The Chicago Wolves submitted their official Opening Night roster to the American Hockey League on Thursday, which means it will feature 28 players when the club begins its 24th season against the Texas Stars at 7:30 p.m. Friday at HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas.
Chicago begins defending its Central Division title with eight players who saw National Hockey League action last season: forwards Beau Bennett, Brandon Pirri, Teemu Pulkkinen, Paul Thompson, Alex Tuch and T.J. Tynan as well as defensemen Petteri Lindbohm and Shea Theodore.
Eight players will also be returning to the Wolves: forwards Conner Bleackley, Bryce Gervais, Mackenzie MacEachern, Brett Sterling and Scooter Vaughan; defensemen Petteri Lindbohm and Jake Walman and goaltender Jordan Binnington.
A pair of Western Hockey League graduates — forward Keegan Kolesar and defenseman Dmitry Osipov — will make their professional debuts this season while right wing Tomas Hyka will make his North American debut.
The Opening Night roster is as follows:
Forwards (17): Beau Bennett, Conner Bleackley, Mackenzie MacEachern, Bryce Gervais, Tomas Hyka, Keegan Kolesar, Stefan Matteau, Brandon Pirri, Teemu Pulkkinen, Vadim Shipachyov, Brett Sterling, Paul Thompson, Brock Trotter, Alex Tuch, T.J. Tynan, Scooter Vaughan and Tyler Wong.
Defensemen (8): Jake Bischoff, Chris Casto, Curtis Leonard, Petteri Lindbohm, Kenney Morrison, Dmitry Osipov, Shea Theodore and Jake Walman.
Goaltenders (3): Jordan Binnington, Oscar Dansk, Maxime Lagace.
Chicago completed its preseason roster moves by signing Curtis and Sterling to professional tryout contracts and receiving Pirri on loan from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Sterling returns to the Wolves as the AHL’s leading active goal-scorer with 235 tallies while Pirri – the 2012-13 AHL scoring champion with 75 points (22G, 53A) in 76 games – joins the fold after signing a one-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. Curtis joins the Wolves’ defense corps with 122 ECHL games under his belt.
The Wolves celebrate the beginning of the 82nd AHL season with a free tailgate party from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, prior to the team’s 7 p.m home opener against the Ontario Reign. The party in Allstate Arena’s West Lot will feature live music, free food and drink, face-painting, games and much more.