Hockey coming to Baton Rouge

The Raising Cane’s River Center will host three hockey games — one exhibition and two Federal Prospects Hockey League matchups this winter.

If attendance is strong, Baton Rouge could be awarded an expansion team in the Federal Prospects league for the 2023 season. The professional hockey team would be the first in the capital city since the Kingfish left Baton Rouge in 2003 after seven years.

“I want it. Certainly, the people here want it,” said owner Barry Soskin. “This is all about what the fans want. If the fans support this, we’ll have a team here. If the fans don’t support this, we’ll have three games, we’ll have some fun and we’ll be gone until somebody tries to do this again.”

Soskin said the Mississippi Sea Wolves will play the Carolina Thunderbirds in a Dec. 8th exhibition game, and the Port Huron Prowlers and the Mississippi Sea Wolves will play each other on Dec. 15 and on Jan. 2 in two neutral site games, that will have an impact on the standings.

Soskin owns the Port Huron Prowlers, based in Port Huron, Michigan; the Mississippi Sea Wolves, based in Biloxi; and the Carolina Thunderbirds, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

River Center General Manager Wayne Hodes said the building has about a 7,000-seat capacity for the hockey games.

“The possibilities of hockey making a comeback in Baton Rouge in 2023 is really exciting to me,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said. “I think it’s certainly time to bring back that pride and excitement and the possibility of a professional sporting team in the city of Baton Rouge means more family fun right here in the great capital city.”

The Baton Rouge Kingfish played in the East Coast Hockey League until the team moved to Victoria, British Columbia, after the 2002-03 season to become the Salmon Kings.

The Kingfish made the playoffs for three straight seasons from 98-99 through 2000-01. The team posted its best record in 2000-2001, a 35-26 mark.

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