed their direction more than Granite City. Three titles (2012, 2015, 2017) in the last ten years have put the Lumberjacks in the top echelon of junior hockey programs.

Wild Founder and Managing Partner Dwayne Dillinger talked about the weekend series.

“Our program is becoming solid enough, top tier programs recognize it, and want to face us.” Dillinger said, “That’s led to the opportunity to have a perennial powerhouse here in town.”

Wilner said years spent alongside Dillinger on the league’s Rules and Competition Committee built a friendship leading to a conversation about the leagues top programs playing non-division contests. The veteran coach is looking forward to getting his club out west to play Gillette.

“We go into other environments here that are kinda hostile, but it’s good to just get outside the division and experience different arenas,” Wilner added.

Gillette will repay the favor by traveling to Minnesota later in the season to visit the Armadillo Deck Sports Arena. As for the action this weekend, the doors at Spirit Hall will open at 6:00, with puck drop at 7:05, both Friday and Saturday night.