It’s been 25 years since NHL teams played in Boise. That streak will end in October

·2 min read
Sarah A. Miller/smiller@idahostatesman.com

The first hockey game played in Idaho Central Arena pitted the San Jose Sharks and and Los Angeles Kings in 1997.

Twenty-five years later, NHL hockey will return to Boise.

The arena, home to the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, will play host to the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights in an exhibition game on Oct. 8, announced Eric Trapp, president of Idaho Sports Properties, on Wednesday.

“We couldn’t be more proud to bring NHL hockey back to Boise,” Trapp told a small group of fans gathered at the arena on Wednesday. “We’re in the hockey business, and anytime you can bring NHL talent to town, it just gets fans that much more excited.”

Arizona will be the home team, and the first puck will drop at 6 p.m. on that Saturday. Tickets will range from $45-$100, and Steelheads season ticket holders will have first rights until Aug. 3. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Aug. 10.

“It’s not often we here in the Treasure Valley get to see this kind of talent on the ice,” Trapp said. “In the end, people are going to see great-quality hockey, and it will be something we haven’t seen here in 25 years.”

It’s no easy task to bring NHL teams to Boise, Trapp said. Many clubs already have their schedules set. Others want to play closer to their home market in the preseason.

Fans in Boise thought they were going to see an NHL game in 2012, but the Minnesota Wild-Dallas Stars exhibition contest was canceled because of a lockout by NHL owners.

The Steelheads have been an affiliate of Dallas since the 2003-04 season, and the team came to Boise for training camp in 2017, but played only an intrasquad scrimmage.

Trapp said the Steelheads got a little lucky in landing Arizona and Vegas. Both had an open date on their schedules, and Arizona was in search of a game on the road after losing its home arena, Gila River Arena, earlier this year when the city of Glendale, Arizona, opted not to renew its lease.

The Coyotes went 25-50 last season and finished in eighth place in the NHL’s Central Division. The Knights — who joined the NHL as an expansion franchise in 2017 and made the Stanley Cup Finals in their very first season — went 43-31 and finished fourth in the Pacific Division, just missing the playoffs.

The Steelheads’ 2022 home opener is scheduled for Oct. 28 against the Utah Grizzlies.

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