The city of Dubuque’s new hockey franchise is set to begin play this fall. The Dubuque Thunderbirds are an expansion franchise in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League and were born after the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League left after more than 20-years and relocated in Tulsa. T-Birds general manager Ken Gaber says as the U-S-H-L grew over the years, so did the expenses. He says they entire country is in a hockey transition phase. Gaber says there’s a need for another level of hockey.Gaber says because of the new league they have been able to slash ticket prices for this season. The price for an adult ticket is five dollars.Gaber says the team will play an exhibition schedule beginning labor day weekend and will have its home opener on October 12th. They will play about 50 games overall.Gaber says as opposed to the U-S-H-L which recruits nationally and overseas, the Minnesota league will do most of its recruiting regionally.