We sensed our 25th anniversary season would turn out to be special. But the way our coaches and players have bonded together on this bumpy road to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals has made this ride more incredible than we dared to dream.
To put this remarkable journey into perspective, we have put together 25 moments from our 25th anniversary season – both good and unfortunate – that help to explain why we’re here.
We’ll reveal five each day (in chronological order) leading up to Game 1 of the 2019 Calder Cup Finals at 5 p.m. Saturday in Charlotte.
AUG. 13: PARTY ON THE MAGNIFICENT MILE
To kick off the 25th anniversary celebration and introduce the team’s #LastTeamStanding motto, the Wolves held a day-long celebration on Pioneer Court between Tribune Tower and the Michigan Avenue bridge.
More than 20 of the Wolves’ greatest players flew in from all over North America to join thousands of fans and intrigued passersby for the fun. After a special dinner at the Chicago Sports Museum at Water Tower Place, everyone returned after dark to witness a sneak preview of the team’s new pregame show conceived by world-renowned special effects company Strictly FX.
OCT. 5: BRANNWAGON GETS IT ROLLING
Rookie defenseman Erik Brannstrom, a Vegas Golden Knights first-round pick in 2017, joined our team with high expectations attached to his name due to his sterling preseason play for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
Nicknamed “Brannwagon” by excited Vegas fans, the 19-year-old from Sweden wasted little time showcasing his skills. In the 2018-19 season opener at Colorado, he scored the first goal of the season and then delivered this overtime snipe to deliver a 3-2 victory. Not bad for his North American professional hockey debut.
OCT. 13: THE MACEK LEGEND BEGINS
The Wolves’ home opener got off to a great start as Wolves all-time leading scorer Steve Maltais and his son performed the ceremonial puck drop. Then right wing Brooks Macek, playing his first year of North American professional hockey after spending five seasons in Germany, introduced himself to the Wolves faithful with a hat trick in a 5-1 victory over Grand Rapids.
That triggered a ridiculous run where Macek scored 14 goals in 11 games – a Maltais-esque spree – and needed only 25 shots on goal to accomplish it.
OCT. 24: QUINNEY’S TURN FOR A HATTIE
Less than two weeks into the season, the Wolves braintrust put Daniel Carr, Gage Quinney and Brooks Macek together on a line. The results were both immediate and magical. Before 8,217 fans on a Wednesday afternoon School-Day Game, Quinney stacked up three goals and Macek produced two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over Cleveland.
OCT. 26: “There’s jocks in the rafters here in Texas!”
There are many examples that reveal why Daniel Carr earned the American Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player award, but few of them are as flashy as this game-winning goal. Brandon Pirri delivers the pass that Carr turns into a 4-3 Wolves win at Texas.