The Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League begin their
inaugural season Friday night against the Tulsa Oilers. The puck
drops at 7:05 p.m. at the Budweiser Events Center. The event marks
the first regular season home game ever for the Eagles
The Eagles have taken steps in the right direction in Northern
Colorado after a weekend of preseason victories against their
division rivals, the Oklahoma City Blazers.
Apart from coaching his first game, Eagles’ head coach Chris
Stewart faces the tough task of making cuts to narrow the 28-man
training camp roster to the league required 18-man roster.
“It’s going to be tough to cut this team down,” Stewart said.
“We have a lot of skill, speed and aggressive players on our
Stewart cut five players on Tuesday: right winger Dan
Gilbertson, rookie center Colen Pappas, forward Joey Bouvier,
defenseman Kevin Chabbert and rookie goalie Brian Rogers. Stewart
will make five more cuts on Thursday.
“Even though these decisions are extremely difficult to make, it
is a great position for a team to be in,” Stewart said on his
weekly radio show.
The Colorado Eagles are holding 32 home games in their expansion
season at the “Bud Barn” and have sold out of all 4,300 season
ticket packages. Friday night’s opener against the Oilers is
already sold out.
Some of the Eagles’ players Northern Colorado will become
familiar with are Karlis Zirnis, a speedy, gritty forward from
Latvia; assistant coach and forward Phil Crowe, who has three years
of NHL experience; defenseman Brent Thompson; and goalies Ryan Bach
and Gain Baldrica, graduates of the NCAA-Division I hockey club,
Colorado College Tigers.
“We have a few fighters, a few scorers and, most of all, two
solid goaltenders,” said equipment manager Tony Deynzer. “It should
be quite entertaining (on Friday).”
Larimer County and Budweiser will show their appreciation to
Northern Colorado hockey fans by giving away glass mugs to the
first 3,000 fans to attend Friday’s game. To complement the mugs,
the event organizers will provide fans with the opportunity to
enjoy beer born on that very day, as Budweiser has agreed to ship
bottles directly from their factory to the Events Center for
opening night only.
Fans in attendance should also keep their eyes open for the
Eagles Chicks – a new dance team that will performs at home games