Darren Abate / Rampage Team Photographer
Photo Credit: Darren Abate / Rampage Team Photographer and Associated Press
The San Antonio Rampage open up their 2013-14 American Hockey League (AHL) season this Friday at the AT&T Center against the Chicago Wolves. This will be the Rampage’s 12th season in the AHL.
Last season, the Rampage finished 29-38, fifth overall in the South Division with a total of 67 points. The Rampage has undergone some “reconstruction” with Peter Horacheck leading the team as the new head coach. Former head coach Chuck Weber had his role expanded to the San Antonio Director of Hockey Operations and Associate Head Coach.
“I have been wanting to be the coach, having the say of who is doing what. It’s a great thrill,” Horacheck said. “I like whom I am working with. Chuck (Weber) and I have a great relationship. We go way back. He has been a great help for me. ”
Horacheck is joining the Rampage after nine seasons with the Nashville Predators, the last two as an associate coach. He helped the Predators make the playoffs seven times during that stretch
The Rampage will be playing in the renamed Western Conference West Division that includes the Abbotsford Heat, Charlotte Checkers, Oklahoma City Barons, and Texas Stars. The changes also means the Rampage will be traveling more miles than any other team in their division.
“If you’re going to be successful, you just can’t win at home,” Horacheck said. “We want to have one of the best home records with the great crowds that we have, but we also want to be well over .500 on the road. If you want to be a play-off team, if you want to have success in the playoffs — you have to win on the road.”
There will be some new faces joining the Rampage roster that plan on making strong impressions in their new city.
Erik Gudbranson of Ontario, Canada was selected third overall by Rampage parent-club Florida Panthers in 2010. San Antonio acquired the defensemen who played in 32 games for the Panthers last season.
Vince Trocheck of Pittsburgh makes his debut on the Rampage roster. The 21-year-old Trocheck was the 64th overall pick of the 2011 NHL draft.
“Growing up, I always try to model by game after Peter Forsberg,” Trocheck said. “He was always my favorite player.”
Last season, Trocheck played for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit where he was named to the OHL’s first All-Star Team. Trocheck is not feeling any pressure in his first season as an AHL player.
”I don’t really have any expectations,” Trocheck said. “It’s kind of go in there blind and work as hard as I can to try to produce as much.”
The puck is set to drop on the season at 7:30 p.m.