EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Thunderbolts return to the Ford Center to kick off the 2019 season on Saturday, October 19.
The Thunderbolts are looking to turn their franchise around and bring success to Evansville.
Only five players are returning from last year. The team also brought in a brand new coach, and have a new general manager. All of that is pointing towards turning over a new leaf on the ice.
Last year, the Thunderbolts only managed 12 wins and did not make the playoffs in their third year as a franchise. Overall, Evansville hockey teams have only had three winning seasons since the IceMen were formed in 2008.
Coach Jeff Bes is hoping to change that along with his new-look team.
Bes is entering his seventh year as a coach in the Southern Professional Hockey League. He has made the playoffs in all six of his previous campaigns and is looking to do the same this year.
First-year Thunderbolt Taylor Makin says this team has come together in the offseason and is starting to gel and the puck gets set to drop for the season opener.
“Training camp has been good. It’s been hard, it’s been competitive," said Makin. “There’s a lot of good players here. We’ve got three solid lines ready to go for [Friday] night. Everyone’s really antsy to get playing.”
“We got a lot of guys who can skate and fly," Makin said. "We’re going to play fast hockey, it’s going to be exciting hockey, we’ve got a lot of skill as well. Yeah, so they should look forward to seeing a fast team out here.”
The Thunderbolts open up the season on the road in Knoxville, TN at 6:35 on Friday, October 18. The home opener is set for a 7:15 faceoff on Saturday, October 19 inside the Ford Center.