Here is a look at the 10 teams the Salt Lake Golden Eagles will be facing over the next six months.


Name: Roadrunners

Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

NHL Affiliate: Los Angeles Kings

Entered IHL: 1989-90

Arena: Veteran's Memorial Coliseum (Capacity 13,737)

Coach: Ralph Backstrom

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: 27-44 /Fifth in West

1990-91 Preview: After just barely missing the playoffs last year in their expansion season, operating as an independent, the 'Runners signed a full working agreement with the L. A. Kings for this season . . . also new is the coach, Ralph Backstrom, although he'll be assisted by 89-90 coach Garry Unger. Both Backstrom and Unger have long NHL backgrounds, with Backstrom playing on six Stanley Cup champion teams with Montreal. More recently he was coaching at Denver University for nine seasons. Early assignment to Phoenix from the Kings included last year's IHL and Golden Eagle penalty minute leader Rich Hayward; center Mike Allison, who's played 499 games in the NHL (his brother Dave is the coach in Albany); and defenseman Kevin MacDonald, Phoenix' toughest defenseman before he went down with an injury late last year.

Once again, Phoenix and Salt Lake see a lot of one another, playing 16 times this season (down from 24 meetings last season).

San Diego

Name: Gulls

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

NHL Affiliate: Independent (partial with Detroit)

Entered IHL: 1990-91 Expansion

Team Arena: San Diego Sports Arena (Capacity: 13,200)

Coach: Mike O'Connell

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: (did not play)

1990-91 Preview: New Gulls coach Mike O'Connell, fresh off a 12-year NHL career as a defenseman and veteran IHL General Manager/Coach Don Waddell got very busy signing players for the new Gulls. Five of those players - Larry Floyd, Jim McGeough, Dave Korol, Carl Mokosak, and Robbie Nichols - will be familiar with Salt Lake since they played with a Phoenix team that met the Golden Eagles 24 times last season.

Veteran left wing Charlie Simmer, a CHL All-Star with the Golden Eagles in 76-77 before he went on to NHL fame, has signed on as a player/coach.

Right wing Darren Lowe scored 31 goals in 67 games for Flint last year. O'Connell, who played with Detroit the last four and a half seasons, used his Red Wings connections to secure a player agreement that should put about seven Detroit prospects in San Diego. Kansas City

Name: Blades

Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

NHL Affiliates: Edmonton/Hartford

Entered IHL: 1990-91 Expansion

Team Arena: Kemper Arena (Capacity 16,000)

Coach: Doug Soetaert

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: (did not play)

1990-91 Preview: The Blades began as an independent, but have picked up partial player agreements with Hartford and Edmonton of the NHL over the summer. That didn't stop them from signing their own players, among them standout goalie Randy Exelby (with Phoenix last year and AHL-MVP goalie the previous year). They also signed 27 year-old center Ron Handy, an established IHL scorer who has average over 100 points-per-season in stints with Indianapolis, Peoria, and Fort Wayne the past 4 years.

Forward Rick Barkovich from last year's Golden Eagles is another Blade signee, as is ex-Golden Eagle defenseman Claude Julien, who is 32 years-old and played with the Golden Eagles in 1981-82 and 82-83 and has since spent his time in the AHL with a brief stop with Quebec in the NHL.

The coach is Doug Soetaert, who was coach of the now disbanded Colorado Rangers two years ago. Milwaukee

Name: Admirals

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.

NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks

Entered IHL: 1977-78

Arena: Bradley Center (Capacity: 17,845)

Coach: Mike Murphy

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: 36-39 third in West

1990-91 Preview: One of Salt Lake's biggest rivals in past years, the Admirals and Golden Eagles meet just seven times this season. New behind the bench is coach Mike Murphy, a former head coach in the NHL with the L. A. Kings (finishing the 86-87 season with a 20-38-11 record). Murphy has been an assistant coach with Vancouver since 1988. He was a right wing in the NHL, playing with St. Louis, NY Rangers, and the last 10 seasons of his playing days with the Kings.


Name: Lumberjacks

Hometown: Muskegon, Mich.

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh, Penquins

Entered IHL: 1970-61

Arena: L. C. Walker Arena (Capacity 5,043)

Coach: Blair MacDonald

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: 31-38 /fourth in West

1989-91 Preview: Since becoming the Lumberjacks in 1984-85 (previous Muskegon IHL clubs were known as the Mohawks and Zephyrs), this franchise has never finished lower than 2nd overall and have won the East Division title six straight years! Last season, their 116 points during the regular season was best in the league and they went to the Turner Cup finals trying to repeat as league champs, but were wiped out in four straight games by Indianapolis.

A combination of Muskegon holdovers and Pittsburgh players have proven a winning combination. Early assignees from the Penguins camp included center Jock Callander (78 points in just 46 games with Muskegon last year), feisty right wing Mitch Wilson (238 penalty minutes in 89-90), and veteran defensemen Mike Mersch and Scott Shaunessy.

Peoria Name: Rivermen

Hometown: Peoria, Ill.

NHL Affiliate: St. Louis Blues Entered IHL: 1984-85

Arena: Peoria Civic Center (Capacity: 9,070)

Coach: Bob Plager

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: 31-38 /fourth in West

1990-91 Preview: A former Golden Eagles coach - Wayne Thomas - left the Rivermen for an assignment to parent St. Louis as an assistant. He was replaced by another ex-Golden Eagles coach: Bob Plager. Plager coached Salt Lake during the 1977-78 season when his brother, the late Barclay Plager, was promoted to St. Louis. Plager retains his St. Louis titles of Vice-president and Director of Player Development.

Plager played for St. Louis for 11 seasons as a tough defenseman. Center Michel Mongeau, who led all IHL scorers with 117 points, returns. The Rivermen should be strong in goal, with the likes of Guy Hebert, Pat Jablonski and Curtis Joseph to choose from.


Name: Choppers Hometown: Albany, N.Y.

NHL Affiliate: (Independent)

Entered IHL: 1990-91 Expansion

Team Arena: Knickerbocker Arena (Capacity: 15,000)

Coach: Dave Allison

1989-90 Team Record/Standing: (did not play)

1990-91 Preview: This is the league's furthest eastern team, but they'll play the Golden Eagles eight times - four in each city. The unusual team name comes from Price Chopper Supermarkets, a big east coast chain that has a heavy advertising investment in the team.

The coach is Dave Allison, a former IHL player known as a rough and tumble defenseman in both the IHL and American Hockey Leagues.

See TEAMS on E6