One of the biggest challenges of running a junior hockey franchise is finding billet families for players to stay with during the season.

The Twin City Thunder are relieving some of that burden by purchasing the Cleveland Building in Hallowell. The building, which is a part of Stevens Commons, will be turned into a dormitory by the start of next season.

“If you ask anyone in the junior hockey world, the toughest part … is trying to find enough billet families to take these kids in on a yearly basis,” Twin City co-owner Ben Gray said. “Then having constant changes, kids getting traded, sent home or release or whatever, there’s a lot of moving parts to it. The dormitory will hold roughly 30-32 kids on a single level.”

Gray said the dormitory will house players from both the Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference team and the Tier III Premier League team. Each team’s roster has between 23-25 players, so the organization will still need to rely on billet families for the players who aren’t housed in the dormitory.

Gray and fellow co-owner Dan Hodge have been searching for a dormitory since they founded in the Thunder in December 2017.

“This is something we have been working on for a while,” Gray said. “We finally pulled the trigger on it, but it just made sense, it will help us long-term and it’s going to put us in a good spot for the coming seasons.”

Gray said the organization looked between Portland and Augusta for a building that could house a dormitory. Stevens Commons was chosen because it’s a half-an-hour drive to Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn, where both teams will continue to be based. The Commons is also near the Maine Ice Vault in Hallowell, where the Premier League team has practiced the past two seasons.

Stevens Commons is a mixed development area in Hallowell that includes historic buildings, a landscaped campus, offices and commercial space, and residential offerings, including senior and veteran housing, apartments, duplexes.

The Cleveland Building was built in 1967 and was once used as a girls dormitory for the Stevens School.

“The building is being gutted from head-to-toe inside and will be completely renovated and redone specifically for us, for our team, which is quite unique,” Gray said. “It will give us quite the advantage, I think, in recruitment and what we offer for our (hockey teams).”

MORE SCHEDULE CHANGES

Changes have been made once again to the Thunder’s NCDC team’s schedule. Twin City will travel to Hooksett, New Hampshire, on Saturday to face the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs at 5:30 p.m.

The Thunder were scheduled to play the Northern Cyclones at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

This will be the fourth straight game the Thunder have played against the Monarchs. The Mondars won 5-4 on Nov. 3, then the Thunder bounced back with a 4-2 victory Nov. 7. New Hampshire won the most recent meeting, 3-1, on Nov. 14.

KERESZTES COMMITS TO LONG ISLAND

Former Twin City Thunder NCDC forward Levente Keresztes committed Monday night to play at Long Island University, beginning in the 2022-23 season.

The 18-year-old Budapest, Hungary native had 42 points (12 goals and 30 assists) in 42 games last season for the Thunder’s NCDC team. He recently joined the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League after trying out for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. He has scored two goals and has four assists in seven games with the Titans.

Keresztes joins Maine Nordiques forward Isaiah Fox as commitments to LIU, the nation’s newest NCAA Division I hockey team. The Sharks are 1-1 so far in their inaugural season.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.