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Young Bucs team starts season with new coach

10/3/2012

The Des Moines Buccaneers’ first home game is Saturday, Oct. 6. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. in Urbandale.

Finally, a familiar phrase will be heard at the chilled Bucs Arena as “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE” blares through the loudspeakers to the anxious crowd, whipping them into an excited frenzy as they watch their beloved Des Moines Buccaneers hit the ice for the first time at home on Saturday, Oct. 6.                

The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. on center ice as the Bucs take on the Sioux City Musketeers.                

The Bucs home opener is the team’s fourth regular season game of the year, having opened in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday, Sept. 28 against the under-17 U.S. National Team. The following night, a game against the Youngstown Phantoms gave them a taste of divisional play.                

The Bucs will be led this year by new head coach and general manager, Jon Rogger. Rogger was hired in May of 2012 and has had the summer to plan for the season and prepare his young team.              

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“We’ve got a lot of young talent coming in,” said Rogger prior to the season. “We’ve got our three Swedish players who have been a great surprise for us so far.”               

The players Rogger is referring to are 20-year-old, No. 21 Axel Wennenborn; 18-year-old, No. 24 Luke Shiplo; and No. 17 Eric Martinsson, who will be 20 years old in a couple weeks.               

The three Swedish players join 20 other 16- to 20-year-old players who’ve come to Des Moines to play from around the country and Canada. Eighteen-year-old, No. 33 Nick Ellis, of Millersville, Md., will be guarding the goal for the Bucs. Joining him at net will be No. 35 from Raleigh, N.C., Billy Christopoulos, also 18.                

The new coach and young team make any predictions of the season a challenge, though the Bucs have a strong tradition of making it hard for any team to win in Des Moines.                

“We’re going to play tough; we’re going to play hard,” said Rogger. “Any time we’re at home, it’s going to be tough for the visiting teams to come in and play us.”              

The Bucs won two out of five games in their preseason, though those games served more as practice and a chance to whittle the 29 players in training camp down to the 23-player season roster.                

The Bucs play 64 games in a season that stretches from September into mid-April. Of that, 32 games are played on home ice at the Des Moines Bucs Arena in Urbandale.                

The preseason is over. Fall is here, and it’s time to play some hockey.                

“Everybody is antsy,” said Coach Rogger, “and we’re ready to go!” CV
 

SIDEBAR:

Tickets are available for individual games, and group discounts are available throughout the season. Special offers are available in October and November. Skybox seating with catered food is also available for groups. Call the Bucs ticket office at 515-278-2827 or reserve tickets online at www.bucshockey.com. For groups, private parties and skybox rental, ask for Mike Guske.

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