Chill playing fast, physical ahead of season-opener - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Chill playing fast, physical ahead of season-opener

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Hockey season is back, and the Coulee Region Chill are ready to build on a promising campaign from a year ago.

The Chill open the 2015-16 season on Wednesday at the 13th annual North American Hockey League Showcase event in Blaine, Minnesota, a 4-day event featuring plenty of scouts and excitement to begin an 8-month-long season.

"This will be our first real test against league opponents so we're excited to get going," head coach AJ Degenhardt said. "I think we've got a good handle on what we have as a team here but you never really know until the first game happens and you can see everybody perform as one unit."

Training camp has gone well for the Chill so far. Degenhardt said he is pleased with the physical and intense play shown in practice. This year's team is also quick, and smart-minded, so the key this weekend at the Showcase will be putting all the pieces together on the ice at game speed.

"We've been stressing to them, any time you can compete against your buddies in practice, it's pretty easy to do it against people you don't know in a game," Degenhardt said. "We want 20 guys on the ice that are willing to come out, do all the little things we've talked about, willing to battle for each other, and I think the end result will be good."

Coulee Region opens the season against Amarillo on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. They will face Wichita Falls on Thursday, Johnstown on Friday, and Bismarck on Saturday. The Chill's first home game will be Saturday, October 10 against Springfield at Green Island Ice Arena.

Last season, the Chill finished third in the NAHL's Midwest Division before falling to the Minnesota Wilderness in the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

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