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Bandolier Celebrate Their 41st Year!

By Chris Middlebrook, 11/02/20, 1:00PM CST


The American Bandy Association was formed in December 1980. Within days the first bandy club in the USA, The Bandolier, was also formed. As USA bandy enters its 41st season of competition The Bandolier also enter their 41st year of existence. The original USA bandy club and the only club still existing from the first year, the first decade, of USA Bandy, The Bandolier are the foundation, and the ongoing backbone of bandy in the USA. Consider the following Bandolier merit list:

* The first USA Champion in 1981 with a 6-0 record

*The Original Bandolier Jersey

*Winners of the 1982 and 1983 US Championships at 6-0 and 9-0, going 21-0 in their first three years of existence

*The first US club team to play in the World Club Team Championships in Ljusdal, Sweden, October 1983

*President Reagan Congratulates The Bandolier

*First US team to beat a Swedish team, 2-0 over Aby Tjureda October 1983, in Ljusdal, Sweden

*First US rink bandy team to beat a Finnish team in winning the 1989 North American Cup of Rink Bandy 3-1 over Finn Air

*Largest margin of victory in a NAC rink bandy title game, 10-0 in 1990 championship.

*Competed in World Club Team Championships in Ljusdal 2002

*33 game unbeaten streak in US Elite league 2001-2003

*First US team to have a Finnish player skate for them, Finnish bandy legend Esko Tammilehto

*Mother club of 3 other US elite teams, Duluth, Mojo, Sparrows/Dukes.

*First Elite US bandy club to create first division clubs-Dynamo Washburn and The Saints

*First US team to have a Russian Super League skater/National team player, sign a  Bandolier contract and skate for them-Evgenii Ivanushkin


*13 time US Champion-1981, 1982, 1983, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020













*11 time North American Cup Champion-1986, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005,2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014

*NAC Champs 1986

*3 time USA Rink Bandy Champion-1988, 1989, 1992

*5 time North American Rink Bandy Cup Champion-1989, 1990, 2007, 2008, 2011

*4 former Bandolier currently in USA Bandy Hall of Fame-Chris Middlebrook, Chris Halden, Rick Haney, Chris Preiss

*2 former Bandolier players have been Head Coach of US National Team-Chris Middlebrook and Chris Halden

*Almost 40 Bandolier have played for the US National Team -Chris Middlebrook, Dave Arundel, Jeff Arundel, Steve Arundel, Tom Lee, Paul Lundeen, Brent Brodhag, Chris Halden, Jeff Johnson, Rick Haney, Chris Preiss, Jason Daniels, Tom Stone, Joel Andell, Pete Dahlquist, Kevin Bowen, Rob Goldnick, Paul Meehl, Shane Anderson, Pat Green, Glen McCarty, Billy Pierson, Ben Schoff, John Arundel, Scott Arundel, Mike Hosfield, Jon Keseley, Daren Richardson, Andrew Knutson, Peter Knutson, Ian Middlebrook, Wyatt Wenzel, Zander Asleson, Zach Knight, Brett Stolpestad, Dane Erickson, Michael Fabie, Sam Blaisdell, and Evan Erickson.

*14 Bandolier have played at least one season overseas-Chris Middlebrook, Jeff Johnson, Chris Halden, Paul Lundeen, Rick Haney, Chris Preiss, Jason Daniels, John Arundel, Jon Keseley, Mike Hosfield, Scott Arundel, Daren Richardson, Ian Middlebrook, Wyatt Wenzel

*2  Heads of US Bandy Referees and multi time international referees  were Bandolier players-Kevin Bowen and Rob Goldnick

*3 former Bandolier players have coached the Women's national Team-Rob Goldnick, Paul Meehl and Chris Middlebrook

*Began the tradition of The Holiday Friendship Game between The Bandolier and the USA Women's National Team, held annually just before Christmas.

*Proudly supported the USA Women as they skated as The Bandolier in the Women's World Cup in Sweden October 2016

*A Bandolier has been ABA President since 1992

 *First US team to have a Russian skater play for them 1998

*A Bandolier was first US player to skate with Russian team-Ian Middlebrook with Vodnik 2012

The merit list could go on.....

Over the course of The Bandolier 40 year existence there have been a number of eras. The first was the original team, created primarily out of former south Minneapolis hockey players who played for Washburn and Southwest High Schools. The second era was the rink bandy only era from 1988 to 1997. During these years The Bandolier only competed in the US summer rink bandy league, winning multiple titles in both the league and the North American Rink Bandy Cup. In the fall of 1997 Chris Middlebrook and Paul Meehl resurrected the big ice Bandolier in the elite league, creating a team consisting almost entirely of first division players. The third era, the Rick Haney/Chris Preiss era began in the 1998-99 season. Haney returned from playing two years in Norway and brought Pat Green and Glen McCarty with him to The Bandolier. Chris Preiss, together with Jason Daniels, Joel Andell and Tom Stone, all came from south Minneapolis/Washburn High School. By the 2000-2001 season they had helped make The Bandolier virtually unbeatable as a 33 game unbeaten streak occurred and multiple US and NAC championships were won. During one year Preiss scored a combined US record 65 goals.In 2005-06 Daren Richardson made his bandy debut, skating for The Bandolier and winning a championship before heading to Sweden and ultimately playing in the Swedish Elite League.  In 2006-07 Haney formed the Duluth Bandy Club and The Bandolier had two down years. The 4th era, the 3 Horsemen Era, began the 2008-09 season when John Arundel, Jon Keseley and Mike Hosfield all returned from playing for Helenelund in Sweden and made their USA big ice debuts skating for The Bandolier. Joining them on The Bandolier was Scott Arundel. Two straight US and North American Cup Championships followed. Hosfield then left The Bandolier to form The Mojo Bandy Club. Arundel and Keseley remained, however, and The Bandolier won two more titles in 2012 and 2014. The Bandolier was not however, a two man show. By 2013-14 the 5th era of The Bandolier was already well established. The Young Gun era, led by another group of south Minneapolis/Washburn products. The lead Young Gun, Andrew Knutson,  had skated for the Bandolier since 2006 as a 17 year old Joining him were Peter Knutson, Ian Middlebrook and Wyatt Wenzel, all 3 who had skated for The Bandolier since age 18, Sam Blaisdell and 16 year old Jack Blaney. Consequently, when John Arundel and Jon Keseley left The Bandolier after the 2014 title to form a new bandy club, The Dukes-which became The Sparrows,-it took The Bandolier only one down year before becoming US champions again in 2016, bolstered by even more young skaters, Zach Knight, Bret Stolpestad, Derek Wypzinski, Neil Hultgren, Nick Omodt, Jake Perpich and Nate Perpich. The Bandolier were champions again in 2018 and 2020, adding Dane Erickson for the 2017-18 season and Dane's brother Evan together with Mitch Cowger for the 2019-20 season. Unlike the dominating eras of the original team, the Haney/Preiss era and the 3 Horsemen era, the Bandolier of the Young Gun era, although winning 3 of 6 US championships, have not won a regular season title or a North American Cup. Twice in winning the US Championship they have had to win a play in game to make it to the semifinals. Although they have not beaten the Sparrows/Dukes even once in the regular season or the North American Cup they have in each of their championship seasons, 2016, 2018, 2020, taken down The Sparrows/Dukes in the playoffs. In the 2014 championship final The Bandolier beat The Blades in the first game, lost 10-5 in the second and won the deciding match 3-1. In 2016 they lost the first game 5-1 to the Blades, then beat them 4-1 and 2-1 to win the title. 2018 was the only Young Gun title that didn't go to 3 games as The Bandolier beat The Mojo 6-3 and 6-4. 2020 was again a 3 game championship series with the Sparrows winning game one 5-1, the Bandolier taking game 2 in a shootout 3-2 and winning  the decisive game 8-6. 

The Bandolier continue to exist and thrive after 40 years. They continue to make a major contribution to US Bandy, both on and off the ice. They keep finding a way to win USA Bandy Championships.  The Bandolier adopted the team moto "The American Original" in the early 2000s. After their 12th US Bandy title in 2018 an additional team motto was added "Mesta Mastarna", which is Swedish and translates loosely as "The Champion of Champions". The Bandolier are indeed the Mesta Mastarna of USA bandy, both on and off the ice.

Bandolier Champions List/US Championships as a player for Bandolier

Chris Middlebrook 9

Kevin Bowen 9  *He has also won 10 North American Cup Championships as a Bandolier

Andrew Knutson 8

Joel Andell 7

Peter Knutson 6

Wyatt Wenzel 6

Ian Middlebrook 5

Tom Stone 5

Paul Lundeen 5

Rob Goldnick 5

Chris Preiss 4

John Arundel 4

Jon Keseley 4 

Sam Blaisdell 4

Jeff Arundel 4

Rick Haney 3

Pat Green 3

Glen McCarty 3

Zach Knight 3

Derek Wypzinski 3

Neil Hultgren 3

Nick Omodt 3

Steve Arundel 3

Brent Brodhag 3

Mike Stokfisz 3

Paul Meehl 3


Bandolier Roster 20-21

Tom Stone-Goalie

Andrew Knutson-Captain

Peter Knutson

Dane Erickson

Evan Erickson

Sam Blaisdell

Michael Fabie

Zack Knight

Neil Hultgren

Derek Wypzinski

Brett Stolpestad

Jack Blaney

Mitch Cowger

Nick Omodt

Coaches: Chris Middlebrook and John Magnuson