IceHogs prepare for season opener in Manitoba

After the doubleheader in Canada, The Hogs will have their home opener Saturday, October 22 against Chicago
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With the season now days away, the IceHogs have their expectations set for what they want to accomplish in the 2022-23 campaign. Head Coach Anders Sorensen continues to emphasize player development.

“We want to make sure we’re developing our guys the right way to make sure they’re ready to play in the NHL, we want to make a winning culture down here so when the guys do come up they’re used to winning and that’s really what we’re focused on,” Sorensen said.

In terms of specifics, the Swede is looking to cultivate speed on the roster.

“We have a lot of players that have the pace and tempo to play at, we kind of want to play a face paced game and I think we have some skill and I think we’re going to utilize that to the best of our potential here,” Sorensen said.

Players understand the need for speed as well as they look to make it to Chicago.

“The game is super fast especially up there when you’re with the Blackhawks and when you watch all the best goalies in the NHL they’re so fast,” Arvid Soderblom said.

Among the top of numerous Blackhawks prospect lists is 20-year-old Lukas Reichel, who is set to begin his sophomore year with the Hogs. His biggest development in the offseason has been with his strength.

“I was struggling a little bit in the corners and had to get stronger, I’ve worked hard in the summer in Chicago too and the focus was to keep my speed and everything, that’s my game and I think we did a good job,” Reichel said.

While the team largely remains young, the team added experience with players like Dylan Sikura, who enters his second stint with the Blackhawks organization after spending time in the Avalanche and Golden Knights organizations.

“I came back to Chicago because I think that there’s an opportunity here and it’s good to know the coaching staff and feel comfortable with that and everyone here is fighting for a spot whether they’ve played 50-60 games or they’re trying to crack for the first time I think everyone’s pretty hungry and that kind of drives the team down here, we don’t want people to be complacent, we want to get better every day,” Sikura said.

Although Sorensen has noticed growth amongst his returning youngsters.

“A lot of those young guys that were here last year look more mature, some of them actually have facial hair now and stuff like that,” Sorensen said.