Peoria Rivermen gear up for the new season; ready to bring excitement to the River City

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PEORIA, Ill. — The energy is always high when hockey comes back to town.

The Peoria Rivermen are ready to show the River City what they’re all about.

WMBD welcomed Rivermen players, coaches and staff to our studios Friday to give us a preview of the season.

They say Saturday night is a night you won’t wanna miss.

“We have a lot of guys excited to be here, committed to the process of getting it done in Peoria. Great coaching staff, they put together a good team. We’re gonna be flying this year,” said Rivermen Goaltender Eric Levine.

Fights, goals and quality hockey is making its way back to the Peoria Civic Center.

“We know that we wanna win and we know we have a lot of expectations with this team, but we have a lot of veteran presence and leadership that knows how to get that done and the process of what you have to do daily, not just looking too far ahead,” Levine said.

“We have a saying that we’re just trying to get 1 percent better every single day that we get to the rink. That was something coach started on from day one, so that’s what our mindset is day in and day out. But I think most of the guys would be saying we wanna win a championship this year,” said Defenseman Skyler Smutek.

Levine says Peoria is the place he calls home, and he doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

“This is where I started my career 7 years ago. This is a place that I had a lot of roots and upbringing. It’s given me a lot of opportunities at different levels. I’m happy to be back. This is where I always said I wanted to come back and play the later part of my career,” Levine said.

After winning the William B. Coffey Trophy the last two seasons, Rivermen Hall of Fame coach Jean-Guy Trudel says the support from central Illinois has been incredible.

“Even as a coach ya know it’s always nice to have this big crowd. You feel part of the game, you feel in it. We’ve been lucky over the years. We have a great base, I think Peoria does a great job of coming,” Trudel said.

If you want to go to the game, you can get a free magnetic schedule.

The home opener also honors Peoria hockey legend Bruce Saurs, who bought the team in 1989 and won multiple IHL championships.

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