Minnesota Hockey Magazine

If You Build It …

(Photos of NCA’s new facility in Alexandria courtesy of NCA)

Northstar Christian Academy Shines Bright in Alexandria

When proven leaders unite in a vision and have backers from the NHL, PGA and NFL behind it, great things happen.

Rick Randazzo, Executive Director of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)

The Northstar Christian Academy was birthed through the partnership of a few local Alexandria, MN businessmen and FCA Hockey (Fellowship of Christian Athletes-Hockey). Rick Randazzo, Executive Director for FCA Hockey, his wife Shannan, and their five children were nearing the end of powerful 50 State 50 City Tour where they devoted 5 years to investing Christian principles in hockey coaches and athletes all over the country

The 50 State 50 City Tour began in August 2011. Starting in Maine, the Randazzo family spent 30 days in one city per state providing free hockey clinics to those interested. They worked with athletes, coaches, and teams at all levels, and sought to serve physical and spiritual needs of local families. Rick shared, “It’s been remarkable to see how the Lord has used our family to till the soil, get out there, and meet so many people”

In 2015, as the Tour neared its end, they prayed “Lord, now what?” They had a With the vision to create a home for FCA Hockey, a school based on Christian principles, and also a sports complex that could be used for FCA Hockey events, and to impact athletes, coaches, and a local community long-term. They had 5 different cities vying for the home of FCA Hockey to be in their state

In 2016, Alexandria, Minnesota became the home of FCA Hockey, as well as the Northstar Christian Academy (NCA). With local sports heroes like Tom Lehman and Matt Cullen on board early, over 4 million dollars were raised. The school opened adjacent to the Alexandria public High School in 2016.

Soon later, in October 2017, the dream for a sports complex started to become reality. In a large step of faith, the Northstar Group broke ground in October 2017 on the Northstar Sports Complex

Randazzo recalls praying on September 18, 2017, with Gary Steffes, a former pro hockey player who serves full time on staff with FCA Hockey, on flat land. “We prayed for a building, an arena, and a boy’s hockey team here in Alexandria, MN that could be skating inside a new building.

To say this was really something that would require divine help was an understatement. Funds still had to be raised for the Northstar Sports Complex, sanctioning was needed from USA and Minnesota Hockey, acceptance into a league, and a complete team of coaches and players all in less than a year, all committing to play for a team in a league that was unknown and in a rink that was yet to be built

One year later, miraculously, it happened

On October 4th, 2017 the Sports Complex broke ground. Today, over 7 million of the necessary $8.1 million dollars have been raised and the Sports Complex is nearly completely constructed. According to Randazzo, the 70,000-square-foot facility includes a field house, hockey rink and chapel on a 40-acre campus, with space for expansion

PGA Champion and Player of the Year Tom Lehman says, “I am incredibly excited to se the Sports Complex come alive in my hometown of Alexandria, Minnesota as I know it will impact so many Coaches and Athletes across the country. FCA in Alexandria has a special place in my heart and I look forward to being a part of this project for years to come.

Matt Cullen, a multiple time NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Champion, expressed “I am very excited to see the Sports Complex become a reality here in my home state of Minnesota. It will have a huge impact on both players and coaches through the Midwest by providing opportunities in sports, all while promoting the core values of FCA. The thought of having a first-class facility here for kids to grow in their athletics and faith together is really exciting and something I look forward to becoming a part of when my playing days are over”.

During the past year, the NCA Knights Prep Hockey Program was also launched. USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey sanctioned the program in February. The newly formed NAHL Prep League, which calls itself “a premier training ground for the development and exposure of high school, Prep and Academy teams throughout North America” accepted the NCA Knights for the 2018-19 season. John Olver, who has 35 years of professional, collegiate and junior coaching experience, accepted the position as head coach, and a full roster of athletes was finalized.

Miraculously, on September 19, 2018, literally a year to the day, Rick, Gary, and members of the Northstar program stepped onto fresh ice, in the new Northstar Sports Complex, with a team of twenty-two players from eleven different states present to play for the first Northstar Knights Prep Hockey Team.

In an interview with the Echo, local Alexandria Cardinals head coach Ian Resch commented, “I know community members are concerned about the impact the Academy will have on our high school program. Personally, I am not concerned. Players and families are looking for the program that best fits their needs.” Resch took his team all the way to the High School boys’ Class A championship game last year, finishing second, after a loss to Orono.

The vision has become reality. The Northstar Christian Academy and Northstar Sports Complex are established. The facilities will be national headquarters to FCA Hockey and a place for many athletes and coaches at all levels of hockey, football, soccer, softball, baseball, and golf to grow spiritually, and physically.

This October will mark the historic Grand Opening of the Northstar Sports Complex. The Northstar Group and FCA Hockey would love to invite everyone interested to come join us for the celebration. The event will begin at 4:00 pm on Sunday, October 14, 2018. There are many lodging options in Alexandria, Minnesota. Please contact Gary Steffes at gsteffes@fca.org for questions