Chippewa Falls (WQOW) — The Chippewa Steel are set to drop the puck on their inaugural season this Friday night at the Chippewa Ice Arena, as they’ll host Fairbanks.
Wednesday, Al Rooney, head coach and general manager, finalized the roster ahead of the opening weekend. It consists of 16 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders, with 9 of the players from the state of Wisconsin. It also includes former Eau Claire Memorial forward Hutson Collins, who will wear the number 2. The team is young featuring 15 players in their first year of juniors and the NAHL, but they’re just excited to get back on the ice.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and we’re a younger group, so that’s going to be a natural bi-product of being enthusiastic and excited,” says Rooney. “It’s been a long build-up since May, since the organization was bought and moved here, but can’t really describe the excitement and anticipation. We’ve been practicing now for several weeks, and we’re ready for games.
The Steele are coming off of an exhibition match this past Saturday against the Minnesota Wilderness, where they fell 3-2. However, their were a lot of positive takeaways that keep their expectations high for 2018.
“I think we just want to prove that we aren’t going to be the little brother in the league,” defenseman Dylan Moulton, who is playing his first season in the NAHL. “We want to prove that we’re here to play, not going to kick us to the side. We’re going to try to make our way up to the top quick and stay there.”
Moulton’s fellow blue-liner Jacob Peterson agrees, and is also excited to be with the Steele for his last year in juniors.
“Just have to take it day by day. We’ve just got to keep going hard every single day and give it all we got,” Peterson says. “And then see what happens, the controllables will take care of themselves. As long as we’re doing our jobs, we’re defintely going to give them a show.”
The puck is set to drop at 7:10 P.M. Friday at the Chippewa Ice Arena against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Then they’ll wrap up the weekend series Saturday night, also at 7:10 P.M.