By Dave Eminian
Of The Journal Star
PEORIA, Ill. – Tyler Rennette’s departure from the Peoria Rivermen was an emotional one in the spring of 2005. Along with Trevor Baker and Randy Rowe, then the franchise’s three most popular players, he skated out to center ice and laid his jersey on the team’s logo moments after Peoria’s final game in the ECHL, waving goodbye to the fans.
Afterward, an emotional Rennette said he hoped to one day re-join the Rivermen in the AHL.
His wish has been granted. Not as a player – Rennette remains officially retired – but as a member of the club’s front office. He is now director of ticket retention. Putting former players in this position is a growing trend with minor-league teams.
It’s the first time the Rivermen have had such a liaison.
“There are fans out there that will get a call from Tyler Rennette,” Rivermen president Bart Rogers said. “He’s going to work with our season ticket holders, urge them to get to games, use their tickets, help get unused tickets to other people. He’s going to call on former season ticket holders, invite them back to a game. There are a lot of things he can do for us in the community.”
Among those things is an increased presence with the Peoria Youth Hockey Association. Rennette will bring Rivermen players to youth hockey practices in the evenings, and in turn help get some of those kids to Rivermen games.