Hey kids, I’m here with a reminder that hockey season is just around the corner. That means training camp for the Houston Aeros will be starting this week, probably on Wednesday. And their training facility, once again, will be in Sugar Land.
Kevin Constantine will be returning for his second season as the head coach of the Aeros. The former head coach of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Pirates and New Jersey Devils led a team lacking in offensive talent into the playoffs last season. And his assistants, Troy Ward and Luke Strand, will also be returning behind the bench.
The Aeros, who are going into their 15th season, will have a new play-by-play announcer as last year’s announcer, Jason Shaver, has left to handle broadcasting duties for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. His replacement is Joe O’Donnell, so make sure to welcome him and play nice.
The regular season will open on Friday, October 11, at Toyota Center, where the Aeros will host the Chicago Wolves. And while Constantine and his staff are returning, some more familiar names will not. Defenseman Erik Reitz has an NHL-only contract with the Minnesota Wild. Forward Joel Ward was traded to the Nashville organization, and he will probably spend at least part of the season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. Forward Steve Kelly will be part of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. And defenseman Shawn Belle was traded to the Montreal Canadians organization.
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Among the additions are center Corey Locke, who was acquired from Montreal in the Shawn Belle trade. Locke spent last season with Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he scored 72 points on 30 goals and 42 assists. And they signed free agent forward Krys Kolanos, who played for the Quad City Flames last season while getting 63 points on 30 goals and 33 assists. (I wonder if Constantine will be able to handle having some players who actually know what to do once they get the puck.)
More roster information will become available over the next several weeks as the parent club Minnesota Wild sends players down to the Aeros.
Oh, and the best thing about the return of Aeros season? Why, the return of the Aeros Dynamics cheer squad.
The season schedule can be found here. And here’s a list of the promotions for the season. But I can already tell you they forgot one promotion: my birthday is the day after the first game of the season, and the day before the second game. So, if any of you want to stop by the press table and give me a gift, I’ll be glad to accept it. -- John Royal