Wichita Thunder

Kollen Long's CHL report

Thunder makes 2-for-1 deal

In a continued effort to revamp the roster before the team moves into Intrust Bank Arena, the struggling Thunder made another trade on Tuesday.

Forward Troy Ofukany was dealt to the Odessa Jackalopes for centerman Paul Kelly and defenseman J.R. Bria.

Kelly has nine goals and 12 assists in 31 games for Odessa. His best season was two years ago, when he had 26 goals and 53 points in 62 games for Tulsa.

"He's proven that he can put the puck in the net and that's obviously what we need right now," said interim coach Jason Duda, whose team has lost a franchise-record 18 straight games.

Bria, who has spent most of this season on injured reserve, was plus-15 for Bossier-Shreveport last season. He also chipped in two goals and 14 assists.

"He's a solid defenseman," Duda said. "He's tough, a strong kid. He's smart and he works hard. Those are some things you like to have in your D corp."

Ofukany earned the Thunder's most improved player award last season when he scored 17 goals and 19 assists in 62 games. This year, he has nine points in 31 games. Ofukany goes from the league's worst team to the best. Odessa is 25-5-3.

Last week, the Thunder acquired defenseman Steve Makway and forward Kevin Cooper.


* The Thunder will unveil its All-Kansas Coliseum team before Saturday's game, the last in the Brown Barn. Thunder general manager Joel Lomurno declined to name the players, but he said 5 of 6 team members will be on hand for the ceremony. (Translation: Travis Clayton won't be in town.) The Thunder will hoist a banner celebrating the team and auction it off during the game.

* The Thunder will spruce up its pregame show at the new arena. A two-minute video of highlights from this season will play before the team hits the ice. (I can already hear your joke: How'd they fill two minutes? You disappoint me.) Lazarus A.D. wrote an original song for the video. The Thunder's first game at Intrust is Jan. 23.

* Bob Berg, who scored 101 points for the Thunder in 1993-94 and 1994-95, will drop the ceremonial puck at the first game in the new arena.

* The Thunder bus crashed on its way back from Saturday's game at Rapid City, but no one was injured. Broadcaster Steve Schuster said the bus slid off the highway and into a snowy ditch at about 8 a.m. in Rising City, Neb. Most of the players and staff were asleep when the accident occurred. "I was awoken by someone yelling, 'Slow down!' " Schuster said. Schuster said some locals transported the team to a nearby gas station _ "It wasn't anything major, it was like Bill's Gas Station or something ridiculous like that," Schuster said _ where the team spent nearly six hours before another bus arrived to take the team to Wichita.


Newly acquired Ian Keserich may be 0-2, but his saves percentage is a healthy .927.


The Thunder hasn't scored a power-play goal for a month. Interestingly, Ofukany was the last Thunder player to score with the man advantage, the goal coming on Dec. 6 in a shootout loss to Colorado. The power-play unit is on a 1-for-49 slide.


Duda was a second-team pick for the CHL's all-decade team, as selected by the league. Clayton, Duda's longtime linemate now with Bossier-Shreveport, made the first team.


I don't know anything about guitar players _ the only one I can name is Ace Frehley _ but I thought Wichitan Jay Carpenter rocked out the National Anthem with his axe (that's what all the cool kids call a guitar) before the game on Dec. 31.


Word association time. I say "world famous comedian," you say... Jerry Seinfeld? Chris Rock? Sarah Silverman? According to the Laredo Bucks, the answer is Jerry Rocha, the headline entertainer at the CHL All-Star game. The Bucks, who host the game on Jan. 12, actually referred to Rocha as "world famous" in a news release.



Number of games the Thunder has left at the Kansas Coliseum


"We're still entertaining all offers."

_ Lomurno, suggesting his team is not done dealing