I'm watching warmups here at Toyota Center before the Tri-City Americans home opener against the Spokane Chiefs.
The Americans are entering their 25th season in the Western Hockey League.
They have won their last 11 home openers — six of which were against Spokane.
In about 20 minutes, the Americans will introduce their 2012-13 team in the midst of flames (so I'm told), present the 2012 U.S. Division banner to the fans — with a little help from last's year's alternate captain Adam Hughesman.
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This is my 11st season covering the Americans. I never thought I'd surpass Eric Degerman, who covered team the first 10 years it was in the Tri-Cities. A big thanks to Degs for reading my 25th anniversary novel and adding a few touches about things that happened way before my time.
Degs may have a lock on the early history, but the team never won a banner when he followed them. For me, this is banner No. 5.
The lights are down and the fans are filing in and taking their seats.
Let's get this season started.
Follow me throughout the game on twitter at: @TCHIceQueen