Wolves embark on new chapter
After ending a limited preseason schedule, (1-1-1), the Chicago Wolves prepare for their eight season on October 6th. It will, however, be their first season in the American Hockey League. The previous seven seasons were played in the, now defunct, International Hockey League which folded after 56 years where they won the Turner Cup championship twice (1998 and 2000). 5 other former IHL teams, (Utah, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Manitoba, and Houston), are joining Chicago in the AHL. All of the IHL teams will form 1 division, except for Manitoba which will play in the Canadian division, though the bulk of their schedule will be against their former IHL counterparts.
Even though the majority of the Wolves roster will be coming from their parent club the Atlanta Thrashers, they will be returning at least 5 Wolves mainstays from their IHL
days. Joining, longtime Wolves Captain, Steve Maltais are, (forwards) Dan Plante and Rob Brown, and (defensemen) Bob Nardella and Dallas Eakins.
The Wolves have tradition of excellent goaltending, and this year will be no exception. The Thrashers have assigned (last years Turner Cup MVP) Norm Maracle to patrol
Chicago crease. The remainder of the roster will be announced within the next few days. One player that will not be heading for Chicago is Ilya Kovalchuk, the 6’2″ 210 pound left winger from Tyer, Russia. Kovalchuk became the 1st Russian ever to be picked number one in the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Kovalchuk is being
taunted as a can’t miss by everyone who sees him. Should it be deemed, however, that the talented 18 year old in not quite ready, he will be headed back to Russia, and the
AHL has a 20 year old age limit, which is a shame because he has the stature to fit right in, wearing a Wolves sweater.
Whatever the roster, the Wolves organization promises that this years club to continue to strive for the same level of excellence that has made Chicago one of the success stories in the minors. And with two championships, and the new challenges that faces their club, Wolves fans expect nothing less.