New Mexico Ice Wolves
The world of hockey is filled with nail-biting, heart-stopping, and unforgettable moments. From buzzer-beating goals to miraculous comebacks, the sport has a way of captivating the hearts of fans around the world. And within the world of minor hockey, there are always upsets and wins that leave a lasting mark on the history of teams and players.
In the heart of the southwestern United States lies a state known for its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and now, a growing hockey community – New Mexico. Despite being surrounded by states with strong hockey traditions like Colorado and Arizona, New Mexico has made a name for itself in the world of minor hockey with its team, the New Mexico Ice Wolves.
Founded in 2019, the Ice Wolves compete in the North American Hockey League (HL), one of the top junior hockey leagues in the United States. In just a few short years, the team has already made a significant impact in the league, with memorable moments that have solidified their presence in New Mexico and the broader hockey community.
From historic upsets to impressive wins, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most memorable moments in New Mexico Ice Wolves history.
The First Win: A Moment to Remember
In September 2019, the New Mexico Ice Wolves hit the ice for their inaugural season. The team comprised of young, talented players from across North America, each with a unique story and an unwavering love for the game. The Ice Wolves’ first game was played on the road, but their first home game would prove to be a historic moment.
In front of a packed house at the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque, the Ice Wolves took on the Corpus Christi IceRays. The game was a hard-fought battle, with both teams trading goals throughout. But in the third period, the Ice Wolves found themselves down 3-2. With less than two minutes left in the game, forward Spencer Rudrud tied the game with a power-play goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
In a dramatic turn of events, forward Jack Bayless scored the game-winning goal in overtime, securing the Ice Wolves’ first-ever victory in front of their fans. The team’s celebration was not only a testament to their hard work and determination, but it also marked a moment in history for the state of New Mexico as the first-ever HL team to win a home game.
A Cinderella Season: From Underdogs to Playoffs
The 2019-2020 season was a unique one for the New Mexico Ice Wolves as they were a brand-new team in a competitive league. But despite the odds, the Ice Wolves showed their grit and determination, earning a spot in the playoffs as the fourth seed in their division.
In the playoffs, the Ice Wolves took on the Shreveport Mudbugs, the first seed in their division and a team with a strong history in the league. But the Ice Wolves did not back down. In an intense series that went the full five games, the Ice Wolves shocked the league by defeating the Mudbugs and advancing to the division finals.
While they fell short in the division finals, the Ice Wolves’ playoff run was a remarkable achievement and a defining moment in their history as a team. From being the underdogs to making it to the playoffs, they proved that anything is possible with hard work and determination.
A Historic Upset: Defeating the Defending Champions
In the 2020-2021 season, the New Mexico Ice Wolves faced another unique challenge – a shortened season due to the pandemic. Despite the adversity, the team remained focused and determined, with their sights set on making it to the playoffs once again.
In February 2021, the Ice Wolves faced the Amarillo Bulls, the defending champions of the HL. The Bulls had already defeated the Ice Wolves in all their previous matchups that season, and the odds were stacked against the young team once again.
But on this night, the Ice Wolves refused to go down without a fight. Trailing by two goals in the third period, the team rallied with four unanswered goals, ultimately defeating the Bulls by a score of 4-2. It was a historic upset, with the Ice Wolves becoming the first team in league history to defeat the defending champions in the regular season.
Looking Ahead: The Future of New Mexico Ice Wolves Hockey
With each passing season, the New Mexico Ice Wolves have solidified their presence in the North American Hockey League, and their future looks bright. From a memorable first win to a Cinderella playoff season and a historic upset, the team has given the state of New Mexico something to cheer for, and the broader hockey community has taken notice.
From parents to players, coaches to fans, the New Mexico Ice Wolves have brought a new level of excitement and passion to the state of New Mexico and the world of minor hockey. And as the team continues to grow and make history, there’s no telling what incredible moments are yet to come.