By Larry Holder
The Sun Herald
BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Sea Wolves are hoping for the best from the ECHL schedule makers to make the most of their return to the Coast.
The team has asked to have its first hockey game at the Coast Coliseum since Hurricane Katrina be either Oct. 27 or 28 against this year’s Kelly Cup champions.
Of course, the Sea Wolves are at the mercy of the ECHL officials, but the way the league has helped with the team’s return, Sea Wolves general manager/head coach Steffon Walby is hopeful the request can be fulfilled.
“We hope to use it as a weekend celebration for our return to hockey,” Walby said. “We’re ready to come back to represent the Gulf Coast and not just a jersey.”
Though no one knows who will capture the ECHL championship, Walby said six teams have asked the league to be the Sea Wolves’ opening home opponent.
Sea Wolves fans can mark Oct. 19 as the team’s first game in two seasons. The game will be on the road and the opponent has yet to be determined.
The Sea Wolves have already surpassed the season-ticket sales today as compared with what the team sold for its final pre-Katrina season. For this season, the team has sold close to 1,300 packages. Only 1,146 packages were sold for the 2004-05 campaign.
Walby said the team should easily jump past the ECHL’s mandate of 1,500 season tickets sold, especially considering the season doesn’t begin for six months.
Bill Yates has been named president of operations and officially starts March 26. He worked with Fort Worth of the Central Hockey League from 1998 to 2006 and then went to Corpus Christi of the CHL.
There may be a scheduling conflict with the team’s training camp occurring at the same time as Cruisin’ the Coast. The Sea Wolves are looking into alternative sites, such as Memphis or Lafayette, if they can’t take the ice in early October in the Coliseum.