Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Are You Really Winning?: The weekly report that gives you an inside look at the latest Chicago Wolves news and happenings. Look for a new edition of Wolves Insider each week.
ZACH JORDAN’S journey to the wolves
Talk about a whirlwind couple of days.
On Monday morning, Zach Jordan was a member of the IceHogs, getting ready for a team meeting when he got called into the coaches’ office and told he had been traded. That evening, he was on a plane (Air Jordan?) while as a member of the Wolves.
“That was a hectic 36 hours,” Jordan said. “I didn’t really expect to be traded and was a little taken aback but I’m excited for the opportunity and looking forward to getting to know the guys more and being a contributing factor for the team.”
Jordan was paired on a line with center Josh Melnick and fellow winger Nathan Sucese against the Wild and the trio cashed in when Sucese scored in the second period off assists from his linemates.
“I was trying to take each thing one step at a time and not get too overwhelmed with it all because I knew if I started thinking too many things at once it just wasn’t going to go well,” Jordan said. “I tried to settle my mind right off the hop. Melnick and Sucese were very helpful in letting me know things and keeping me in check to make sure I was staying within the system.”
The 27-year-old from Collinsville, Ill., described his playing style as, “I play a solid North-South game, being good defensively and then getting to the dirty areas in the offensive zone and trying to make plays happen from there.”
While being traded is a disruption to a player’s career, Jordan said the short distance between Rockford and Chicago helped.
“When they said I was going to Chicago I was very grateful for that,” Jordan said. “It made the transition a lot easier just being so close.”
Jordan had a goal in five games with the IceHogs this season and will see his former teammates when they face the Wolves on Sunday at Allstate Arena.
“It’s tough to be playing them as a rival now but I’m looking forward to being able to see those guys and play against them,” he said. “Whenever I get to take the ice for a game I always look at it as an opportunity to put the best foot forward and try to show my best abilities out there and contribute any way I can.”
SEND ‘EM SOARING
Melnick was on the ice last season when former Wolves teammate William Lagesson scored the goal that brought teddy bears soaring from the Allstate Arena stands.
On Saturday night against the Texas Stars, Melnick and the rest of the Wolves will have an opportunity to be the one who brings on the stuffed animals during the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss, supported by Professional Bull Riders.
When the Wolves score their first goal of the game—or during the second intermission if they haven’t yet scored—fans will shower the Allstate Arena ice with teddy bears that will then be collected and donated to those in need. Fans are encouraged to bring their own stuffed animals to donate or purchase a ticket package that includes a teddy bear to be tossed.
“It was cool,” said defenseman and Chicago native Alex Green, who is in his second with the Wolves, said of last season’s toss. “It was a great turnout for that game and it was fun to see how much support we got from the fans. I’m looking forward to it again this year.”
Green and his teammates are also looking forward to being the player who lights the lamp first.
“It would be nice if it was me, but I’ll put my money on Chris Terry or one of the older guys who get paid to score,” said Green, who has one goal this season.
Said Melnick: “We’re always trying to score but that one makes it something a little more fun to see who is going to get the bears thrown.”
IMPACT PLAY OF THE WEEK
Wolves forward Rocco Grimaldi buried this shot from the top of the right circle to complete the hat trick during Saturday night’s game against the Stars in Texas.
REPUBLIC BANK SAVE OF THE WEEK
During Tuesday night’s contest against the Wild, Adam Scheel stoned Iowa’s Vinni Lettieri with this brilliant save to help the Wolves secure a point in the 4-3 shootout loss.
C.D.E. COLLISION CENTERS’ COLLISION OF THE WEEK
Wolves defenseman Alex Green sent the Stars’ Mavrik Bourque flying with this one-handed shove Saturday night in Texas.
Weekly rewind (0-2-0-1)
FRIDAY, DEC. 8
Stars 5, Wolves 2: Ryan Wagner scored two goals but the Wolves came up short in the first of back-to-back games at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
SATURDAY, DEC. 9
Stars 8, Wolves 5: Rocco Grimaldi scored three power-play goals, Kyle Marino and Alex Green each had their first tallies of the season and Matt Donovan chipped in three assists but it wasn’t enough as the Wolves fell.
TUESDAY, DEC. 12
Wild 4, Wolves 3 (SO): Vasily Ponomarev had a goal and an assist and Rocco Grimaldi and Nathan Sucese also scored to help the Wolves secure a point in the shootout defeat.
First Star of the Week
RYAN WAGNER, F
The 27-year-old from Park Ridge had two goals and two assists during the week. For the season, Wagner has three goals and five points in 16 games.
Where we stand
5-13-1-2, seventh in the Central Division.
|Saturday, Dec. 16
|Sunday, Dec. 17
|Tuesday, Dec. 19
|Saturday, Dec. 23
|Wednesday, Dec. 27
|UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
HELP SAVE LIVES
The drive will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Allstate Arena Skyline Room prior to the Wolves’ game against the Texas Stars, giving fans the perfect opportunity to help their community before enjoying an evening of exciting hockey.
All donors will receive two complimentary tickets to a future Wolves game during the 2023-24 season, a limited-edition Vitalant/Chicago Wolves T-shirt and a Wolves hat as well as being entered into a drawing to win an autographed Wolves jersey.
Learn more and schedule an appointment at vitalant.org/wolves.
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2023-24 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.