The Dells Ducks didn’t get a chance to play at the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) Winter Showcase this past weekend, as the winter storm that hit the east coast left the team unable to get any further than O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
Five of the division’s nine teams somehow made it, but the Ducks, along with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, Minnesota Mullets and Hudson Havoc will instead have to make up the games with some head-to-head matches through the final month of the season.
Technically, the team’s return to play will be Friday night with the trip up Highway 13 to face the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings in a Friday-Saturday twinbill.
Leading up to that, the Ducks will take part in a charity hockey game on Thursday as the second of two matches at the Second Annual Outdoor Classic in Rosemont, Illinois.
While the Chicago Cougars and Decatur Blaze from the Midwest-East Division will play a league game at 3:30 p.m., the Ducks will take center stage in the following game, for an exhibition against Guns ‘N Hoses, a competitive men’s league team out of Crystal Lake, Illinois.
There will be a family connection in the game for Ducks’ winger Bruno Goossens, as his brother Joey is a member of the Guns ‘N Hoses team, which is made up primarily of members of the town’s police and fire departments.
Both games offer free admission, but fans are encouraged to instead donate to leukemia cancer research at the game. Ronald Goossens, older brother of Bruno and Joey, is 16 years clear of his battle with leukemia, but recently, their sister, Tricia Goossens, was diagnosed with the same disease and she is scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Along with donations, funds will be raised through a 50-50 raffle as well as other drawings and silent auctions, with some items donated by Craig Anderson, a Chicago native and goaltender for the Ottawa Senators. He also went through the struggles with cancer last year, as his wife battled a rare form of the disease.
The Ducks will finally get a chance to extend their eight-game league winning streak when they make the trip to Wisconsin Rapids on Friday night.
Following the weekend pair, the Ducks will make their return to the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena on Jan. 19-21 with a three-game homestand against the Minnesota Mullets. Included on the Mullets is Sebastian Frank, a former Wisconsin Dells High School student in his second season on the blue line with the Minnesota squad.