WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Wild will rack up plenty of sky miles in the 2013-14 season.
With the departure of the original Wenatchee Wild team from the North American Hockey League West Division, there are only three teams left, which isn’t enough to compete as a separate division.
Head coach Bliss Littler said the team is uncertain which league it will belong to in a press conference addressing fans and media Wednesday at Town Toyota Center.
The former Fresno Monsters franchise, which relocated to Wenatchee after the other team’s departure, was the only opponent in the West division close enough for the Wild to bus to.
Littler said he expects to face a variety of new competition this season and both he and team owner David White said the NAHL is working to expand the league’s presence out west.
“There’s a lot of work behind the scenes being done to increase the footprint in the west,” White said.
Team officials expect the NAHL to unveil a plan to address the franchise’s divisional issues in the next few days, but expect to face the other two former west division teams — the Kenai River Brown Bears and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs — on a regular basis this year.
Littler fielded a number of questions from fans, including the future of Walt, the previous regime’s popular mascot.
“I heard Walt is up in the woods some place,” Littler joked, while White added he hopes to bring the mascot back to town.
While the mascot’s future in Wenatchee is up in the air, the team still has plenty of work to do regarding its roster.
The team has a list of 30 players after the NAHL draft and hopes to add eight or nine veteran junior hockey players to its ranks.
Littler and his coaching staff are in the process of enlisting former Fresno Monsters players and Littler said that process could take several weeks to pan out.
The veteran junior hockey coach again voiced confidence in the team’s ability to compete, despite the rebuilding phase.
“We’ll figure out a way to put it together,” he said. “… We’ll have a team that you’ll be proud of, that’s for sure.”
Jon Frank: @JFrankWW