Steele County Blades hockey hits the ice Wednesday, September 30 for their season opener in Minneapolis. While the start of the season might be close to normal, many other aspects of the season will have a different look and feel.

The team's opening game against the Minnesota Mullets was originally scheduled for Ridder Arena on Wednesday but got moved to Augsburg College as the University of Minnesota stated earlier this year that their facilities would not be available to outside groups. Wednesday's contest is a home game for the Mullets.

When the Blades open their home schedule Friday, October 9 at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna, attendance will be restricted to game volunteers, billet families and player families. The initial plan will not allow for general admission to games.

On the ice the team will have a different look as well with just a handful of returning players. Forward Connor Lee (Sydney, Australia) begins another season wearing the black and orange and is rejoined by forwards Seva Bannikov (Minsk, Belarus) and Cobie Morrisey (Cedar Falls, IA) and goalie Josh Brown (Minnetonka).

In a story on the United State Premier Hockey League (USPHL) website, Blades' coach Nick Adamek said, "We are excited for a fresh start to the 2020-21 season. We spent a lot of time this off-season making calls and watching film on potential athletes for our team. We have brought in many new faces with only a few returning players."

He added, "Our priority has been to bring in good personalities first, and active competitors second."

"We look for an expanded role with goaltender Josh Brown and forwards Seva Bannikov and Connor Lee. With a new D corps, we are excited to see what we can do on the back end."

Owatonna High School's Wyatt Oldefendt will likely play a split season with the Blades. The Huskies' senior is listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds as one of the bigger blue-liners. Steele County has several Faribault players on the roster with Noah Murphy, Zack Slinger, and Jordan Nawrocki. The roster includes players from around the state, around the country and several from foreign countries.

The early season schedule for the Steele County Blades:

  • Wednesday, Sept 30 vs MN Mullets, Augsburg, 12:30 pm
  • Friday, Oct 2/Saturday, Oct 3 at Dells Ducks, 7 pm
  • Friday, Oct 9 vs Hudson at Four Seasons Centre, 7 pm
  • Thursday, Oct 15 vs Dells Ducks at Four Seasons, 7 pm
  • Friday, Oct 16 vs Rochester at Four Seasons, 7 pm

See the Blades full schedule.