The Tri-City Outlaws will open their inaugural season in the NORPAC tonight, hosting the Bellingham Blazers at Toyota Arena.
The Blazers will stick around for a second game Saturday, then the Outlaws will hop on the bus for their first road game, taking on the West Sound Warriors on Sunday at Bremerton Rink.
The Outlaws feature a mix of 12 local players, two from Moses Lake, two from Boise, two from the Portland area, two from Nevada, two from the Spokane area and one from Los Angeles.
“This team is on the younger end of things,” said Outlaws owner Jordan Owen, who noted his players average 17 years old. “I’m surprised how well they have come together. At first, we only had three defensemen and a couple of forwards had to transition back. Our goaltending is strong with Samuel Anderson and Tyler Pearson. Riley Poe is still hanging in there. They are all strong goaltenders. Anderson and Poe have junior experience and Pearson is coming off a U-18 team in Los Angeles.”
Bellingham, like Tri-City, is in its first year in the NORPAC after getting approval to join the league in June.
Tonight’s game also will be a fundraiser for former Tri-City Titans hockey player Gregg Warehime, who was shot Dec. 8 by a neighbor and left paralyzed from the waist down.
“I know Gregg from (Southridge) high school and we grew up playing together,” Owen said. “That’s the beauty of having a team, you can decide who you want to help out. I called the Warehimes and they were more than excited for us to help.”
There will be a silent auction, donations and the proceeds from the chuck-a-puck will go to Warehime. There also will be a ceremonial puck drop and the Outlaws will present Warehime with a team jersey.
Tri-City Outlaws roster
Goalies — Tyler Pearson, Los Angeles; Samuel Anderson, Portland; Riley Poe, Boise. Defensemen — James Williams, Richland; Antonio Torres, Richland; Jason Shuck, Kennewick; Chace Epler, Spokane; Adam Moon, Boise; Travis Questad, Kennewick. Forwards — David Sparkes, Pasco; Riley Ollero, Kennewick; Charles Ronkon, Las Vegas; Devan Beck, Kennewick; Brett Myer, Richland; Aaron Questad, Kennewick; Josh Reavy, Fallon, Nev.; Mikey Doubrava, Kennewick; Jordan Tuttle, Liberty Lake, Wa.; Alexander Higley, Kennewick; Bo Bettinson, Kennewick; Tanner Ward, Beaverton, Ore.; Lucas Whipple, Moses Lake; Zach Swanson, Moses Lake.