Summer's just about over and there's a chill in the air. Some may call it the beginning of fall, but for others, it's the beginning of hockey season. The time all hockey fans have been waiting for is finally here. For Sioux Falls, media day for the Stampede on Tuesday officially ushered in the new season.

The defending USHL champions are back in action ready to take another crack at the title. Last year the Stampede put up a very impressive season steamrolling through the post season and becoming just the second fourth seed all time to win the Clark Cup. It marked the second championship for the Stamped, the first came in 2007.

This season the Stampede will look to repeat their success from last year, but they will be doing so with some new faces. The team as a whole will actually look almost completely different from last year with new faces all around including the head coach position.

The Stampede will be handing the reigns to the all-time winning-est coach at Colorado College, Scott Owens. Scott Owens re-enters the league he knows very well where he won 179 games for the Buccaneers from 1995 to 1999 including Anderson and Clark Cup championship appearances in the 1998-99 season. Owens is excited to be back and can't wait to get to work.

"I'm very fond of the USHL. It's a wonderful league and I'm proud to be a part of it," said Owens.

Owens will need to work his first year magic to take this new faced, young team back to the promise land. Coach Owens is facing a team with a lot of turnover which presents a plethora of challenges including one that he intends on easily overcoming.

"One of the biggest challenges in this league is the turnover rate. Each year you lose a few players, even more after a championship win," Owens described.

"There are a lot of new and young players on this roster. Coming together as a cohesive and competitive team is the biggest challenge. We have to discover the strengths individually and as a team while winning games," stated Owens.

Aside from Tuomie, the Stampede will look to find their scoring identity. That is a big aspect of this year’s team that Coach Owens hopes to establish.

"We have an overall defense that is improving and our goaltender situation is solid, but this team is searching for its true scorers," said Owens.

Despite these challenges, both Owens and the Stampede see a successful season ahead of them. They may be young but they are skilled and as the Herd's top returning scorer Parker Tuomie stated "we're a unified team and unified teams play to the strengths of every player".  The Herd if nothing else have a tremendous amount of confidence that they will not just win games, but they will be a contender throughout the season. You could say that the mantra of this team is just that: all about the team concept.

From a new coach to rising new stars like Aaron Miller, this year’s squad will certainly be fun to watch. Fans will get more than they thought this season as they get to watch the team grow as a whole while watching some great hockey and it all kicks off tomorrow with cross interstate rival the Sioux City Musketeers. The puck is set to drop at 7:05pm at the Denny Sanford Premier Center and it is sure to be a great game.

An exciting new season of Stampede hockey is under way, so make sure you catch all of the action by joining the herd as they look towards another championship run.




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