1-on-1 with Bob Hoffman

Roadrunners President Bob Hoffman joined Adrian Denny, Kim Cota-Robles and Brett Fera on this week’s edition of Roadrunners Happy Hour to preview the season and Saturday’s home opener. Catch Happy Hour every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450 AM and the Roadrunners Happy Hour Podcast on the iHeartRadio app.

Listen to “Opening Weekend With The President” on Spreaker.

Let’s lead off with the hockey. It was a good weekend for the Roadrunners, it’s a team that has four components to it. Our prospects who we’ve grown into third and fourth-year players, our new prospects, recently drafted, and some guys that caused problems around the American Hockey League for us that are now on our side.

Going into this weekend it was interesting because on paper you saw the depth, you saw the American Hockey League talent of guys that have two or three years under their belt playing in the AHL. The goaltending nemesis that we saw in Ontario (Matt Villalta) for many years along with the Justin Kirklands of the world and JohnLeonard. There are a lot of really good players that have done things in the AHL and then they come over to us and make great pieces for this Roadrunners lineup to accent those first and second year younger players and the prospects that we’ve been developing. I was overly impressed with how they played. More so the little things that you don’t typically see in the start of the season.

Bob, always exciting, the player Red Carpet Walk and Tailgate starting 4:00 PM just creates the buzz that we’ll bring inside and look to win another home opener.

We love getting things started and that home opener will always have a special place. Come and enjoy the tailgate. It will be beautiful weather. Hang out before the game, see the players walk the red carpet, and then come see a great show against, who was ultimately, the best in the west last year. A team in Coachella Valley that did things last year, in an expansion year, that teams hadn’t done. I’m excited to get that underway and go out there and make a statement against Coachella Valley and see what this team can do at home. It’s a great opportunity to get off to a great start.

What is the one thing that you’re most looking forward to this season?

I think we’ve already talked a little bit about it, but this new team. I want to see these new guys on the ice, see how they perform in front of the home fans now, they’ve got the two wins under their belt. Now, you always want to go win a home opener. I’m excited to see the team on the ice and see how they perform. Just to see hockey back in Tucson Arena, I think is going to be really good. We had a great preseason game that had a lot of energy. I want to see that carried over to Saturday and see how we can do at the American League level now as we got that NHL game out of the way. It’s just funny, you always start a year thinking of what could be and what’s April going to bring and what’s May going to bring, but it all starts right here at game one and to get that first home game under your belt it could be magical and the part of a very storied season. I’m also super thrilled to see the Dylan Guenther era here in Tucson and what that’s going to mean and what it will bring. We could be on the verge of something really special.

We have six-straight home games here after opening on the road and you look back, this is a team and organization that has been on the road for a lot of this. Starting in September in Vegas at the Rookie Tournament, then a lot of the guys went to Australia and half of the group stayed here in the US. To be able to get settled in Tucson and play three-straight weekends, it comes at a great time just for our fans to get in touch with this great, exciting team that we see starting the season 2-0 and for our guys to be able to get settled in their home for a little bit of time

The way the schedule sets up this year is pretty close to perfect. I never mind starting on the road because it builds some comradery and it gets the team a little bit closer. With so many new guys, they get to know each other a bit more out of camp. They can see who they can rely on and how they can rely on their teammates in the game. Starting on the road is never a bad thing to me, especially when you can go win them both. You know, in a perfect world, splitting those would have been great but, winning them both is fantastic. Now, you get to come home and you get to spend three-straight weeks here in Tucson. To get to learn more about your town and learn about your fans; make sure your apartment is set up and those things that are off the ice that you need to have the balance in mind when it comes to the rink, when it comes to practice; but when you also go home and how to have that balance of where you’re living and getting to know your town and if you’re returning; to go see your favorite restaurants and you favorite people and places again. It’s nice to have that consistency because a lot of times what would happen is we may be home for the Saturday and the Kids Day Game but then we’d be right back out in Iowa or Chicago the next week

One of the things that we know fans love are the jerseys. Last time you were with us, you kind of hinted at some possible jersey reveals. Is there anything that you can share with us about those?

We’ve got some great ones. There will be a total of nine different jerseys that fans will be able to see throughout the year for the Roadrunners. A couple are warmup jerseys that are part of charity auctions that we’ll be doing, they look fantastic. That part is exciting, the El Lazo jersey is a part of our DNA now and it’s back. We have a different alteration of the Kachina that fans will see in about Mid-November. Our Military Appreciation Jersey will be coming up here in early November for military appreciation night. I think it is one of the best military jerseys that we have ever worn. It’s more geared towards the Air Force and recognizing Davis-Montham Air Force Base here but it does have a touch to all branches so we’re excited about that. Coming up here in early November, we’ll be announcing the specialty jerseys for the second half of the season so I’ll keep you guys hanging on that one.

Who do you think is going to score the first goal on Saturday?

It’s the Dylan Guenther Era and it’s only fitting I think for him to repeat what he did on Saturday and let’s get a little bit of a breakaway and a shake and bake and bury it. I think Dylan Guenther will be my pick.