After a year in Irvine the San Diego Gulls return to the ice at Pechanga Arena

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 20:11:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After spending last season in Irvine, and playing in front of no fans due to COVID-19, the Gulls are back in San Diego as they get set to open the 2021-2022 season.

Now despite new COVID regulations this year at Pechanga Arena, the players say they expect to see the same passionate crowds.

"To be back in San Diego we are back in our environment where we can start putting those building blocks everyday," says Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard.

Defenseman Simon Benoit begins his fourth season with the Gulls and is glad to be playing hockey in America's Finest City.

"My first year I loved it here, so for me it's just back to the basics, going to the gym everyday and working hard."

The Gulls return to San Diego with new players, and a brand new head coach. That said, it's the same dream as in year's past, to win the Calder Cup Trophy.

"It's going to take a little while," said Bouchard. "My goal is to make sure they play with no questions in there head and no gray zone. Just all out and you can see their full potential."

The Gulls play their home opener at Pechanga Arena on October 22. For those fans that want to attend and go maskless, you must show proof of vaccination upon entry, or a negative COVID test taken 72 hours prior to the game. For the unvaccinated, masks must be worn.

As for the players, they are just excited to see Gulls fans back in the arena.

"Throughout California I think it's the best place to play. There is always a big crowd and everybody is cheering. So when you hit someone on the boards, for me it's fun to see all those people banging on the boards. It gives you a lot of energy."