The Iowa Wild (the former Houston Aeros) open their inaugural weekend in Des Moines on October 12th and 13th. There is something almost magical about opening weekend — it’s sort of like experiencing a new red car if you are an adult, or a putting on a pair of beautiful shiny new shoes when you are 4-years-old. However when it is an opening weekend for a brand new team, that is more like Christmas morning and Thanksgiving all rolled into one! The comforting aromas of spice and pine in the air, mingled with laughter, family, warmth, excitement and joy. With each passing year I find myself cherishing these moments even more, so when I’m faced with such an opportunity — and yes, a new hockey team fits into this category — I want to fully enjoy it.
This trip will also be somewhat bittersweet since I can sympathize with Houston Aeros fans who lost their team through no fault of their own, nor the players. Seeing our old nemesis the Houston Aeros in Iowa Wild livery will seem decidedly odd, but watching the team under their new coach Kurt Kleinendorst will be fascinating. He’s a player’s coach — the type of coach who understands his players, and treats them as family, and he’s also a coach who understands that respect goes both ways.
Sadly the Iowa Wild are now outside the OKC Barons’ West division and the two teams will only face each other on four occasions — in back-to-back games at the beginning of the season in Des Moines and in back-to-back games in OKC at the end of the season. With their move to Iowa the Wild now plays in the Midwest Division with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals.
|Sat. Oct. 12||OKC Barons @ Iowa Wild||7:05 pm CDT|
|Sun. Oct. 13||OKC Barons @ Iowa Wild||4:05 pm CDT|
|Fri. April 18||Iowa Wild @ OKC Barons||7:05 pm CDT|
|Sat. April 19||Iowa Wild @ OKC Barons||7:05 pm CDT|
Some of the Iowa Wild players you might recall from last season’s Houston Aeros:
- G – Darcy Kuemper
- D – Corbin Baldwin
- D – Brian Connelly
- D – Tyler Cuma
- D – Steven Kampfer
- D – Kyle Medvec
- F – Brett Bulmer
- F – Jake Dowell
- F – Kris Foucault
- F – Erik Haula
- F – Carson McMillan
- F – Zack Phillips
- F – Chad Rau
- F – Jason Zucker
Over the season I will be watching Kleinendorst’s team closely — even if I have to return to Des Moines to make it happen! And let’s face it, those Iowa Wild throw-back jerseys are awesome! And if you are dreaming about collecting a one-of-a-kind Iowa Wild opening weekend jersey for a good cause, here’s your chance! The team will auction their weekend jerseys to help veterans with ALS:
“Studies have shown that military personnel are 60 percent more likely to develop ALS — known more commonly as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — than those without service experience. That still-being-studied link is a reason the Iowa Wild and the ALS Association’s Iowa chapter are partnering for the team’s opening weekend. Game-worn jerseys from Saturday and Sunday with a special patch commemorating the team’s debut season will be auctioned off.” — via DesMoinesRegister.com.
Well, done, Wild! See you this weekend!