The Newfoundland Growlers open their 2023-24 season on home ice against a major North Division rival as they host the Reading Royals in a three-game set beginning on Friday night at Mary Brown’s Centre.
Newfoundland head into their fifth season of ECHL hockey a largely unfamiliar outfit as many of the team’s veteran players and its coaching staff have moved on or decided to call it a career.
With a series of fresh faces both on the bench and the ice in this new Growlers group, fans can once again expect plenty of speed and skill but don’t be shocked to see a little more sandpaper from the 2023-24 edition under new Head Coach Matt Cooke.
Reading for the second straight offseason have lost several of their key contributors but have once again managed to make some notable additions under second year Head Coach James Henry.
A top two team in the North Division in each of the last three seasons, expect the Royals to be one of the Growlers better tests all season long as they square off a total of eight times in the next four months.
The last time these two teams met was back on May 13 at the Mary Brown’s Centre where Newfoundland secured a 5-2 win to eliminate Reading in five games in the North Division final – the second straight season the Growlers knocked the Royals out of the Kelly Cup playoffs.
Despite roster turnover on both sides over the summer, the history between these two teams should see this season opening series played with plenty of intensity.
Puck drops is set for 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evening, while the action gets underway at 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. Growlers fans can watch all three games live on FloSports (subscription required), listen to the call on Mixlr, or follow along on Twitter (@NLGrowlers) for game updates and highlights. Tickets for all three games can be purchased at nlgrowlers.com/tickets.
WHO TO WATCH:
NFL – Jackson Berezowski (F): With the departure of Pavel Gogolev, Zach O’Brien and other point producing Growlers of the past, some fans may be wondering where the offence will come in 2023-24 for Newfoundland. Graduating from junior as the Everett Silvertips (WHL) all-time leading goal scorer, Berezowski seems as strong a candidate as any to help find a fresh offensive spark this season.
REA – Ryan Chyzowski (F): Growlers fans should recognize this name as Chyzowski previously suited up for Newfoundland for parts of the last two seasons. After signing with Lehigh Valley (AHL) in the offseason, the 23-year-old Centre has landed in Reading and could prove a problem for his old club this weekend.