ODESSA- 20 years ago, hockey was introduced to a football crazy town and the rest is history.
The Odessa Jackalopes celebrated their 20th anniversary by bringing some old greats back for an alumni game against Texas Tech on Saturday.
"What's amazing is that this community has been able to let hockey live here for 20 years and it's still alive now and it's still doing very well," Former Jackalopes Coach Don McKee said.
For many guys it's surreal to be back inside Ector County Coliseum with their families and the teamates who have become family themselves
"It's a good opportunity just for like my kids to see me play," Former Jackalope Donnie Margettie said. "My kids haven't seen me play before and just seeing all these guys with little kids now and you know it's a special time for us just to get together and just talk about memories."
"It's more of a family expercience now, than it is an individual experience, Former Jackalope Shayne LeBreton said. "Your children get to see where you played and where the stories originated and all that kind of stuff so it's a lot of fun."
In 2017 a lot has changed for the jackalopes, but the mission is still the same and that is to put great talent on the ice in odessa all while opening the door to future opportunities.
"Obviously the game's changed," Jackalopes Owner and former player Adam Doyle said. "There's a lot of physicallity back then and that was the big appeal to the crowds and now we have a great product on the ice. It's speed and it's skill and we're sending kids on to good college programs, so it's good."
"I played with Adam Doyle and Donnie Margettie and Adam is a big reason why I'm back here. My wife's from San Antonio," Jackalopes Head Coach Greg Gatto said. "I just love the people and I love the atmoshphere. I love playing in this rink and now I get to coach in this rink and try to get kids to move on to the next level."
Two decades later West Texas hockey has become a lasting tradition.
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