Let's rewind the timeline to 2007....
Back in that year the Rockford IceHogs debuted in the American Hockey League.They had the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Troy Brouwer who were all Stanley Cup Champions down the road. But when these guys took on the Wolves the action was hardnosed and some of the best hockey games the Wolves played in their history. To say a rivalry was introduced is putting it nicely.
Both teams were looking for any chance to get under each others skin and at times things were hard hitting, and it looked like "old time" hockey. There was this feeling that both teams were playing for the Calder Cup and it all came down to Game 7 every time a game was played.
That was the feelings back in 2007 where the IceHogs entered the league looking to immediately make the mark of being a team that had the talent on both hockey levels to compete for a championship. Even though they fell short to the Wolves that year it seemed an intense rivalry was born.
Now enter the Vancouver Canucks prospects and it looks like this rivalry that tailed off over the last few years can return very quickly. It seemed recently, the games between not only the players but the fans didn't have the same kind of excitement that the 07-08 season had.
With both rosters being that tough in the Championship year for the Wolves, every game was that close and both teams refused to give up an inch to their opponent. The last few years have been different due to both organization's not having a consistent roster every night and many fans feel the first year was so strong in terms of a rivalry nothing could compare.
I'm sure both fan bases can see this "new" year of sorts to re-spark something that has been missing for 3 years. Hockey is a great sport but with the rivalry it adds that little something extra that all fans and teams will enjoy.
The Rockford players will definitely know the rivalry back from 2007 and with the new players coming from the Wolves will certainly be told what the story is if they don't already know. Blackhawks and Icehogs fans know what the past was and now with the Canucks a new rivalry this could be a reunion of sorts of what hard hockey is all about.
I don't think anything will equal to the first year Rockford entered the AHL but with this turn of events I'm sure their will be more hard hitting and after whistle incidents. Since the Wolves and the IceHogs are in the same division and with the dismal year the Rockford team had that can be another reason for the meanness to return.
It is September yet?