STARS TO RETURN FOR ALUMNI GAME
Goalie Bobby Desjardins will be among the former Wichita Thunder players participating in the franchise's first alumni game on Feb. 19. Former Thunder players will go against Tulsa Oiler alums in the oldtimers matchup, which will precede the Central Hockey League game between the Thunder and Oilers at Intrust Bank Arena.
Rob Weingartner, whose retired jersey joins Desjardins' in Intrust Bank Arena's rafters, is also expected to play. Other players who have committed are Jeff Leiter, Tom Roulston, Greg Neish, Ryan McLean and Scott Rozendal.
"Don't expect too much excitement _ the guys have told me they're gonna need oxygen tanks and 4XL jerseys," general manager Joel Lomurno joked.
For Tulsa, Doug Lawrence and Sly Naud are expected to play.
Thunder players will wear blue jerseys, similar in style to the team's current uniforms, that will be auctioned off after the game. Details are tentative, but the game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and last about an hour. Lomurno said that two running 20-minute periods might be used.
On March 26, the alums will battle at Tulsa.
* Jocelyn Forshee, the Thunder's director of fan relations, was named the CHL's employee of the month for November. Lomurno complimented her work ethic.
* Thunder coach Kevin McClelland doesn't like the idea of playing on Christmas Day (his team visits Tulsa on Dec. 25). There will likely be no break from the Scrooge-like scheduling next year. Lomurno said that the Thunder is expected to be host for a game on Christmas next season.
* From the devil-is-in-the-details department: I mentioned in my game story that the Thunder's Chris Greene returned a couple books to goalie Ian Keserich, formerly of the Thunder and now with Tulsa, before Saturday's game. The titles: "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Scar Tissue," the autobiography of Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Kiedis.
* Before Tuesday night's game, several Thunder players were among the league leaders. Defenseman Kory Scoran was tied for the league lead with six power play goals. Rookie goaltender Marc-Antoine Gelinas was sixth in the CHL with a 2.42 goals against average. Defenseman Steven Kaunisto led all CHL rookies and was tied for first among CHL defensemen in plus/minus with a +10 rating.
Thunder defenseman and team captain Daniel Tetrault scored his 100th career goal over the weekend. Thirty-four have come while playing with the Thunder.
The Thunder and Fort Wayne were the CHL's worst road teams. Each team had only two road wins before Tuesday's game.
TAP OF THE STICK
Call me an old softie, but my second-favorite Thunder promotion — nothing will ever top Chuck a Puck — is the Teddy Bear Toss. On Saturday, after A.J. Gale scored the team's first goal, fans threw about 800 stuffed animals onto the ice. With Elvis' "Teddy Bear," playing in the background, Thunder players used their sticks to help sort the bears into piles. The bears will go to local charities, including the Kansas Children's Service League and Youthville.
TAP OF THE STICK II
Thunder tough guy Robin Richards typically makes an impression with his fists, but he scored a nice goal in Saturday's game against Tulsa. With the Thunder down 6-3, the 6-foot-4 Richards collected a rebound to the right of the goal, spun and beat Keserich from a tough angle. It was his second goal in eight games, to go along with 44 penalty minutes.
A minor on the small number of fans who greeted goalie Tulsa goalie Ian Keserich with a smattering of boos on Saturday. Keserich now plays with the rival Oilers, which, to some, apparently makes him instantly worthy of scorn. Those fans should recall last season, when Keserich played very well, singlehandedly keeping the team in games, on perhaps the worst team in CHL history. He got little to no support most nights but took full responsibility for every loss and never even hinted that he needed more help. Plus, by all accounts, he's genuinely a good guy.
Number of points the Thunder has earned at home this season, tops in the league
HE SAID IT
"They've got a good hockey club over there. They can bring it at you in a lot of different ways."
—Tulsa coach Bruce Ramsay describing the Thunder after his team's victory on Saturday night