After winning AHL's Calder Cup, Wolves stoked to raise curtain on new season

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Wolves forward Jack Drury in the 2022 AHL playoffs at Allstate Arena. One of the top prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes, Drury said he's excited to see the banner-raising ceremony for the Wolves' Calder Cup victory last year.

    Chicago Wolves forward Jack Drury in the 2022 AHL playoffs at Allstate Arena. One of the top prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes, Drury said he's excited to see the banner-raising ceremony for the Wolves' Calder Cup victory last year. Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves

  • Chicago Wolves goalie Pyotr Kochetkov tries to get the fans fired up as they celebrate their Calder Cup win during a championship rally at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont Tuesday.

      Chicago Wolves goalie Pyotr Kochetkov tries to get the fans fired up as they celebrate their Calder Cup win during a championship rally at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont Tuesday. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
By Kyle Leverone
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/14/2022 6:38 PM

On the wall just outside of the Chicago Wolves' locker room in their practice facility, there's a giant painted-gold strip that cuts over a burgundy cinder block wall.

On that strip, the text reads, "Four-Time League Champions."

 

The Carolina Hurricanes' AHL affiliate won the Turner Cup of the IHL twice (1998, 2000) and has now won the Calder Cup of the AHL three times (2002, 2008, 2022).

When the reigning champion Wolves kick off their season Saturday against the Milwaukee Admirals at Allstate Arena, they'll raise a new title banner to the rafters.

A new season is here, so it might be time to update that wall.

"It was actually a short summer," said general manager Wendell Young, "but you're still anxious to get going. It's funny because sometimes if you don't go far in the playoffs, it's a really long summer, (and) you're anxious.

"I didn't know if I'd be as anxious to get going again, finishing basically in July. But I am. I think the team's anxious to get going."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The banner-raising ceremony is one reason the team is more than ready for Saturday's game.

"I think the ceremony with the banner will be pretty cool," said center Jack Drury, who is one of the Hurricanes' top prospects. "(It was) a lot of hard work last year, seeing it pay off will be cool. And then just getting to see what this group has. New season, we'll see what the expectations are with all the guys on the team."

Drury played two games for the Hurricanes in mid-December last year and scored a goal in each one.

Young said having Drury for the season came as a surprise, but "sometimes you're caught in a numbers game or a (salary) cap game, that's what happened with Jack."

A surprise, but a pleasant one for the team. As a rookie last year, Drury finished his 68 regular-season games with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists).

In the Calder Cup playoffs, the young center scored 9 goals and 15 assists in 18 games. The Wolves may not have him for the entire season, but for however long they do, it'll be a thrill.

Either way, it'll be fine because this team wants to win and, Young says, with winning comes development.

"We will develop your players overall," he said, "and we're also in it to win, and part of developing is winning, and when we went to the Calder Cup finals, the development of the players grew five times more than a regular season game."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

One player who used that "winning is developing" mindset is goalie Pyotr Kochetkov.

In Kochetkov's second year with the team, Drury already thinks he's "probably the best goalie in the league."

The Russian goalie appeared in 15 regular season games and six playoff games with the Wolves in addition to three regular season games and four playoff games with Carolina.

Although it's his sophomore year in Chicago, he'll feel like a veteran presence for some of the new guys.

Among those rookies is head coach Brock Sheahan, who was hired after Ryan Warsofsky left for an assistant job with the San Jose Sharks. Sheahan is the former head coach of the USHL's Chicago Steel.

Another newcomer to the Wolves is former Blackhawk Brendan Perlini, who believes the Wolves to be a perfect fit for him right now.

"Obviously, we want to win and be the best as possible," he said, "but they want to develop everyone and move everyone on to the next level as well, which is great."

As you walk past the Wolves championship wall and move into the locker room hallway, there's a saying that is painted across the top: "For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack."

This certain pack of Wolves, new and experienced alike, wants to win the Calder Cup again, and the road to it starts this Saturday.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.