NORFOLK (WAVY) – The wait is almost over and Norfolk Admirals hockey is set to make its return to the ice this fall. The team announced its 2021-22 schedule on Tuesday, with the season and home opener set for Oct. 22.

“We’re really pumped,” said head coach Rod “The Rocket” Taylor.

Ryan McGinnis, the team’s general manager, pointed out how the schedule sets up well for both the team and area hockey fans. “It checks a lot of boxes,” said McGinnis. “One being we wanted to start on the road. Generally what that would mean at that point is you’re going to be back-dated with home dates and home games down the stretch, which is very important; whether it be leading into the playoffs, whether it be the fans being more accessible to games in the January, February, March timeframe, and that we’ve done.”

The Admirals starting date will mark 616 days since they last took the ice. The remainder of the 2019-20 ECHL season was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the Admirals opted not to play last season because of case spikes and limited seating capacity allowed.

Despite a long layoff, Taylor believes Hampton Roads is still hungry for hockey.

“I’ve seen it,” said Taylor. “I ‘ve seen it happen and I want to bring that back, that excitement. Are we there yet? No, it’s a progress we have to work with, but I do feel this is a hockey town. I’ve seen it and we can get there.”