Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the organization begins its 28th season.
WOLVES EAGER TO START SEASON
After more than 19 months away from Allstate Arena — 587 days, to be exact — the Chicago Wolves are primed to return to their home ice for American Hockey League action. The Wolves open their 28th season at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, when they host the Rockford IceHogs in Rosemont. The first 3,500 fans inside the doors for Opening Night, presented by Turtle Wax, receive a Wolves Static Cling Schedule.
Second-year head coach Ryan Warsofsky welcomes back a healthy chunk of the roster that led the AHL’s Central Division from start to finish last season. Top goal-scorer David Cotton (14 goals in 26 games), all-Central Division goaltender Beck Warm (8-4-1, 2.74 goals-against average, .914 save percentage) and top defensemen Joey Keane, Max Lajoie and Cavan Fitzgerald all return.
In addition, the Wolves have added a strong cast of veterans whose resumes are filled with AHL excellence and NHL experience. Center Andrew Poturalski won the AHL’s scoring title last year as he racked up 9 goals and 34 assists in 44 games for the San Diego Gulls. Poturalski is one of nine newcomers on the current Wolves roster who have seen NHL action — joining forwards Maxim Letunov, Stefan Noesen and C.J. Smith, defensemen Daniel Brickley, Jalen Chatfield, Eric Gelinas and Josh Jacobs and goaltender Alex Lyon.
“I think we have a little bit of everything,” Warsofsky said. “We have some young players who are going to be able to contribute from Night 1. Then we’re going to have way more experience than we had last year. On our back end, we don’t say we have a No. 1 defenseman. I think we have 1 through 6-7-8. The competition will sort itself out.
“Now it’s up to us as coaches to get us to play together as a team. That’s going to be the biggest thing from Day 1.”
ADOPT-A-DOG NIGHTS ARE BACK!
Since 2001, the Chicago Wolves and team owner Don Levin have been ardent supporters of dog adoption. The Wolves will celebrate their 20th year of helping lovable dogs find forever homes with seven Adopt-A-Dog Nights this season — one Saturday night each month during the 2021-22 season.
The first Adopt-A-Dog Night, presented by Premier Veterinary Group, will be Saturday, Oct. 16, in Allstate Arena’s South Lobby. More than 1,500 dogs have been adopted through this unique program. To learn more, click here.
WOMEN JOIN AHL’S OFFICIATING RANKS
The American Hockey League has hired 10 women — seven referees and three linespersons — to officiate games this season. According to a report on ESPN.com, Katie Guay will serve as a referee for Saturday’s opener between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms — making her the first woman to officiate an AHL or NHL game. The full report is here.
Goaltender Alex Lyon was loaned to the Wolves on Sunday after spending training camp with the Carolina Hurricanes. The 28-year-old Baudette, Minnesota, native appeared in 22 games for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers over the last four years and the Yale University alum also has excelled for the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The 23-year-old from Quebec City, Quebec, was the Wolves’ top-scoring defenseman last season with 6 goals and 15 assists in 27 games. After Chicago’s season ended, the Carolina Hurricanes added Lajoie to their roster and he competed in a pair of Stanley Cup Playoff games. Lajoie also played 56 games for the Ottawa Senators in 2018-19.
The 28-year-old Noesen made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2014-15 season and has scored 31 goals in 205 NHL regular-season appearances. The 2011 first-round draft pick from Plano, Texas, split last season between Toronto’s AHL and NHL teams and San Jose’s NHL and AHL squads.
EXHIBITION REWIND (1-1-0-0)
- Rookie forward Blake Murray broke a 3-3 tie as he scored with 2:30 remaining in regulation to lift the Wolves to the exhibition win at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates.
- Left wing Sam Miletic posted two goals, center Andruw Poturalski recorded two assists and an empty-net goal and defenseman Josh Jacobs scored the other goal.
- Goaltender Eetu Makiniemi rejected 20 shots to pick up the win.
- The Wolves scored three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second period, but the Admirals responded with five consecutive goals in the next 10 minutes of exhibition play at Panther Arena.
- Forwards Terry Broadhurst, Blake Murray and Stelio Mattheos scored to stake the Wolves to the 3-0 lead. Murray also added an assist.
- Starting goaltender Beck Warm posted 15 saves in 40 minutes while Dylan Wells rejected all eight shots he faced in the third.
FIRST FIVE GAMES
|Saturday, Oct. 16||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Friday, Oct. 22||at Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Panther Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Oct. 23||vs. Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27||at Grand Rapids||6 p.m.||Van Andel Arena||AHLTV|
|Friday, Oct. 29||at Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Panther Arena||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.