ST. JOHN | It was the night after the Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated, and more than a month and a half after his Chi-Town Shooters won the All American Hockey Association's Championship Cup. But when the DJ played the Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," Shooters head coach Darren Seid felt that the season was still in progress.
"That's what they played when we took the ice," Seid said. "It feels like we're ready to play again."
The East Coast native is spending the offseason in the Region, and will preside over the Shooters' free agent camp this Saturday and Sunday at Midwest Training and Ice Center. Time to make some new friends.
"Last year after a tryout, we invited some players back for another look," Seid said. "We weren't even offering contracts yet. But some guy I didn't pick found out I was eating (at a local restaurant) and called me out to fight him in the parking lot."
Aside from re-loading the Shooters for the 2009-10, Seid also gives summer hockey lessons at Midwest, and coaches amid the center's Midwest Maniax youth hockey program.
"Our program has grown to eight teams in the three years we had it," Midwest general manager Brett Giffin said about the Maniax program.
Earlier this month, Giffin and company melted Midwest's ice to touch up the rink's script and artwork.
"We're going to re-paint it by hand," Giffin said of the white-based plywood "canvas" normally under the ice. "That should be fun."
Giffin runs the youth and recreation hockey programs at Midwest. Due to the Blackhawks' deep foray into the playoffs, he has seen a spike in hockey interest -- especially among women.
"We're hoping to start a women's team here," Giffin said.
Tony Gurtowski serves as a hockey coach and instructor at Midwest. He also is the business development director at the center.
"When it starts getting real hot in the summer, this is a good place to be to cool off," Gurtowski said.