By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
Steffon Walby was on a Mardi Gras float in the shape of a hockey mask earlier this week in Biloxi, Miss.
The coach of the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves said he’s doing what he can to remind people his team plans to return in 2007-08 after missing two seasons because of Hurricane Katrina.
“My main job is to keep the memory of hockey alive and at the forefront in this area for when we come back,” said Walby, who was hired five weeks before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2006.
“It will be our 10th season when we start, and we’re making sure everyone realizes that the 10th season will indeed happen.”
While the Texas Wildcatters put their organization back together relatively quickly, the Sea Wolves suffered significant damage to their arena, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
Bill Holmes, the arena’s executive director, stood on the second level of the arena when Katrina hit and watched a wall of water crash into the facility.
“Six feet of water came flooding into this building,” Holmes said. “When it was over, all we had left were two flat-edged shovels and a wheel barrel.”
Sea Wolves owner Bo McMurphy said everything in the team’s offices was destroyed. The arena was rebuilt at a cost of about $6 million, and the team returned to its offices last month.
The team won’t have any players until the summer, but the Sea Wolves are on their way back.
“It’s going to be a slow road for the coast to heal,” McMurphy said. “But we’re all recovering together.”