The Steele County Blades junior hockey team opens their season Saturday, September 25 in Isanti against the Rum River Mallards. The season holds several intriguing aspects to it. A fourth-year veteran could move up the all-time chart in a couple of categories, fans should be back in the arenas with all 'home' games at home, and the team can circle January 23, 2022 on their calendars for a first-of-its-kind happening for junior hockey teams in Minnesota.

Blades coach Nick Adamek told the United States Premier Hockey League, "We are very excited to get going on this season. We have spent the off-season finding players that fit into the culture that we have been cultivating for the past couple of season - a culture that espouses family, preparedness, and buy-in. Last season, we had to learn through failure, and I'm hoping that this season's veterans can remember what it takes to be victorious in our always challenging division."

He cites a "solid core" as a reason to believe a great start could be ahead for the club. Connor Lee (Australia) enters his fourth season with the Blades. He is currently third on the all-time games played list with 125. He is fourth in all-time points in Blades' history with 88 points.

Adamek is also happy to have defenseman Evan Axell back after being a first-year captain. In goal, the Blades return a "very focused" Elliott Wrigley.

During the 2020-21 season teams were forced to improvise their schedule when Minnesota shut down hockey rinks. The Blades, and other teams in the Midwest West Division played 'home' games in Wisconsin. Steele County plays their home games at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. The home opener is set for Friday, October 8.

It was recently announced that the Blades and Minnesota Mullets will play an outdoor game during Hockey Day Minnesota in Mankato in January 2022. It will be the first time a junior game is featured during the annual celebration. The Blades and Mullets will square off at Blakeslee Stadium at Minnesota State University-Mankato on Sunday, January 23.

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