Hockey is back in Huntsville.
Saturday at the Von Braun Center, the Huntsville Havoc welcomed fans in for the first time since March, when the Southern Professional Hockey League suspended its season.
The team’s Red and Black Game — a free agent showcase — didn’t count for anything, but fans were still excited.
“I have chills,” Wendy Greene said, “and it’s not from the ice. It’s that I’m so excited.”
More than a thousand fans, like Greene, weathered the elements to watch the free agent scrimmage Saturday.
Though none of the players involved are technically part of the Havoc yet, Greene said there is still a lot of excitement with the game.
“Definitely,” she said. “Because these guys may show up with our Havoc so we want to be able to welcome them to our team.”
Even with the event’s capacity limited to about 1,200, new fans were all around.
“I’m a pretty new hockey fan, so I’m just trying to see what it’s all about,” Taj Smith said.
Smith and his friends said they just enjoy the opportunity to watch some live sports and get out in the community.
“After all this social distancing and what not, it’s really good to find some common ground to bring people together again and I know it’s like a smaller town with not a big sports team, but this is awesome,” Smith said. “Something to bring the community together.”
For the Havoc, President’s Cup Champions in 2018 and 2019, head coach Glenn Detulleo said will help the team find the pieces they need to build on their success.
“This is an opportunity to get eyeballs on 40 players,” he said. “You’re trying to just find those guys who might have those one or two qualities that would translate really well, would fit in with what we’re doing and help us win.”
The Havoc are set to officially begin the 2020 season on Dec. 26.