BILOXI, Mississippi (WLOX) – For the first time in more than seven years, professional hockey will once again be played in southern Mississippi.
The announcement was made Thursday night to a sold-out crowd at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum as they gathered to watch the last of three scheduled minor league games.
The news was greeted with thunderous applause and screams from fans who had long awaited the return of hockey to the Gulf Coast.
On Thursday night, the Columbus River Dragons faced off against the Port Huron Prowlers, who wore alternate Mississippi Seawolves jerseys that were auctioned off in support of Youth for Christ. Columbus defeated Port Huron 2-1.
More than 20,000 people have gathered at the Colosseum in recent weeks to watch all three games of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. Biloxi was chosen as the neutral site to host all three games, giving officials a chance to see if hockey would still draw a crowd to southern Mississippi as it has in the past.
After those three minor league games, there is little doubt that the residents of the Gulf Coast want an expansion squad in Biloxi.
“We’re super excited for the Seawolves to come full time,” said one Vancleave fan. “We’ve been fans for years. We moved here in 2002 and are huge fans. We love Stephen Walby and all that kind of people, so we’re excited to bring this back. “
The Mississippi Seawolves first brought a professional ice hockey team to the Coliseum in 1996. The team made Biloxi their home for more than a decade, even once winning the Kelly Cup in what would become an iconic memory. for so many people on the coast. After taking two seasons off in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Seawolves ended their stay on the coast following the 2007-08 season.
The following year, a league change was announced for the 2009-2010 season, and the sport continued under the name Mississippi Surge. The Surge played at the Coliseum throughout the 2013-2014 season before coming to an end.
Coast Coliseum Executive Director Matt McDonnell said fans have done their part, and now it’s his team’s turn to start working to make that dream a reality. With details settled, McDonnell said fans can expect to see season tickets on sale.
To keep up with the latest Mississippi Wolves news, follow them on Facebook. You can also search for updates from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on their website to see when tickets go on sale for next year.
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