By Doug Halberstadt
Thirty-five years ago, the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy had a huge hit with the song “The Boys are Back in Town.” More than likely, you’ll be able to hear that song this Saturday night, Oct. 8, at the BMO Harris Bank Center. No, Thin Lizzy is not in town. However, it’s certain the arena will definitely be rockin’. That’s because the Rockford IceHogs open up their 2011 season at home against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
This year, the ’Hogs will begin their fourth season as the American Hockey League affiliate of the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. This season will also mark the 12th straight year Rockford has had a professional hockey team. The IceHogs, as members of the United Hockey League, played their first game Oct. 15, 1999, against the Knoxville Speed at the Rockford MetroCentre.
The puck will drop on the new season at 7:05 p.m. Fans wanting to get a head start on the opening night festivities are invited to Davis Park for the 31st annual Chili Shootout and pre-game tailgate party. The gates open at noon for the Chili Shootout. Admission to the shootout and tailgate party is $5 with a canned good donation for the Rock River Valley Food Pantry and $7 without a donation.
The ’Hogs will follow up Saturday night’s home-opener with a Sunday afternoon (Oct. 9) game on the road. They will face off against the Rivermen in Peoria at 5 p.m.
In case you can’t make it to the ’Hogs’ home-opener, the boys will be back in town again in a couple of weeks. Their next home game is Saturday, Oct. 22, against one of their biggest rivals, the Chicago Wolves.
Ticket prices and information for any of this season’s home games are available at www.icehogs.com or by calling a ticket representative at (815) 847-6399.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 5-11, 2011, issue