22 in 22 Series: Sugar Land Imperials
September 2, 2013
The 22 in 22 series features an in-depth look into all 22 teams in the NA3HL for the 2013-14 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 7th as four NA3HL teams take to the ice on Opening Night.
22 in 22 will go in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 22 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2013-14 season, including taking a look at their roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season.
It will also take a look back on the 2012-13 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 22 in 22 is done to provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
Sugar Land Imperials
Head Coach: Jarod Palmer
2012-13 Record: N/A
2013-14 Division: South
First Regular Season Game: Fri, October 4th, 2013 7:10 PM vs. Dallas at Dr Pepper StarCenter-Euless
Home Opener: Fri, October 11th, 2013 vs. McKinney at Sugar Land Ice
The southernmost team in the new North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) South Division will be based out of Sugar Land Ice Center (a suburb of Houston, Texas) and will be named the Sugar Land Imperials. This will be the first time that an NA3HL team will be based out of Houston, continuing the strong tradition of hockey in the area after the American Hockey League (AHL) Houston Aeros relocated to Iowa this past off-season.
Behind the bench for the Imperials will be a local fan favorite Jarod Palmer. He is popular with the community from his time spent playing professionally for the Aeros. Palmer, a former North American Hockey League player, as well as a standout NCAA player for Miami University, will be in his first coaching job when he takes the reigns of the expansion franchise.
Imperials General Manager Jamie Feltus already has felt the loyal Houston hockey fan base make the transition from being Aeros fans to Imperials fans. “The fan support that we have felt has been overwhelming to say the least,” Feltus said. “The demand for tickets has already reached the point that we are planning to expand our facilities seating capacity in the next year.”
The facility in which the Imperials will be playing will rival any building in the NA3HL when it comes to amenities for the team. The Imperials will be taking over an 8,000 square foot space that includes a 26-person locker room, medical facilities, as well as a full gym for the team. Feltus also mentioned that the rink is painting the ice to feature the Imperials logo at center ice in addition to the middle red line featuring the state of Texas instead of the standard dashes.
A group that has taken the Imperials under the wing is what was formerly the Houston Aeros Booster club. The new Imperials booster club has formed and is doing everything they can to help the franchise get on their feet. “The amount of volunteers that have showed up to help is humbling,” Feltus said. “They have taken over helping find billet homes for our players, as well as, painting all of the green and gold around the rink into Imperial blue and black.”
Off the ice, the Imperials have gotten off on the right foot with a top-notch facility and committed fans. Coach Palmer will have the upper hand when his team hits the ice for their opening game.
Next up in the 22 in 22 series: Toledo Cherokee