The Texas Tornado are off to a fast start in 2011-2012, posting a 6-1-1 record through the first eight games of the season. This weekend, Texas will play a Friday contest at Wichita Falls before returning home for a pair of games against the Topeka RoadRunners, with whom the Tornado are tied for second in the South Division. The two teams are just a single point behind Amarillo for the South Division lead, so this weekend has the potential to be a pivotal one in the early stages of the season.
But the storyline of the weekend extends from the ice to the bench, as well. Tornado head coach Tony Curtale comes into the weekend with 527 regular-season wins in his NAHL coaching career. That total puts him three wins shy of breaking the record held by Mike Hastings, who is currently an assistant at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Curtale began his NAHL coaching career with the Springfield Jr. Blues, spending five seasons behind their bench. After being named the first coach of the Texas Tornado in 1999, Curtale now finds himself on the precipice of history. A win in Friday’s game at Wichita Falls would make for a potentially momentous weekend back at Dr Pepper Arena. Home games on Saturday and Sunday give fans a chance to Curtale break, or at least tie, the record on the Tornado’s home ice.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)