Call of the Wild

Hockey History Archives

The Chicago Express rolls into Hoffman Estates

Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.


The Chicago Express' primary logo was unveiled today in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Premier AA Hockey is coming back to the Chicago land area. The newest team to be added to the East Coast Hockey League held a Press Conference today at the Sears Centre. They announced that the new team's name will be the Chicago Express and it's first Head Coach will be Steve Martinson. The Express will call the Sears Centre Arena, located in Hoffman Estates, their home. The team will begin their inaugural season at the start of the 2011/2012 hockey season.  

The team is owned by C & S Family Sports. C & S Family Sports is in turn, Craig and Sue Drecktrah. The Drecktrahs are no strangers to minor league hockey as Craig was part owner of the Rockford IceHogs for several years, back when that team was in the United Hockey League. The Drecktrahs also took over ownership mid season of the already financially troubled Chicago Hounds, during what was the last season for both the Hounds and the UHL. The UHL changed it's name to the International Hockey League and the Hounds ceased operations after the 2006/2007 season ended.  

This summer, fans had the chance to submit team name suggestions to the team's website. Fans voted on-line for their favorite choices and the top four names were placed for a final vote. Marc Johnson of Bartlett, IL was the lucky fan who had submitted the name of Chicago Express. For his winning submission, Johnson was presented today with a 4 pack of Season Tickets to the 2011/2012 inaugural season for the Express. The other three names and their submitters were: Hoffman Hammers, Jeff Latzko; Chicago Blizzard, Mike Kuecker; and the Chicago Knights, Chris Bond. It was also announced that Johnson will be dropping the puck at the very first home game the Express plays at the Sears Centre.

The Team's colors will consist of navy blue, sky blue & grey and the primary logo is that of a train. The secondary logo is a train whistle. Chicago has a history with the railroad and the manufacture of train cars and the team name was chosen in tribute to this long history.

Coach Martinson comes to the team with 15 years of Coaching experience. His teams have always made the postseason playoffs and he has won 6 championships. Prior to becoming a Coach, Martinson the player, skated professionally for 12 seasons with an assortment of teams in the National and American Hockey Leagues. Martinson and his family have moved back into their home in Rockford, IL and voice their excitement at being back in the state line area. He states that his kids are playing hockey in Rockford already.

C & S Family Sports offers affordable family-friendly excitement for hockey fans of all ages. The Chicago Express is currently offering season ticket packages for sale.

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Newly named Head Coach for the Chicago Express, Steve Martinson.


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Owner & CEO of the Chicago Express, Craig Drecktrah.

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Present & General Manager for the Chicago Express, Wade Welsh.

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On hand for the Chicago Express unveiling was Hoffman Estates Mayor, Bill McLeod and ECHL Commisioner, Brian McKenna.


Craig Drecktrah presents Marc Johnson with a 4 pack of Season Tickets for the upcoming 2011/2012 opening season for the Chicago Express. Johnson submitted the winning name for the new hockey team.


New to hockey: 10 things to know

Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

Kodoka, SD--- There are a number of things for the perspective late-coming bandwagon climbing hockey fan to know so they don't stand out, looking like a baseball fan, or god forbid, a football fan climbing aboard the Blackhawks bandwagon.

  1. When you purchase your brand new Blackhawks sweater do not tuck it in. Only VERY good looking women can tuck a sweater in. For everyone else, this is a faux pas of the highest rank, marking you as a person without any hockey knowledge. They are sweaters, they are not generally called jerseys. And there have been no-nothing sports columnist who have listed rules of wearing hockey sweaters. Ignore them. You paid good hard money for your jersey and it can have any name or number you like on it. Just don't tuck it in your pants.
  2. It is hockey etiquette that you do not leave your seat at the game when the puck is in play. Do not attempt to find your seat if the puck is in play. You and the 48 oz. drink you crave will have to wait for the whistle.
  3. The game is played in three regulation periods. There are no quarters. There are no halfs.
  4. Zamboni is a brand name, not the generic name for the an ice-surfacing machine used between periods.
  5. The Hanson Brothers were real players. They are composed of the real life Dave Hanson and Steve and Jeff Carlson. If you don't know who I'm referring to, keep your mouth shut about hockey.
  6. There is a great tradition associated with the National Anthem at Blackhawks games. But that doesn't mean that Jim Cornelison knows what key to sing it in.
  7. In Detroit they throw seafood on the ice. Every other city in the league is civilized. Eat your seafood, don't play hockey with it.
  8. The Chicago Wolves are not affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks. Got it?
  9. It is true that the Stanley Cup:
  • Was left in a snow bank
  • Is credited with helping a conception
  • Was dropped to the bottom of a swimming pool
  • Goes home with the players
  • Has all the names of the winners engraved on it
10. When you buy your new "jersey," read number one again.
Continue reading...

Chelios sounds like it is over

Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

"I don't know if this is the time to make a decision," National Hockey League veteran Chris Chelios began, "but I found out it was pretty tough playing 26 or 27 minutes."

Listen to the entire interview

"I was lucky to have the opportunity to go to Atlanta. And that didn't work out. I'm 99 percent sure that will end it as a career," Chelios said in a quiet Chicago Wolves locker room following a game seven overtime loss to the Texas Stars at the Allstate Arena Tuesday night.

First game with the Wolves

"I don't know if it's the right time to say it," Chelios said. "It's been a great opportunity for 26 years."

Continue reading...

Gallery XXX-Hans Brinker and his Silver Skates

Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

For the last two years Wolves Skating and Skills Coach Kenny McCudden has shared his extensive collection of antique and vintage hockey equipment with fans in a March show. Among the  gems are sticks that belonged to and were signed by Wayne Gretzy and Bobby Orr. Coach McCudden personal favorites are vintage children's hockey sticks. These are considered very rare as once broken they are usually thrown out by coaches or families. Visually the jewels of the collection are the antique blades and skates dating from the turn of the century.  It is easy to see why Hans Brinker worked so hard for those silver skates.

Sadly the show has been packed up for this year, however here are some images of the last two years.

Gallery sneak peek (13 images):

View the gallery...

At Last!-Board of Governors approves hit to head rule!

Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

The Board of governors have acted, change will come slowly but surely.  Here is the report from the

"Board of Governors approves hit to head rule"

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 7:00 PM / News

"The National Hockey League's Board of Governors tonight unanimously approved a rule prohibiting "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact."

The timing and details of implementation are being worked on by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department in conjunction with representatives of the National Hockey League Players' Association."

  Bet Reggie Fleming is smiling this morning.

John Anderson banner raising at Chicago Wolves game February 20, 2010

Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

These are the ceremonies of John Anderson receiving his banner from the Chicago Wolves, Saturday, February 20, 2010, at the Allstate Arena.

Part 1

Part 2

Who is Lady Byng? And for that matter who is Lord Stanley?

Patrick Boylan

I write the Wolves blog for ChicagoNow

“Who is Lady Byng?”

And, in reply, who the hell is Lord Stanley? If sports is all about nostalgia, and I would submit that the love of a sport is all about nostalgia, then why is the National Hockey League entertaining the idea of renaming its awards for a new generation. Here it is from Canadian Broadcasting Co hockey analyst Glenn Healy last night on the Hot Stove:

It's about time the NHL made further changes to pay tribute to those who made history on the ice, rather than in the boardrooms, Healy said.

"The award for best defenceman is currently named after a [former Detroit Red Wings] owner. Give me a break," he said. [Note: The rest of the world spells its with a C, not an S. Get a grip word nazis.]

Most people don't even know who Lady Byng (the wife of Gov. Gen. Viscount Byng of Vimy) was, he added. [Note: Actually, Healy used the opening quote.]

That the NHL would decide that the Stanley Cup was not going to be renamed, but that it would destroy it's investment in other trophies speaks volumes.

"This is about the history of the game," HNIC analyst Mike Milbury said. "I know the players are a big part of it, but there are some other people in the business that had something to do with it. The names are good, they run with history. Leave it alone."

It wouldn't be the first time a big name trophy was renamed in Canada. The former Memorial Cup is now known as the MasterCard Memorial Cup. MASTERCARD? I may have to add that to the first reference, but that isn't how normal people talk about what some call the most difficult trophy to win in sports. MasterCard is the junk mail I receive, enticing me to easy credit, at high interest rates, not the cup won in a match that has united a country.

Here we go again in the NHL. It is a place where the dubious qualities of the shootout were embraced to get those Southern retirees, they still love their hockey ya' know, to go to games and to hell with the people of Winnipeg, London and Hamilton who love their game more. Let's rewind and remember how the league abandoned the division names in the early 1990's. Norris, Patrick, Adams, Smythe: much easier for the know-nothings of the South who don't attend games in any case, to have descriptive names like Central, Northwest, Pacific, Atlantic, Northeast and Sux.

"I hate it, too," HNIC host Ron MacLean added.

Yeah that. Deep six this idea.

Continue reading...

Twilight Zone Hockey...1919

Jane Rickard

I'm nuts just ask anybody.

Imagine this if you please, it is March 1919, there is a World War raging in Europe draining the hearts blood of a generation and setting the stage for the next great war. On the home front there is yet another war against an unseen foe. A flu so virulent that it has killed hundreds of thousands on the North American content . Ultimately millions will die world wide of this unseen, unknown "Spanish Lady" who brings death in her wake.

In a world starved for normalcy  Stanley Cup finals bravely start as the Pacific Coast Hockey Association champions the Seattle Metropolitans (Mets) were set to play the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadians . The best of five series was to be played entirely in Seattle with PCA and NHL rules used in alternating games. This year would be different, there would be no championship as an unwelcome visitor was in the locker room, the flu. With the series tied at two wins two losses and a tie Seattle health officials were forced to cancel the remaining games as the most of the visiting team including it's owner and manager George Kennedy were hospitalized. Ultimately blueliner "Bad " Joe Hall would loose his life to the influenza and it's accompanying pneumonia. Kennedy would never make a complete recovery and die in 1921.

1919 has been the first and only time since Lord Stanley's cup was first engraved in 1893 that it was not awarded after the playoffs began. The series is memorialized on the cup itself with the teams names and a notation that the series is unfinished. 1919 it was a year of death all over the world, that is hockey's little notation in it.  Let's not forget.

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