King, IceHogs look forward to upcoming season

The AHL Board of Governors announced a start date of February 5
Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 10:57 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - We can finally mark down on our calendars a start date for the upcoming IceHogs’ season. The American Hockey League Board of Governors announced earlier this week that the puck will drop on February 5. However, Rockford will be a different looking team and will have a different way of doing things.

The coronavirus pandemic has made life difficult for athletes alike, maybe even more so for minor league affiliates. The IceHogs can start planning for this coming season, but not with your typical core veterans. Guys like Jacob Nilsson, Ian McCoshen, and the Sikura brothers (Dylan and Tyler) will not be in Rockford next month.

”There’s an opportunity here for young guys,” said IceHogs head coach Derek King. “Guys that are just turning pro, waiting to get back on the ice with us and show us what they have, the prospects. It’s a great opportunity for these guys to play. I think every team is in that boat.”

With nearly a full year away from live game action, King said COVID-19 has made training that much more of a challenge.

“They work so hard to get ready for a regular season and then it’s delayed, and then it’s delayed even more” explained King. “You take breaks, you probably get in shape and out of shape a couple times before the season starts.”

When the Hogs do get back to the BMO Harris Bank Center, there will be new faces in the locker room and on the coaching staff. Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield joined the IceHogs as a player development coach. King said he has talked to her and knows she is excited to join the Blackhawks organization.

“We’re just adding to our development staff,” said King of Coyne Schofield. “That’s what we’re going to need. We’re going to need a lot of people around because the way we’re going to have to develop these guys, is to break it down into smaller groups, so we’re going to need the extra bodies. There’s an opportunity for her to get on the ice and help these guys out.”

While the framework for a season is in place, the details are still being worked out. But King said he will have his guys ready to go.

“The biggest thing with these kids coming in this year, when we get going, is maintaining it during the season and then really, really going to hone in on working on their individual skills, what they need to be worked on.”

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