The 2021-22 IceRays season opens on Wednesday as the team heads to Blaine for the 2021 NAHL Showcase. This will be the IceRays return to the ice after missing the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
The team will experience a lot of firsts this season as they look to compete for the Robertson Cup and South Division titles including their first time playing three in-division opponents, the Amarillo Wranglers (2021-22), El Paso Rhinos (2021-22), and Wichita Falls Warriors (2020-21) .
Wednesday, against Maryland, will be the first time that IceRays head coach Mike Lysyj has been the lead guy behind the bench for a junior team. Lysyj spent time as an assistant in NCAA D-III, NCAA D-I, WHL, and USHL before taking on this role with the team.
It will also be the first time that this group of IceRays hits the ice together. With only Aaron Hamel returning from the 2019-20 campaign, the team was built very carefully this offseason. There were multiple trades to bring in veterans from Northeast, Fairbanks, and Maryland. The team comes from all over the country stretching from California to Maine. The team has four imports on the roster, two Canadians and two Swedish players.
When the puck drops Wednesday, it will also be the first time that the IceRays have faced off against the Maryland Black Bears since their inception into the league in 2018. The game versus the Black Bears will also be an opportunity for IceRay forwards Jude Kurtas and Grady Friedman to face off against the team that traded them to Corpus Christi this summer.
The team will play four games total in Blaine as a part of the NAHL Showcase. After Maryland on Wednesday, the team will face off against the Minot Minotauros on Thursday, Bismarck Bobcats on Friday, and 2021 Robertson Cup runner-up Aberdeen Wings on Saturday afternoon.
The IceRays return home the following weekend to play host to the Lone Star Brahmas on September 24th and 25th. This series will reopen the gates at American Bank Center and start the 56-game south division slate. Single game tickets are on sale now at…