©The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
LAFAYETTE, La. — The Louisiana IceGators are bringing back the “Good ol’ boys” to celebrate the “Good ol’ days.”
The IceGators announced plans Thursday for “Reunion Week 2004” to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ECHL hockey in Lafayette.
Reunion week will begin Wednesday, Nov. 10 and conclude Friday, Nov. 12 when the IceGators host the Mississippi Sea Wolves in their second home game of the season.
The team will kick off the festivities with a golf tournament on Nov. 10 and a “Welcome Home” banquet on Nov. 11. The team plans to honor its former players with a special tribute prior to the Nov. 12 game in the Cajundome.
“One of the questions the old fans ask us is where are they now?,” said Bruce LeVine, Louisiana’s vice president of communications. “There were a lot of fan favorites over the years and our goal is to bring back as many as we can so the fans can get back in touch with the players they loved to come watch play.
“In turn, maybe fans will not only enjoy seeing the old crowd, but maybe they’ll find a player on this team now and start to like them just as much as the former players.”
LeVine also said fans and organizations will have the opportunity to sponsor a returning player, which includes all three of the events planned.
“If a fan decides to sponsor a player that player will sit with them at the table during the banquet,” LeVine said. “You also will be able to golf with the player in a foursome at the tournament and receive tickets to the Friday game.”
Players from the current team also will be at the banquet.
“It’s a chance for the former players to meet the fans again and for the new players to enjoy the festivities and find out what our tradition is all about,” he said.
The team plans to have a video tribute and introduce all players prior to the game on Nov. 12. Former players also will be available for autograph sessions and pictures.
Former All-Star goaltender Bryan Schoen is one of several players already committed to attending the reunion.
“It’s hard to believe it is approaching 10 years,” Schoen said. “I can’t wait to come back to Lafayette. Seeing some of the guys from those teams and especially the fans and friends I made, I am really looking forward to it. Those times were easily the best of my career.”
Chris Valicevic, Jack Williams, Rob Weingartner, Joey Mittelsteadt, Doug Bonner, Chuck Thuss, Rod Pasma, Jason McQuat, Ron Handy and Ryan Shanahan are scheduled to appear.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends and teammates,” said Valicevic, a seven time All-Star. “I think the fans and players will enjoy getting together and revisiting some of the good times we had as a community.”
“That’s going to be real exciting to see some of the guys I haven’t seen for a while,” Handy said. “I’m trying to get some of the older guys to put the skates on so we can have a game before or in between periods. The fans would get a kick out of that. It would be at a pretty slow pace.”
More players are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“That’s a list of players who already have committed,” LeVine said. “We have a few more we’re working on schedules with who may or may not be able to come depending on if they’re playing or not. Any player is more than welcome. We’d love to have a full cast.”
©The Lafayette Daily Advertiser