Wolves open Saturday at home against Rockford
After having to go 19 months without playing in front of their fans at Allstate Arena, the Chicago Wolves get back to normal with Saturday's opener against the Rockford IceHogs at 7 p.m. in Rosemont.
Second-year head coach Ryan Warsofsky pilots a squad loaded with top prospects and proven veterans as the Wolves shoot for their fifth Central Division title since 2017 and their fifth league championship since being founded in 1994.
The Wolves revealed their 26-man roster Thursday.
"From the coaching staff to the players to the support staff to the front office, I think everyone's excited," Warsofsky said. "It's been a lot of work to get back in front of our fans and I'm excited to get behind the bench and hopefully put a good product on the ice. Everyone can't wait for Saturday night."
Expectations are high as Warsofsky welcomes back 10 players who helped the Wolves capture last year's Central Division title -- a group highlighted by top goal-scorer David Cotton (14 goals in 26 games), Central Division All-Star goaltender Beck Warm, top defensemen Cavan Fitzgerald, Joey Keane and Max Lajoie and NHL first-round selections Dominik Bokk and Ryan Suzuki.
The Wolves' roster also features an infusion of talented veterans who give the team 11 players with NHL experience. The list of newcomers includes 2021 AHL scoring champion Andrew Poturalski (43 points in 44 games), forwards Josh Leivo and Stefan Noesen, defensemen Jalen Chatfield and Eric Gelinas and goaltender Alex Lyon.
"I think we have a really deep team," Warsofsky said. "What I like is we have competition. We have competition to be in the lineup and we have competition for ice time. Competition (makes you) rise to the top. We have a little bit of everything."
The Wolves also feature three players with Chicago roots: 27-year-old forward David Gust grew up in Orland Park, the 22-year-old Keane grew up in Homer Glen and 20-year-old rookie center Jack Drury was born in Wilmette and played for the Chicago Mission before leaving the state to play junior hockey and to attend Harvard. If the highly touted Drury plays in Saturday's opener, he and his father, Ted, will join Chris and Jake Chelios as the only father-son tandems in Wolves history.