Oct 152003
Authors: Justin Goldman

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

during intermissions.




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