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Tri-City Storm start fresh in 2009, new staff and new players look to rejuvinate squad
Jennifer Kardell
Antelope Staff
Photo by Jennifer Kardell
Carsen Chubak blocks a shot at practice for the Tri-City Storm.

After winning only 11 of their 60 games last season, the Tri-City Storm is looking to start new. The Storm has a bunch of new additions this year that will hopefully turn things around. New owner, Kirk Brooks, has made numerous changes to the arena and is very excited to give fans their team back. New coaches Drew Schoenek, Ryan Bencuric and Eric Fink plan to make changes in the defense, as well as making sure each player knows their responsibilities. 

"Some of the changes we are going to implement are our defensive responsibilities, making sure that each player knows what his responsibilities are away from the puck. We will work on different game strategies and systems that we will use and how to properly execute them," Schoenek said.

The Storm will have a lot of new faces this year. There are only four returning players, which include Radoslav Illo, Josh Berge, Rick Pinkston and Anthony DeCenzo. The team will be looking to them for leadership, however there are other returning players from other teams within the United States Hockey League.

As far as which players are the ones to watch, “We have a couple that people should be aware of," Schoenek said. "Jaden Schwartz, a player from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Radoslav Illo, a Slovakian returning player, Anthony DeCenzo and Josh Berge. As well, we have some good younger talent in Tucker Long and TJ Schlueter. However, I encourage people to come see and support all of the players,” 

With all of the new changes and additions to the team comes a new attitude that should make this season better than last. Spirits of staff, coaches, players and fans were on the down side after last season, but they should expect bigger and better things this year. 

Head Coach Schoenek is especially enthused about the upcoming season. “I just want the fans to know that we are going to put a product on the ice that they can rally behind. We will be a team that will work hard, win or lose, and be something that the great fans of the Tri-City area can be proud of,” Schoenek said.

The Tri-City will begin their season Sept. 11 with an exhibition game at home against former Storm head coach Bliss Littler and the Omaha Lancers. The Lancers will also return to Kearney for another exhibition game Sept. 18.  

Students are able to purchase tickets for a discounted rate of $5 by showing proper student identification, and the start time for both games is 7 p.m. at the Viaero Event Center. 

Be sure to check out the Storm’s official website for more information regarding the upcoming season, which will officially begin with a double header at home Oct. 9 and 10 against the Indiana Ice.


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