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Stockton Hockey Fans Anticipate New Team's Season Home Opener

Asvitt Photography / Courtesy

Asvitt Photography / Courtesy

Stockton's long-time pro hockey team, the Thunder, has been replaced by the Heat, which plays its season home opener this coming Saturday. 

Fans lined up for player autographs at the Stockton Indoor Area last week.

The Stockton Heat, an affiliate of the Calgary Flames, is the city's hockey team, and the competition rises to the equivalent of a triple A team as part of the American Hockey League. 

Jack Lima is a season ticket holder and is excited about the upcoming season.

"Higher level of hockey and I think it's going to be a good year. I'm just happy to have a hockey team here," says Lima. 

Brandon Kisker with the Stockton Heat says California now has 8 teams in the NHL and AHL, more teams than any other state.

"How cool is it that the people in California they come out and support hockey and they love it," says Kisker. "I'm starting to see more youngsters go and gravitate to the sport. "

Fan attendance set records with the Thunder, and Kisker says he expects the Heat will surpass those numbers.

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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