October 23, 2009 - All American Hockey League (AAHL) - Chicago Blaze
Rolling Meadows, Illinois - The Chicago Blaze will start the 2009-2010 season with a home and home series with the Detroit Hitmen this weekend. The Friday night game will be in Detroit and Saturday night the two teams will have a rematch at West Meadows Ice Arena at 7pm. Tickets for the home opener are only $8 and $5 for children. Here is a quick overview of what Blaze fans can expect as we kick off the year. On The Ice:
The Blaze philosophy is to build from the net out and that is exactly what the team did this summer. One of the off-season's first signings was goalie Adam Dekker who may very well be the best keeper in the league. Dekker played last year at the AA level with the Flint Generals, before that he played college hockey at Utica where he had a 2.44 GAA. Dekker will be backed up by local product Jon Smarsh.
In front of Dekker the Blaze have a solid corp of defensemen lead by the team's Captain Joe Pace. Pace, who also played in front of Dekker last year in Flint, plays a solid stay at home game. Bill Horton and Mark Hammersmith join Pace as stay at home defensemen and both men hit like freight trains. Arik Lebda, Kevin High, and Nick Elligsen, recently assigned here by the Bloomington Prairie Thunder, round out the defensive group as prospects with potential.
Up front the Blaze have plenty of fire power. Center Pat Lee, is a solid two-way player who was more than a point a game player during his time at U. of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Pat Doyle centered the second line in the pre-season and recoded a hat trick. Nigel Hawryliw has 41 goals in 32 games with Battle Creek and Chi-Town over the last two seasons. Kyle Thompson showed himself to be a solid forechecker in the preseason. TJ Schneider and Mike Maier are expected to add goals from the wings. Team owners Aaron and Chris Mattey are solid two-way forwards who will be providing leadership on and off of the ice. Lastly Ryan Fultz brings experience and talent after six years in the ECHL,
Off The Ice:
Blaze merchandise will be for sale at the game. During the second intermission there will be a "shoot the puck" opportunity for a few lucky fans with a chance to win team merchandise. Also registration has begun for the Fire House, the official Chicago Blaze Kids Club. For $35 each child gains admission to every home game (with a paid adult), a Fire House Tee, and admittance to several special events including a skate with the players and a pizza/autograph party. Check out chicagoblazehockey.com