Puck Drop Set On New Wolves Season


The Chicago Wolves have enjoyed nothing but winning seasons since they made their professional hockey debut in 1994 at Allstate Arena.

But simply winning more games than they lose is never the goal for the Wolves. The four-time league champions play to be the final team standing at the end of the year and the 2015-16 season will be no different.

The Wolves open their 22nd season at 7 p.m. Saturday when they host the Milwaukee Admirals in in Rosemont. The team will celebrate by throwing a free tailgate party for the fans from 2 to 6 p.m. in Allstate Arena’s West Lot, but then they will get down to the business of claiming the 2016 Calder Cup.

“We should be really good,” said Wolves General Manager Wendell Young, who has built three division champions during his six years at the helm. “Everyone is excited about what’s going on, about the players that are coming to the organization.”

The Wolves have ranked among the American Hockey League’s finest defensive teams in recent years a trend that will continue this season. Jordan Binnington, the team’s primary goaltender last season, and newcomer Pheonix Copley give Chicago an excellent 1-2 combo in the net.

Binnington capped last year with a terrific showing in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 2.16 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. Copley, while playing for the AHL’s Hershey Bears, posted a 17-4-3 record during the regular season with a 2.17 GAA and .925 save percentage.

The Wolves are loaded defensively as well with NHL veterans Peter Harrold and Andre Benoit guiding a group that should feature at least two Wolves returnees Joel Edmundson, Petteri Lindbohm and Colton Parayko are in the mix there along with two high-profile rookies in Jordan Schmaltz and Tommy Vannelli.

The forwards feature two of last year’s top scorers in centers Pat Cannone (14 goals, 33 assists) and Jeremy Welsh (20 goals, 21 assists). The Wolves have added proven AHL point-producers in Danny Kristo, Zach O’Brien and Evan Trupp while welcoming standout prospects such as 19-year-old center Ivan Barbashev. He scored 45 goals in 57 games last year for Moncton in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

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