WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — For the first time in Wichita history, the National Hockey League (NHL) is coming to town. After five years in the making, the Arizona Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues are set to face off Saturday.
“It’s rare for NHL teams to give up home games to go to a neutral site, so to be chosen to be one of those sites, it’s big,” Brian Hargrove, President of G1 Sports & Entertainment, said.
Organizers say they anticipate a nearly full house Saturday.
“Wichita loves their hockey,” Christine Pileckas, Director of Marketing & Booking at INTRUST Bank Arena, said. “They support it — the Wichita Thunder has been here for 25+ years.”
Pileckas says several improvements were made to the arena to meet NHL standards.
“We replaced all of our hockey glass, we replaced all of our dasher caps, which are these blue caps that are a little softer so when players get checked into the board, it doesn’t hurt quite as bad … we replaced netting behind all of our goals, which is a safety for the fans if the pucks get up there,” Pileckas said.
Organizers say they’re hoping to turn Saturday’s game into a recurring yearly event.
“Both teams have heard what kind of a sports town Wichita is — they’ve heard about selling out practice days for the NCAA tournament and different things like that … if they have a good time, word will spread, and we’ll have other organizations like this knocking on our door saying, ‘Hey, we wanna come be a part of that.'” Hargrove said.
To learn more about the game and ticket information, click here.