A large crowd turned out for the Peninsula Brown Bears opening night of hockey action September 11th against their nemeses from Fairbanks the Ice Dogs. The enthusiasm was high for the beginning of another hockey season and emotions of the large crowd higher as the colors were posted by VFW Post # 10046 and a moment of silence was held for those 1st Responders and innocent civilians who were slaughtered on that dark day in American history. “When we found out that we would be opening our season on 9-11 we couldn’t think of a better way than to have our local heroes join us for the dropping of the first puck to honor them and the work they are prepared to do 24/7 and to remember and never forget what happened that tragic day on September 11th, 2001,” said Nate Kiel, Brown Bears general manager. The Nikiski fire fighters we even accompanied by a traditional Dalmatian or coach dog which was a symbol for fire fighters from the time when fire engines were drawn by horses and the dogs were their stable mates and kept the horses calm during the emergency as well as companions for the fire fighters.
The appropriate ceremony for the dropping of the season’s first puck however, wasn’t enough for the Brown Bears to make coach dogs out of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Brown Bears were swept in the two game home series 6-2 and 7-3. “It was disappointing but we were glad to face them from the get go!” said Kiel, “We feel we recruited well this year, coach Beau has done an excellent job and we returned 10 veterans to our lineup which is great and what you need for a new season. We’d like it to have gone better, but education is expensive and we learned a lot,” said Kiel. The Brown Bears hit the road after the season opener and coach Beauparlant was quoted in the Peninsula Clarion saying the games were a help in building team chemistry and that he liked where the team was at this place in the season, “I like where we are at already and this is only going to increase it,” he said.
Opening night Kiel also made a point in thanking the fans for the great turn out and complimenting the team for their community service, “We’ve made community a big part of what the team is all about and its paid off for the kids and the organization as a whole and the community from helping out with the LeaShore fund raiser to Industry Appreciation Day and the team has a lot of plans to serve the community on and off the ice this season, we want to win but we want to express our appreciation with community service as well, so just let us know how our guys can help and we’ll get after it,” he said. Brown Bear fans can check how they can be a Brown Bear booster by stopping by the Bear’s Den at Big John’s on K-Beach Rd. and picking up Brown Bear sportswear or checking out the team’s website on line or Facebook.