Central Hockey League opens 21st season tonight

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Central Hockey League’s 21st season opens tonight with three contests including Rapid City at Bloomington, Tulsa at Wichita and Missouri at Denver. 
On Saturday night, Arizona travels to Allen with the Rush and Blaze, Oilers and Thunder and Mavericks and Cutthroats each playing a second weekend game. The Sundogs and Americans are the lone game on Sunday and the Fort Worth Brahmas and the Quad City Mallards are both idle, beginning play next weekend. 
The Wichita Thunder return as the CHL’s regular season champs (Bud Poile Governors’ Cup) and will jump right into things with a pair of games against their longtime rivals, the Tulsa Oilers. The teams will be meeting for the 226th time on Friday night with Wichita owning 116 wins and Tulsa owning 109 wins in the all-time series.
With the National Hockey League’s season hampered by a lockout, three NHL players have signed in the CHL to keep sharp during CBA negotiations. The Arizona Sundogs have signed defenseman David Schlemko and forward Kyle Chipchura, both of the Phoenix Coyotes and the Denver Cutthroats have inked Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey.
The CHL’s lone expansion team, the Denver Cutthroats will begin play in the historic Denver Coliseum on Friday night against the Missouri Mavericks. The Coliseum is celebrating its 60th anniversary opening in 1952. Denver is coached by former NHL player Derek Armstrong. 
Aside from Derek Armstrong in Denver, the CHL features three coaches who are new to their teams this season including Allen’s Steve Martinson, Bloomington’s Brian Gratz and Quad City’s Terry Ruskowski. David Lohrei begins his first full season with the Arizona Sundogs as he joined the team late in the 2011-12 campaign.
The Rapid City Rush will open their fifth anniversary season on Friday night when they travel to Bloomington to play the Blaze in the first of back-to-back games. The Rush won just 22 games during their expansion season in 2008-09 but have since rattled off 121 wins (more than 40 wins a season average) winning the 2010 CHL Championship. Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras is sixth on the league’s all-time wins list with 303 victories, just 16 behind Bill McDonald for fifth place (319 wins).
Rapid City’s Tim Boron finished last season as maybe the hottest goaltender in the CHL winning eight of his final 10 decisions. In those eight victories, Boron allowed just 14 goals and he finished the year with a sparkling 24-11-2 record, a .925 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA.
CHL-TV is back with a new look, powered this season by America ONE Sports. New packages are now available with new lower prices and better options including season and monthly passes that provide access to all games. Visit www.americaonesports.com for ordering information.
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