TUCSON, Ariz — While the Tucson Roadrunners are in their third season, the Phoenix Roadrunners played minor league hockey for thirty five years. Beginning in 1967, they were the state's first professional hockey team.
"We really wanted to honor our past," said Mark Iralson, the Roadrunners director of marketing.
Thanks in part to Iralson, Tucson will wear the old Phoenix Roadrunners jerseys for its Saturday night game against Colorado.
"To be able to wear that jersey and to own the Roadrunners name and be part of it, it is something special to us," said Iralson.
Several former Phoenix Roadrunners will be part of the ceremonial puck drop. Those don't include Wayne Gretzky, who actually put on a Roadrunner sweater one night as part of a preseason promotion.
"He played one period with the Roadrunners," added Iralson. "You can't get any bigger than the great one."
Roadrunners assistant coach John Slaney is also a former Phoenix Roadrunner.
"It's always nice to see the old jerseys," said Slaney. "It brings back memories of the guys, and memories of the game."
And even if the biggest difference between the two jerseys is the color, copying is the most sincere form of flattery.
"If you really look at the two logos, we took the original look," said Iralson.
So even if the city and era might be different, some things are still the same, whether it be in Tucson, or in Phoenix.