Feb 15, 2022

Hey Cuda Country, Nick Nollenberger here. Hopefully, you had a great weekend and enjoyed the Super Bowl with friends and family. As a massive football fan and lover of buffalo wings, I can confirm Sunday was a great day. The Barracuda played just one game this week coming out of the All-Star break, falling 4-2 down in San Diego on Friday night. The two clubs will wrap up their eight-game season series on Wednesday at the SAP Center.

I think it’d be fair to say, the team deserved a better fate on Friday. The Barracuda outshot the Gulls 45-22, and 36-13 in the final two periods. They even went four-for-four on the penalty kill. But when you’re going through a sluggish stretch like the Barracuda are right now, losers of six straight, you rarely get the bounces or the puck luck. In the second period, Jasper Weatherby hit the post on a beautiful move in which he walked Gulls’ defenseman Brendan Guhle and then moved in all alone on Lukas Dostal. Then in the third period, John Leonard rang the iron on a five-on-three power play, all this while down 3-2. The Barracuda couldn’t get the equalizer and San Diego would seal the win with an empty netter.

As a broadcaster we’re often feeling the same emotions the fans are, so Friday’s loss felt worse than the others. The Gulls are one of the teams, along with Tucson, that the Barracuda are competing with for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Coming out of the break and to play like that and not win, that was a tough pill to swallow. What made it worse, is the team is now 1-6 against the Gulls this year.

No matter what transpires for the Barracuda in its final 28 games, I’ll leave you with this. The AHL is very much a year-to-year league. Rosters usually flip by more than 50% from each campaign, so its not uncommon to go from worst to first quickly. For example, the Stockton Heat finished dead last in the AHL’s Canadian Division last year and are now pacing the Pacific this year. The Ontario Reign finished second to last in the Pac in 2020-21 and have been neck and neck with Stockton all year. Not throwing the towel in just yet, but just saying.

Ok, enough with the present. Let’s take a peak into the near future. In this edition of Nolly's Notes, I want to talk about two different topics. First, the new arena. Let’s be honest, the new arena is probably going to come up in every one of these. And two, we’re heading back to the frozen tundra this weekend. Aka, Cedar Park, Texas. As most of you remember last February, the team was in Texas to take on the Texas Stars, and the entire state suffered severe winter storms which caused devastating power outages, flights cancelations, food and water shortages, road closures, etc. You name it and it happened. I’ve probably still got PTSD from when our bus hit the guardrail, while slipping on ice, on a 100+ foot overpass. Crossing my fingers, but the weather does look a lot more welcoming this time around.

Let’s start with the new arena. I was able to take a behind-the-scenes tour the other week with the goal of providing fans with an update of the team’s future barn. Construction is still very much going on, but the bones of the facility are in place and things are starting to really take shape. A big thank you to Connor Shellito, who’s a project engineer for Devcon, for the tour. He provided great insight into how things will form over the next few months. Keep an eye out for communication on our select-a-seat event which will be coming up near the end of March.


While the Barracuda, Henderson Silver Knights, and Coachella Valley Firebirds continue the construction of their future homes, there’s another hockey arena being constructed that has made a lot of headlines over the last couple of weeks. The Coyotes are expecting to move into Arizona State’s 5,000 seat arena next year while they sort out a future long-term arena plan in the desert. The smallest NHL arena currently is Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg. It holds 15,321. The Coyotes home will be a third of that. To give additional perspective, the Tucson Convention Center, the home of the Roadrunners, holds 9,275. So, in good fun, Cuda social was feeling a little frisky yesterday when the Desert Dogs posted a video of the construction progress, and well, it got a bit of a reaction around the hockey world.

It’s all in good fun. I think the Coyotes staying in Arizona is a good thing for the league and sport. So, if they’ve got to take a little abuse to secure a new arena in a better location than where they're at in Glendale right now, then so be it.

That doesn’t mean they’re not going to take some flak for it though.

Last, we’re heading back to the Lone Star State. It’ll be good to get out of the division with a pair of games against the Stars in one of the best arenas we'll visit all year. But this weekend’s games at the H-E-B Center will certainly bring back some incredible memories from a year ago. This year I’m packing warmer clothes and maybe even a Firestarter to be safe.

That’ll do it for this week’s edition of Nolly’s Notes. I’m Nick Nollenberger, saying, thanks for reading and so long until next time.

Back to All