REXBURG — As Fall descends on Eastern Idaho, people are excited for so many things the season brings: hot cocoa, leaves changing color, ice skating, snow and hockey. The Idaho Falls Spud Kings are back for their second season of junior league hockey.
Junior league hockey attracts athletes from around the world. This year’s Spud Kings roster features players as young as 17 years old and as old as 19. From the Czech Republic to Norway and Montana to Slovakia, these players hail from the far reaches of the globe.
“They were reporting back to us that Idaho Falls has become a destination for these kids that want to play junior hockey,” said Chris Hall, the assistant general manager of the Spud Kings. “They want to come see what our arena has to offer.”
Despite an up and down first year that saw the Spud Kings drop their first 14 contests, but finish strong to end the inaugural campaign, the 2023 Spud Kings look to build on that momentum and success.
“We weren't able to play in our home arena until about halfway through the season,” Hall said. “So, the kids on our team last year played half of their season almost three months in a row of road games before they were able to come to the Mountain America Center, play home games, or even practice. From starting 0 and 14 last year to winning, sweeping our first round in the playoffs and having a really competitive second round of the playoffs, we were really happy with the progress throughout the year, and the season is all about building on that momentum.”
Now, with six returning players and an additional cast of characters, the 1-1 Spud Kings will host their home opener, on October 7, against the Rock Springs Grizzlies. Opening face-off at the Mountain America Center is set for 7:05 p.m.
Along with the show on the ice, there will be plenty for the crowd to enjoy.
“One of the promotions that I looked forward to last year, that was really fun and we're excited to do again this year, is the teddy bear toss that people go and buy teddy bears for Toys for Tots. And when the Spud Kings score their first goal of the game, everybody throws them on the ice. That's always a really fun promotion,” Hall said.
Other activities to look forward to include the Teton Toyota Tater Toss, themed jersey nights, T-shirt giveaways and more.
Tickets are on sale now. Every seat in the arena, regardless of location, is $21. To grab your tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com and search for Idaho Falls Spud Kings. To see the full slate of games and grab some merchandise, go to www.ifspudkings.com.