On Saturday, the Knoxville Ice Bears will begin their 2016-2017 season against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Face-off is at 7:30.
The Ice Bears return 14 players, including leading scorer Trever Hertz, as they look to bring Knoxville it’s fifth championship.
To ring in their 15th season in Knoxville, the Ice Bears updated several amenities in the Coliseum. Such improvements include the Shoney’s Kid Zone, which will now have floor hockey, inflatables and table hockey, new concessions, and more VIP boxes for those wishing to truly experience the Ice Bears.
On the ice, the Ice Bears will look to improve from their 2015-2016 season, which ended in a playoff loss to the Fayetteville Fire Antz.
“The bus ride back from Fayetteville was sickening. We’ve made some improvements,” said head coach Mike Craigen at the annual media day. “We got a little bit of everything this year.”
Those improvements include eight newcomers via free agency. The Ice Bears signed defensemen Brad Campagna and Frank Schumacher, forwards Kyle McNeil, Jake Rivera Adam Stuart and Mitchell Vandergunst, and goalies Charles Grant and Nick Kohn. Half of the newcomers are rookies in professional hockey.
To pump up Saturday’s season and home-opener, the Knoxville Ice Bears are bringing in the Zooperstars. The Zooperstars are a mascot-comedy group that provides family entertainment at sporting events. With the inclusion of the Shoney’s Kid Zone, the Ice Bears are presenting a true family-night experience.
For more information on the Ice Bears tickets and events, visit knoxvilleicebears.com or call their box office at 865-525-7825.