The Peoria Rivermen announced Tuesday that longtime public address announcer B.J. Stone will return for his 16th season, and the team’s first in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Stone held the P.A. position with the Rivermen throughout their ECHL era and during much of the team’s AHL era, and has been working with Peoria each year since the 2009-10 season.
“I haven’t been this excited for Rivermen hockey in quite some time,” Stone said. “I’m mostly excited because it’s going to be hockey the way it used to be. It’s more than just a game for the fans and I’m eager to be a key part of that experience once again.”
“For me, it feels like year one all over again. I can’t wait to get started.”
Stone began working for the Rivermen in 1996, during their debut season in the ECHL. He became very popular with the fans due to his deep voice and charismatic personality, and he returned each season until 2005. Over the next four years, Stone split time handling P.A. duties for Peoria and Bloomington’s team in the class-A IHL, before returning to Peoria full-time in 2009.
“B.J. has been an instrumental part in promoting the team on and off the ice for the past 17 years,” Rivermen co-owner Bart Rogers said. “In order to keep with our theme of bringing back history and traditions, it only made sense to bring B.J. back and make him a part of this rebirth of Rivermen hockey.”
“We couldn’t think of a better way to start the season than with B.J.’s voice echoing inside Carver Arena.”