CSHL: Season begins - can Dubuque three-peat?
Eight of the Central State Hockey League’s 12 teams were slated to kickoff the 2008-09 season the weekend of Sept. 5-7, with the Motor City Chiefs going to Chicago for the league’s official opener Friday, while other games included Flint at Cleveland, Toledo visiting the Metro Jets and Queen City at St. Louis.
The other four teams were scheduled to open the following weekend, including the champion Dubuque Thunderbirds going for a three-peat and whose title defense opens in Flint Sept. 12.
Dubuque went wire-to-wire in winning the CSHL regular-season championship in 2007-08 and won all five games at the Hurster Cup tournament.
“I’m confident we’ll be good, but I’m concerned about how soon we’ll be good,” Dubuque coach Joe Coombs told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald recently.
“Is it going to be September, or is it going to be at the end of the season?” added Coombs, who has won more than 100 games with the Thunderbirds in his first two seasons.
“I don’t foresee us going 48-3, but then again, I didn’t expect that last year, either.”
“I expect that Dubuque will be as strong since Joe Coombs does a great job putting a team together,” said Flint general manager Kelly Cronk.
“Last season they had a combination of goal scoring and toughness.”
The Jr. Generals will be in a rebuilding year with a lot of new young players with only five having played Junior Hockey before.
“I think we will do just fine as these kids are willing to learn the game at a higher level,” Cronk said. “Opening up with Dubuque will show our club what the CSHL is all about, playing last year’s league and Hurster Cup champion. But I hope nobody counts us out in having a good season.”
Chiefs’ owner Gerry Lullove said there is an air of excitement as the season was about to begin.
“It’s always great to open up any season in the CSHL,” Lullove said. “We have put together a younger team but these players are skilled, quick and determined to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves.
“Dubuque is always a tough team, but to speculate where anyone will be in the end is a tough feat.
“In the CSHL, anyone can beat anyone on any day, you have to come and be ready.”
Please see the links to the right for the final standings for 2007/08 and the upcoming season's partial schedule.