By Jim den Hollander
Since April, Co-Owner and Head Coach of the Dells Ducks has been preparing and planning to lead team he fell in love with a decade ago back into battle.
The long off season was made longer by the social distancing and health issues that became ‘the norm’ in the hockey world, but now, some six months later, Falzone and his charges roll into their first game week of the season.
Since a few days after Labor Day, the players have been in town, preparing both off and on the ice and this past weekend saw the team getting a little bit of ‘real game’ action with a pre-season against an experienced and older Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings squad and a lively instrasquad match on Saturday.
Falzone is looking forward to the opening weekend, Friday, and Saturday against the Chicago Cougars from the USPHL Midwest-East Division, but he knows things are still just getting started.
“Well, we have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Falzone in a video interview. “But it was good. Playing against the Riverkings gave the guys a chance to see what it’s going to be like.
“We have 16 rookies here so, the boys came along better than I thought they would, faster than I thought they would.”
The Ducks head into its first game week Monday and while please with the improvements made quickly, Falzone also admitted, “We have to work on everything.”
The Cougars, perennial division champions from the Midwest East and, like the Riverkings, and older, mature squad this season, promises a couple of tough opening tests.
Hopefully adding momentum and incentive for the local boys will be some big pieces of the team’s short history so far as a pair of Dells Ducks alumni teams will take the ice before the games Friday and Saturday.
Five former team captains and some of the best players ever to don the angry Duck will be in town this weekend at the Lake Delton Ice Arena in a game that will included coaches from both the Ducks (Anthony Rohde) and the Cougars (Johnny Schwarz).
Admission prices are the same for adults ($6) and Students ($3). Seniors and Veterans will be pleased to see a rare price drop as the price for both has been reduced to $3 for the upcoming season.