BLAINE, MN – Two teams who haven’t seen in each other since that faithful National Championship night two years ago will go head to head to open up the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
The Amarillo Bulls and the Wenatchee Wild face one another for the fourth time ever at 10:30 am at the Schwann Super Rink. The Bulls and the Wild met one another at the Showcase two years ago that Wenatchee won 5-3 and then twice at the Robertson Cup in Frisco in 2013.
It’s a different story this year as both teams find themselves in the same division, the South, and meet for the first of five times. The other four confrontations don’t happen until the second half of the season with two in Wenatchee at the end of February and another two in March back in the Texas Panhandle.
The Bulls are unbeaten at the opening day of the North American Hockey League Showcase with four consecutive victories. It’s also the third time in four years that the Bulls will play the first game in the morning.
There are five returning players from a year ago and six total with North American Hockey League experience. Mitchell McPherson, Cody Gylling, Adem Arifi, Dean Rhymer, Mitchell Vanderburgh are part of the returnees and goaltender Joakim Jutras has league experience with the former Texas Tornado. The fresh faces come from all leagues throughout North America including three from Sweden.
The Bulls are led by Jon Rogger who marks his debut as the Amarillo bench boss taking over from Dennis Williams who is now with Bloomington of the USHL. Rogger is no stranger to the Head Coaching position after spending the past two years with the DesMoines Buccaneers of the USHL. Rogger was a previous Assistant Coach with the St. Louis Bandits and teamed up with Jon Cooper to win a Robertson Cup. Cooper is now Head Coach of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rogger is joined behind the bench by Mike Watt who played over 150 games in the National Hockey League with several different teams. Watt has been coaching in Wisconsin prior to his arrival in Amarillo.
Despite winning 40 games for a third year in a row, the Bulls struggled at last year’s event posting a 1-2-1 mark. The Wild notched just 29 wins as members of the Midwest Division that also included teams from Minnesota and Alaska. Wenatchee defeated the expansion Minnesota Wilderness in the Division Semi-Final but were then eliminated by the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in five games in their effort to return to the National Final.
Fans an tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the puck drop at 10:30 am. Denis J. Puska calls all of the action in his ninth year in the Texas Panhandle.
Once he NAHL Showcase has concluded, the Bulls return for their home opener on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 pm against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. There is still plenty of time to purchase or renew Season Tickets for the 5th anniversary season. The Bulls also offer half season tickets featuring some of the best games as well as 10 game Flex Packs.
For further information please contact the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or drop by 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building.