Our Peoria road trips have roots back in to the mid nineties, when we started following the phenomenal coaching career of Don Granato. Donny took the Green Bay Gamblers, a last place expansion Junior team, and won 2 National Championships. The Duffers went to Green Bay on January 20, 1995 GreenBay1-15-95. We returned to Green Bay in December of that year GreenBay12-95. and again in November of 1996.
Don was rewarded with the Head coaching position of the ECHL Columbus Chill. The Duffers flew to Columbus, Ohio on January 29, 1999, to watch Donny Granato’s Chill mix it up with the Chiefs! That is where we met Jason Christie. Beer Nuts kept calling him Stacy.
Peoria Trip Number 1
April 2, 1999 Duffers make their first trip to Peoria as Chill Coach Granato gives his practice ice to the Duffers. Stump stops 50 shots, Harvey scores.
Peoria Trip Number 2
November 13, 1999 First Duffer trip to Peoria with Granato as Rivermen Coach. The Anvil shines and Bob Plager entertains.
Peoria Trip Number 3
January 28, 2000 The Alien stops the Rivermen’s 10 game winning streak as Duffers get 15 to cheer on the Rivermen. Alien went home Saturday and the Rivermen started a new streak. Art Koudelka becomes the Official Peoria Duffer organizer. Art provides us with goalies and players as needed. King tries to eat a bowl of gravy and Berserk loses his shoes.
Peoria Trip Number 4
June 1, 2000 Beak, Beer nuts and Frank drink from the Kelly cup that was won by Don Granato’s Peoria Rivermen. The Three Duffers were presented with game pucks for their support. Player coach Jason Christie was named MVP! a month later, Don Granato is named head coach of the Worcester Ice Cats. We were happy for Don, but we were sorry to lose our Rivermen connection. A week later, the Duffers cheered as Jason Christie is named head coach of the Peoria Rivermen.
Peoria Trip Number 5
November 18, /2000 Duffers present Jason Christie with a Duffer Jacket thanks to Clubhouse Designs and Uncle Bob. Jason gives Duffers a tour of his $375,000 Rivermen Coach.
Peoria Trip Number 6
March 31, 2001 Duffers help Jason Christie and the Rivermen celebrate 100 wins and first place finish. Eddie The Anvil made so many saves on Friday that he skipped the bar and went straight to bed. That turned out to be a good move, because he would be called on to make another 100 saves in Peoria. The Duffer Travel team roster included The Anvil, Beer-Nuts, Beak, Joe Jr., Koss, Dizzy and Mini-Wheezer. (Wheezer missed his first Peoria trip, because he was getting fitted for a new $2000 set of golf clubs.
Peoria Trip Number 7
November 17/2001 Nick "Ball Pin Hammer" Hawrysio scored his first Duffer goal, when he beat his dad after several attempts. He is learning the Duffer ways quickly, he gave Beak 2 bucks for a beer in the locker room. (That was a bribe for a mention in the Duffer News.) The goal was scored in The Peoria Civic Center in front of a sparse crowd of 5. Doc’s Daughter Becky, the Peoria Goalie’s Father, 2 window washers and Beer-Nuts. Let’s hear it for Mr. Nuts! He was suffering with a pulled “Hammy”. Did he call in sick? No, he went to Peoria and suffered through our game, moved cars for players that were parked illegally and stayed up most of the night listening to Beak and Bob Plager stories.
Peoria Trip Number 8
February 15, 2002 Beak and Hitman's Extraordinary Adventure began on Friday, February 15, 2002 at the Bolingbrook Rocket Ice Rink where they each scored a goal to help the home team Whites win the meaningful contest. They continued their winning ways the following day in Peoria where they each scored 2 goals. Peoria Meaningful Duffers, Emil and Rod also scored. (Emil had 3) The well rested Beer Nuts also scored. After the Rivermen game, Rich Storm, Tommy Z, Hitman and Beak found a big screen and watched the USA men tie the Russians. Beak and Hitman arrived in Salt Lake City on Monday February 18, 2002. They went to the airport and picked up Klinger and McGee (We found out that Frank was called Fibber McGee by his Dad) and then they went to dinner with Brinks who picked up their tickets for the USA semi final game. Read More...
Peoria Trip Number 9
March 7, 2003 Duffers play and party in Peoria. Natural Hat Trick for Dennis!
Peoria Trip Number 10
November 28, 2003 Peoria IL Some of the Duffers skated off their turkey for 2 hours and 45 minutes in the Peoria Civic Center, then we watched Jason Christie's Rivermen beat Cincinnati. Click here to Read More...
Peoria Trip Number 11
November 26, 2004 Largest group of Duffers headed for Peoria and skated for 3 hours! Vidas Formica flew in from Seattle to join in the fun. The Anvil's Camper was filled with "day trippers, beer and brats". Beak gets his hip shot up and gives thanks. Read More.....
Peoria Trip Number 12
March 26, 2005 Our next to final trip took place on Holy Saturday. Read More......
A big Thank You to Don Granato for introducing us to Jason Christie and the Rivermen Organization.
The Rivermen owners, Anne Griffith and Bruce Saurs welcomed us on every trip, as did their administrative team.
Go to Kelly Cup Championship game
Peoria Trip Number 13
March 6, 2009 Our final trip took place when we went down to see Donny and Jason coach the Wolves. Donny was honored after the first period with an induction into the Peoria Rivermen Hall of Fame. Read More......