By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Mississippi Sea Wolves dropped a 5-2 decision to the Reading Royals at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
The average person probably glanced at the score, and then moved on. It was just another game.
But anyone aware of the situation in Biloxi knows it was much, much more than that. And even though the Sea Wolves came up short on the scoreboard, they came up huge in the hearts of the 6,714 who showed up to celebrate the coming together of a community that dealt with devastation not so long ago.
Last Saturday marked the first game in roughly two years for the Sea Wolves on their home ice, as the franchise was forced to close up shop in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum was a mere shell of itself after the storm, and head coach Steffon Walby frequently worked the phones at the team’s office this summer surrounded by construction workers.
Naturally, Saturday’s pre-game festivities were more glamorous than usual, and rightfully so. This was much more than a hockey game. This was about life. It was about courage. It was about a group of people who were forced to get up, dust themselves off and, as Walby told us a couple of months back, “fight the fight.”
The town celebrated the return of the Sea Wolves, and then had Mississippi native Brad Arnold – the lead singer from the hit group Three Doors Down – perform the national anthem. And then defenseman Chris Cava – who played for the Sea Wolves before Mother Nature socked the region in the jaw – scored the game’s opening goal a little more than three minutes into the contest, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy.
In the end, it was only fitting that either Cava or Travis Lisabeth – who also played in Mississippi prior to Katrina – scored the first goal at the reconstructed MCC.