History will be made on September 12th at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN. The Brookings Blizzard will begin their inaugural season against the Johnstown Tomahawks at the Combat Hockey NAHL Showcase Tournament. The Showcase is a four-day event featuring all 24 teams in the North American Hockey League. Teams will travel to Minnesota from as far away as Alaska, Washington, Texas and New York to play four regular season games against cross division opponents. The Blizzard do not play any other cross division games this season, which means this will be their only chance to see how they stack up against other teams in the league.
It will be the first ever game for both the Brookings Blizzard and the Tomahawks. The Blizzard are also scheduled to play the Springfield Jr. Blues on Thursday the 13th at 8:00pm, the Soo Eagles on Friday the 14th at 8:00pm, and the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday the 15th at 6:45pm. The Soo Eagles, from Sault Ste. Marie, MI, will also be playing their first games as members of the NAHL, transitioning from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League where they played in the past four seasons.
The Showcase will be the first chance new Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin will get to see the team play in a live game setting. He will have about three weeks of practice time with the team leading up to the games in Blaine after players report the first week of September. Laylin is entering his first season as head coach of the Blizzard and is inheriting a team that has set franchise records in win the last three seasons, finishing second in the division last year and winning the division in 2010-2011. The Blizzard have played in Alexandria, MN the past nine season before relocating to Brookings.
“I am really excited about the guys we have coming back,” said Laylin. “We have a veteran group that knows the league and we have brought in some new guys that are really going to make a difference.”
Opening night for the Blizzard is scheduled for Friday, September 28th at the Larson Ice Center. The home opener will be kicked off with a tailgate party for the fans outside of the Larson Ice Center before the game. The game is sponsored by Hy-Vee. Season tickets are on sale now, individual game tickets go on sale September 10th. Call (605) 592-9114.