Most of the names and faces have changed in the locker room.

The coach is different. So is ownership.

But for Brent Bilodeau, a visit with the Johnstown Chiefs in Las Vegas brought back plenty of positive memories.

“Definitely seeing the colors is going to be a lot different,” said Bilodeau, a Las Vegas Wranglers assistant coach, prior to Tuesday’s game, which did not finish in time for this edition of The Tribune-Democrat. “There are not too many guys left on the team from when I was there. I had a good chat with the guys who were there last year. But other than that, it’s a new team.”

Bilodeau retired in April after spending six seasons as a Johnstown defenseman and playing in a Chiefs-record 414 games. The former NHL first-round draft pick moved to Las Vegas with his wife, Cass, a former WNBA player, and their infant twin sons, Tyler and Jacob.

“I’m learning a lot and having a lot of fun,” said Bilodeau, who assists Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan. “The best adjustment is not being in pain.”

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound former captain played 12 professional seasons and overcame the usual bumps, bruises and even breaks. A once life-threatening knee ailment put a road bump to a career that had been spent mostly at the IHL and AHL levels prior to 1999.

A quiet leader, Bilodeau was part of a core group of Chiefs that helped the team end a four-season playoff drought by advancing to the postseason during four of the past six years.

But his final season in Johnstown, which included two goals and 15 points in 67 games, was a difficult one.

“It was one of those things where, for a while, I couldn’t get off the couch without my knee being sore,” Bilodeau said. “At the end of last year, I could barely pick up my kids because I had a pretty bad wrist that was nearly broken. Both arms were sore, and I could barely hold a jug of milk. I knew it was time to hang them up. I was getting slower and slower and sorer and sorer.”

In Vegas, Bilodeau even produced a 2-0 mark in two games as interim head coach during a Gulutzan suspension.

“I was a little nervous at first,” he said. “There was a lot going on. By the time the second game came around, it was a little easier.”

It wasn’t easy facing his former team. But business is business.

“Cass and I were just talking the other day about Johnstown and how many good people are there,” Bilodeau said. “We miss Johnstown.”

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Nine men out: The Augusta Lynx temporarily lost nine Canadian-born players last weekend after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied the players’ petition for temporary employment in the United States.

The players were reinstated late Monday afternoon after their cases were approved by the immigration services.

Augusta coach Bob Ferguson made the most of the situation last Wednesday, adding six replacements to his roster. Some of those were playing adult league hockey. Others formerly had spent time in the ECHL, but had disappeared from the scene.

That didn’t matter as the Lynx went 2-1 and those replacements had their own brief moments in the spotlight.

“We had to scramble to find some available players on Thanksgiving weekend,” Ferguson said. “We found six players with experience who came in and did a good job of filling in for us. The players that were still eligible showed some character and adapted to the situation real well for us.”

Former Lynx fan favorite John Whitwell scored the game-winning goal in a shootout against Gwinnett. A broker for an Augusta bank, Whitwell once was a finance manager for an auto dealership after retiring from the Lynx.

David Maracle, who played three games for the Chiefs five years ago, scored twice in a win over Charlotte. Maracle had been playing for Ferguson’s brother in a men’s league in Ontario.

Brennan Lundberg, the older brother of Lynx defenseman Steve Lundberg, had been participating in a Boston men’s league and had no prior professional experience. He scored a goal against Gwinnett.

“To get two wins out of it, the players really, really stepped up and played with a lot of character,” Ferguson said.

The coach still enthusiastically welcomed back forwards Brian Passmore, Joe Pereira, Dan Sullivan, Nicholas Corbeil, Ryan Lang and Doug Wright, and defensemen Phil Cole, Martin Lapointe and Steve LeCuyer.

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Moving in: The Stockton Thunder organization occupied its new waterfront home, Stockton Arena, on Monday.

The arena’s grand opening will be Friday, with the first home game set for Dec. 10.

The Thunder opened the season with a 15-game road trip while awaiting the new 10,000-seat arena that is part of the Stockton Events Center. The new arena, convention center, parking garage and a minor league baseball stadium are part of the $126 million project.

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Royal rise: Reading has outscored opponents by a combined 37-13 during the Royals’ current seven-game winning streak. The Royals also moved to the top of the North Division, tied with Wheeling at 23 points.

Cody Rudkowsky is tied for the league lead with eight wins and is second with a 1.66 goals against average and .940 save percentage.

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