NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- The sights and sounds of professional hockey are set to return to the Mermaid City.
October 22 marks the season opener for the Norfolk Admirals. New ice was installed at The Scope last week, the arena is getting ready and the roster is trickling in, as the team gets set to play its first game in 18 months.
The hiatus, however, didn't go to waste. Team personnel spent the time focusing on how the organization can be improved.
"We've had time to reevaluate who we are as individuals, as a staff, bringing in new people, the way things are going," said general manager Ryan McGinnis. "You can put more time, energy and though into the concrete pieces that will be here."
"I think that's one of the best things we had for this time off, if we have to look at a positive thing," head coach Rod Taylor added. "We had a lot of time to be able to look, dissect some things that maybe worked, didn't work, things like that, and tweak these things."
It's an exciting time for the Admirals, who are now the ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. That means that when fans head to The Scope this season, they'll see some talented NHL prospects who they'll likely see at the highest level in the future.
"If they can do good for themselves, they can move on and upward," McGinnis said of the players on the roster. You get these hungry mid-20 year olds, guys that are two and three years into their young careers that are hungry."
"[It's a] more passionate team, more in-tune with their fans, things like that," noted Taylor. "Just seeing a better product on the ice, guys coming out, preparing and being the love of this team, the love of this town."
Norfolk opens its season on October 22 at home against the Reading Royals. Puck-drop is set for 7:30 PM.