Friday, August 04, 2006

Rangers announce '06-07 schedule

Following months of planning and preparation, the Marquette Rangers have announced their 2006-07 season game schedule. The schedule is packed with special events, theme nights, contests and a wide array of entertainment.

The Rangers season opens at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota on September 13-16. The Showcase includes all teams in the league, with the Rangers scheduled to play both Alaska-based teams, Southern Minnesota and Springfield (Illinois).

The league is comprised of 17 teams placed in three divisions. The Marquette squad will compete in the North Division along with the Alpena IceDiggers, Traverse City North Stars, U.S. National Development (Under-17) Team, and the Mahoning Valley Phantoms.

The home opener will be held during a break in the Electricians Fall Classic on September 23, as the Rangers host the Alpena IceDiggers at the friendly confines of Lakeview Arena.

In all, the Rangers will play 62 games, with 29 of them at home. Most games are held on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a scattering of Thursday and Sunday games. The final regular-season game will be April 1.

Playoffs will include the top four teams in each division, with the three divisional champions facing off, along with a yet to be determined host team, for the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship in May.

In addition to great hockey, the Rangers will bring a full array of entertainment offerings to each contest. Fans will enjoy Chuck-A-Puck, Kid’s Score Zone, face-painting, apparel giveaways, tailgate parties before each game, post-game celebrations, adult beverages, and Eino and Toivo’s comedic interpretation of the rules of hockey.

The Rangers are currently working with local charities to organize three charity jersey game nights. Local charities will team up with Rangers to design an original jersey representing their cause. The jerseys will be worn by the players during the game and live-auctioned immediately following the conclusion of each game, with all the net proceeds benefiting the charity.

“This is just one of the ways we hope to give back to the fans and community. These select games will be very special as the proceeds will benefit some of the important charity’s that help make the central U.P. a great place to live and play,” said David Saint-Onge, president of the Rangers.

The Hanson Brothers, original Iron Rangers and stars of the classic movie, Slap Shot, will visit Marquette on October 7. Pre-game festivities will honor all former Iron Rangers players, with the current team donning replica Iron Rangers jerseys for use during the game. The jerseys will be auctioned after the game with the net proceeds being donated to the Oakie Brumm Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“We believe this is a fitting tribute to the players and team who were admired by the Marquette community and were lead by a man who truly loved the great game of hockey," said Saint-Onge. “The replica jerseys look fantastic, and the cause is a very worthy one. Plus, with the Hanson’s in the building, the energy and excitement level should be nothing short of spectacular.”

Another early season event will be “Hockey Day in Marquette.” October 14 will see the Rangers host the U.S. National Development (Under 17) Team at 4:00 pm at Lakeview Arena, with the Northern Michigan University-Michigan Tech University game at the Berry Events Center at 7:30 pm. There will be a variety of game day events promoting hockey in the Upper Peninsula.

Some of the other special events include:

November 17 – in honor of the hunting season, “Save a Buck Night”
December 3 – “A Soldiers Christmas” when the Rangers will collect children’s toys, games and clothing to help the families of U.P. soldiers assigned overseas.
December 23 – visits by Santa and his arch-nemesis, the Grinch.
February 11 – special jersey night to support the Pigs-n-Heat charity to raise some extra cash for a truly great cause.
March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day will see a jovial Celtic atmosphere in Lakeview Arena.

For an early glimpse of the Rangers, fans should plan to attend the Rangers tailgate party at Lakeview Arena on August 23, starting at 5:00 pm. The event will include a barbecue, door prizes, and live music. This will also be the first opportunity for fans who secured season ticket reservations to select their seats for the season.

“We are excited to show our fans what we’ve been up to these last few months," Saint-Onge said. "There is a ton of excitement and we promise to give you an experience that will be fun, economical and entertaining."

No comments: