New Hockey Team to Bring Athletes Home -- Eventually

By Skrabacz, Ron | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 4, 1997 | Go to article overview

New Hockey Team to Bring Athletes Home -- Eventually


Skrabacz, Ron, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Ron Skrabacz Daily Herald Correspondent

Although the season starts Sept. 19, local fans will have to wait until Nov. 14 to catch a glimpse of the new Chicago Freeze on their home ice at the Fox Valley Ice Arena.

Damage from severe winds pushed the construction of the new facility on Kirk Road in Geneva nearly six weeks behind schedule. That forced a season-opening 14-game road trip for the North American Hockey League junior team.

Head coach Guy Perron, 31, takes the schedule changes in stride and believes some good can come out of it.

"The other coaches and teams were very helpful in setting up our first 14 games on the road," Perron said. "We would have rather played eight games on the road to begin with, but you've got to look at it in a positive way. By the time we're done we're going to then be at home a little while, too."

The Freeze played in Detroit last season before being bought in January by Huron Hockey Inc. and moved to Fox Valley. Only five players from the 1996-97 Detroit-based squad are with the team, leaving 19 new players to fill out the roster.

There are 11 Chicago-area players on the roster, including defenseman John Deck, who graduated from Naperville Central last spring; center Tony Kolozsy from Rolling Meadows, who played at Western Michigan and University of Illinois-Chicago; Chris Knupp of Crystal Lake; and Brian Belisle of Plainfield, who played for the Sabres AA Midget squad last year. Downers Grove South standout Anthony Demola also may play for the Freeze this season.

Other players are from areas such as New York, Ohio, Massachusetts and Poland.

The NAHL allows players ages 16 to 20 to play. Perron said the road trip can be beneficial for all of his team's younger members.

"It's another way to bring the team together and really bring the young players to a different level," he said. "That means going on the road and not being liked by too many fans."

After the road games the Freeze return home for nine consecutive games. Perron and director of operations Fred Pletsch are hoping for some strong fan support at the 3,000-seat arena during that stretch. …

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