Home Sports Professional Shreveport Mudbugs play home opener Thursday night

Shreveport Mudbugs play home opener Thursday night

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The Shreveport Mudbugs play their home opener Thursday night against the Lone Star Brahmas at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum.

The game starts at 7:11 p.m. The teams meet again Friday night at the same time.

The Brahmas’ head coach is former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs star Dan Wildfong.

Shreveport is 2-2 after splitting four games at the North American Hockey League’s season-opening event in Blaine, Minn. The Brahmas are 4-0-1.

Fans who haven’t been to Hirsch Coliseum in a while may not recognize it inside. It has undergone a privately-funded $2 million upgrade. There are new seats and boxes that include couches. There is also a new scoreboard. The walls have been freshly painted. There is new lighting. The roof, which leaked water on the floor during the state boys and girls basketball all-star games a few years ago, has been repaired.

The professional Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs were a local sports staple for 14 seasons. The played in Hirsch Coliseum from 1997-2000 under the name Shreveport Mudbugs. They became the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs when they moved to the CenturyLink Center the next season.

The new Shreveport Mudbugs are an expansion team in the NAHL. Encompass Sports, the ownership group, includes former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs owner Tommy Scott.

The NAHL is a Tier II junior league generally for players between 16 and 20 who are trying to reach the college or professional level. There are 24 teams in four divisions spread over the country. The Shreveport Mudbugs are in the South Division with Lone Star, the Amarillo Bulls, the Wichita Falls Wildcats, the Odessa Jackalopes, the Topeka Roadrunners and the Corpus Christi IceRays.

NAHL teams play a 60-game schedule.

The Mudbugs roster includes players from three countries and 14 states. Eleven are from Michigan.

Former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbug Karlis Zirnis is the head coach. Francis Anzalone is the associate head coach.

The general manager is former Bossier-Shreveport Mudbug player and coach Scott Muscutt. Former Mudbug Jason Campebell is director of operations.

— Staff Reports