The Arizona Sundogs' home opener this Friday at Tim's Toyota Center promises more than just great ice hockey.
A passel of state leaders (maybe even Governor Jan Brewer), Olympic athletes and even the military are descending on Prescott Valley to watch the Sundogs skate onto the ice through their new "doghouse."
Festivities start with tailgating in the parking lot - whenever.
"Meet and Greet" Arizona politicians, such as Speaker of the House Andy Tobin and Rep. Steve Pierce, along with Team USA athletes from this past summer's London Olympic Games, inside on Tim's concourse at 5:45 p.m. Another Meet and Greet will take place after the game.
Arizona's Olympic athletes who accepted an invitation to the Sundogs game include: Kyle Alcorn, Diego Estrada, David McNeill and Georganne Moline.
All-American Alcon, the 2008 NCAA outdoor and indoor champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, holds Arizona State University's second-fastest time in school history (8:35.71). He also excelled in the 5,000-m. Alcorn majored in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on communication and business at ASU.
Estrada is the first Northern Arizona University Lumberjack to represent Mexico and the first to run in the 10,000-meters at the Olympic Games. He finished 21st with a time of 28:36. Between cross country and track, he has seven All-America awards and is a 3-time record holder at NAU. The senior is majoring in Spanish for secondary education.
McNeill competed for NAU from 2007-2010, and represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics, where he finished 29th in the 5,000-meter race, with 29:45. He was a 2-time NCAA champion and a 9-time All-American. He currently is pursuing his master's degree at NAU after graduating with a degree in exercise science.
Moline participated in her first international competition this past summer, earned a silver medal in the U.S. Olympic 400-m. hurdles trials and went on to place fifth, with a personal best time of 53.92 seconds at the 2012 Olympics. She competes for the University of Arizona Wildcats.
Opening ceremonies begin at 6:55 p.m. Hint: this involves Bradshaw Mountain High 2002 grad Greg Spiker.
Sgt. Spiker, 28, will wear his Air Force uniform for the last time on Friday. He's leaving next week for Ft. Rucker, Alabama, and the Army, where he will undergo Warrant Officer/Helicopter Pilot training, one of 30 selected from 690 applicants for the honor.
A paramedic and sharpshooter, Spiker has served three tours in Iraq and recently returned from deployment to Africa, where he was assigned to a SEAL team. He has earned two prestigious awards - the U.S. Air Force Weather Non Commissioned Officer of the Year and the Battlefield Weather NCO of the Year.
The puck drops between the Sundogs and the Missouri Mavericks at 7:05 p.m.
The 'Dogs are fired up for a win after a pair of road losses to the Americans of Allen, Texas. They fell 4-0 on Saturday, then lost in a shootout 4-3 on Sunday.