A new hockey team plans to skate into the Oklahoma City metro. The Blazers Ice Centre will be their new home.
The soon-to-be called Oklahoma Warriors are comprised of players 16 to 21 years old. Right now, they're in the middle of a playoff push and hope to defend their first Robertson Cup on their new home ice.
"It's really a program where kids get NCAA scholarships out of,” Warriors owner Mary Anne Choi said.
Right now, the Oklahoma Warriors are still in Wichita Falls. They'll make the move to the Blazers Ice Centre after the season.
"There's been a good hockey following here with professional team that was here 10 years ago," Warriors head coach Garrett Roth said.
Team officials said even if someone didn't follow the Blazers or Barons, there's room for them, too.
"I don't care if they don't know the hockey rules because that's hard to follow, if you don't really know the sport,” Choi said. “But if they had a great time. I want everyone to leave saying, ‘Wow, that was the best fun I've ever had in any sporting event.’”
Choi said the team plans to install a video board for in-game promotions and activities. The rink seats around 1,200 fans.
One big distinction between the previous pro teams that have called Oklahoma City home and the incoming team.
The Warriors are a juniors team, which are players will rely on some in the hockey community to open their doors to become host or "billet families."
"Because they're not professional, they don't get their own apartments or anything, so we build relationships with the community that way,” Choi said. “These families can get really attached, and they follow them through their college into their pro years. And not everyone makes it to the NHL, like in life, but to see that happen.”
The North American Hockey League has more than 80 alumni wearing NHL sweaters right now. Nearly 300 players in the league, and around 15 on the Warriors are currently committed to NCAA Division I schools.
Team officials said no matter what level of hockey is played, there's nothing like a good-goal celly.
"The only time you can throw something on the ice,” Choi said. “We let them do it when we score a goal. I don't know how we ended up with ducks, but it's like our thing,”
If you want to find out more about becoming a host family or to become a gameday volunteer, email OKWARRIORSSOCIAL@GMAIL.COM