Blues (and especially Craig Berube) will have some fans in Wichita

Wichita is webhosting its first NHL recreation ever Saturday when the Blues and the Arizona Coyotes open preseason play in a 7 p.m. contest at INTRUST Bank Arena.

And no person in town of 390,000 in south-central Kansas is extra excited than Joel Lomurno. He’s normal supervisor of the Wichita Thunder hockey crew of the ECHL, which helps to offer Saturday’s recreation. More importantly, he’s from the Philadelphia house and performed school hockey at La Salle University in the past due Nineteen Eighties, early ’90s — a time when younger Craig Berube used to be enjoying for the Flyers.

“Literally my idol,” Lomurno mentioned. “My hair, my nickname, my number was Craig Berube. I was the ‘Chief.’ I wore No. 17. Had the long hair like him. He was my boy.”

Berube’s jersey quantity with the Flyers used to be 17.

“In fact, I had a men’s league game (Monday) night in my jersey No. 17,” Lomurno mentioned. “My wife actually framed a Berube jersey for me about five years ago, in my office. I’m a big fan. I’ve got all his cards and (several) Berube jerseys. I wish hockey was still played like the Chief. He was tough. Tough as they come.”

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One approach or any other, Lomurno plans on assembly Berube previous to Saturday’s recreation.

“We’ll see when I get there if I can be introduced to him,” mentioned Berube, who used to be, uh, amused to listen to about his fan in Wichita. “That’s great. It’s a nice to have fans, man. When I played I didn’t have a lot of them.”

But Lomurno received’t be the one Blues fan at INTRUST on Saturday. There is a tight Blues following in Wichita.

“I think they’ll find there are a lot of Blues fans here in town,” Lomurno mentioned.

A crowd of 8,000 to ten,000 is predicted at INTRUST, which seats 13,000. Wichita has been seeking to get an NHL preseason recreation for years with out good fortune.

“We even had it written into our contract with Edmonton that we would discuss the possibility of having an NHL game here every season,” Lomurno mentioned.

It by no means labored out, principally as a result of Edmonton didn’t need to surrender the gate from a house preseason recreation, in step with Lomurno. For the former 5 years, the Thunder used to be Edmonton’s ECHL associate. This 12 months the Thunder’s ECHL associate is the San Jose Sharks.

St. Louis Blues trainer Craig Berube on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, mentioned the crew’s first preseason recreation towards the Arizona Coyotes in Wichita, Kan. Video courtesy of the St. Louis Blues.

Getting this 12 months’s recreation used to be very much aided when an area Wichita promoter — G1 Sports & Entertainment — were given concerned. Also, the Arizona Coyotes, technically the house crew, can’t play any preseason video games in the Phoenix house whilst development is completed on their new stadium — smartly, the stadium they will percentage with the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The Wichita recreation has been dubbed the “Frozen Faceoff.” There will be song, and inflatables for the youngsters to play on outdoor the sector prior to the sport. Wichita local Chris Mann, a finalist on “The Voice” tv display in 2012, will sing the National Anthem.

There will be promotions and giveaways all over timeouts and between classes. And mascots from the Wichita Thunder, Wichita State Shockers and Arizona Coyotes will roam the stands.

The thought is to position on any such excellent display, that the NHL desires to come back again to Wichita. And the fans need to come again to look at the NHL.

“I think there’s excitement here,” Lomurna mentioned. “It’s the first ever time for an NHL game in Wichita. I think the guys are gonna love it because the arena is phenomenal. It’s NHL-like, so I think they’ll really like the setup when they get here.”

St. Louis Blue notes

Berube mentioned the Blues get a have a look at a large number of younger avid gamers in Saturday’s recreation. He didn’t specify names, however Jake Neighbours, Anthony Bolduc and Scott Perunovich are anticipated to be in the sport crew.

All 3 preseason house video games at Enterprise Center will be streamed survive the Bally Sports app and Sept. 29 towards Columbus, Oct. 4 towards Minnesota, and Oct. 8 towards Chicago. Each contest begins at 7 p.m.

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