The season hasn’t yet started but anticipation is already building for the Stettler Imperials’ second season.
With a 16-game schedule lined up, thanks to the addition of two new teams in the East Central Senior Men’s Hockey League, Forestburg and Hughendon, the Imperials will get a chance to perform in front of the home fans in eight of the games.
Building on the success of last year, the team is again partnering with local groups to handle the 50-50 ticket sales at all of its home games in the Stettler Recreation Centre (SRC). Going along with the groups running the raffle, each of the team’s home games will have themes to go along with them.
According to board president Ryan Koehli, the first three home nights have already been picked with the Erskine Recreation Board handling the 50-50 at the home-opener, followed by a first-responder night held on Nov. 5, with the draw being run by members of Stettler Regional Fire Rescue.
After a three game road trip where the team will take on the Forestburg Flyers, Provost Combines and Sedgewick Sabres, the team will be back on home ice on Dec. 3 for Minor Hockey Night.
Decisions on who will run the 50-50s later in season are yet to be made, and different community groups are still welcome to apply.
Another addition being added to team home games is a “Shoot-to-Win” competition sponsored by local businesses.
Koehli says that the every person in attendance at a home game will have an opportunity to be drawn for an opportunity to shoot the puck from the far blue line into the goal for a chance to win $20,000.
One person will have the opportunity to shoot during the second period of every home game.
As for players and coaching, Koehli says there is some turnover in players with eight new faces joining the team after others have moved on.
Still, even with team members leaving in the offseason, the team will be fielding a full squad of 26 players, including goalies for the 2022-2023 season.
Remaining as coach this season is Kent Hoopfer, with Mike Tucker and Koehli acting as assistant coaches.
The team has been having a late practice at the SRC one night a week, which, according to Koehli, are going well.
“We’re looking forward to getting the year going.”
The team, and the fans, got the season off with a bang, with a nail-biter of a home-opener versus the Oyen Eagles.
Regular time was not enough to finish the game, and it actually had to be decided in the shootout, with the Imperials grounding the Eagles with a tight score of 8 to 7.
Hometown Productions and Media live-streamed the game on YouTube, and will be doing so will all home games this season. New features this season will also include player interviews and highlight reels post game.
Game tickets or season passes for the Stettler Imperials home games can be purchased at the Stettler Independent, Napa Autoparts, Wells Furniture or Royal Lepage.