The fifth season of Steele County Blades junior hockey begins September 9-10 as they play at the Wisconsin Dells. The home opener is Saturday, October 15.

The Blades bring back a handful of players from last season's roster and have added players from other junior teams, college and some high school players. The team has been busy preparing for the season with multiple practices on some days as they implement a new defensive system, according to coach Nick Adamek.

He tells KRFO Radio that changes in their defensive zone play should lead to good scoring opportunities, "We're really excited for what we think the system can do for us. The biggest thing for it is, if you work hard as a five-man unit as a team, you'll get rewarded by exiting the zone and going to play offense."

The team will begins its first year under the ownership of the Iowa Wild AAA Hockey Club, who purchased the Blades from a local ownership group. Adamek is grateful to the previous owners, many of which are still working with the team. He says the support of the Iowa Wild AAA is a good progression for the Blades organization. He says they have been able to add staff in the areas of recruitment and scouting.

Adamek is looking forward to the weekend series at the Wisconsin Dells September 9-10 and expects "two hard-paced, fast hockey games." The Blades play at the Detroit Fighting Irish September 23-24 and at Blaine October 14 before opening their home season October 15-16 against the Dells Ducks at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. View the full schedule. The Blades are introducing new uniforms in recognition of their five-year anniversary.