Jeff Wendland, who's worked as a sports writer at each of the Quad Cities respective newspapers, is writing some guest pieces for us to highlight the Quad City Mallards players returning on March 2nd for the Heroes vs. Villains II event at the Vibrant arena.

From here, the words you read are from Jeff himself:

Jeff Wendland
Jeff Wendland

Jim Duhart

Two years ago the boos were roaring at the Vibrant Arena when Madison and Flint star Jim Duhart skated onto the ice with the Villains against the Mallards.

That changed into a very quick smile and cheers as Duhart played it up and made it a great night. He will probably get a few more boos on Friday, March 2 for the Arconic charity event with the Heroes vs. Villains II - Mallards Legends against the UHL All-Stars.

“I’m going to tell you, it was so much fun last time and I am excited for this,” Duhart said. “It has been a lot of work with Scott Mullen, Howard Cornfield, Kerry Toporowski and myself.

“It is so much fun to come back with some of our guys and the guys who we battled and fought for, now it is all about so many smiles. It’s the same fans, I wondered how it would be last year but they are great. Those 6,000 two years ago felt like the old days when it was 9,000.”

Those laughs and chats with the Mallards fans two years ago will probably stop some of the boos but more importantly, Duhart will feel like a loved one when it comes to the sight of Flint coach Robbie Nichols.

“Oh yeah, old Robbie,” Duhart said. “It will be a lot of fun when he jumps on the ice. He’ll get plenty of hisses and Robbie will enjoy every bit. He will ham it up and I’m sure Robbie and Howard will have some fun.

“Robbie didn’t like to lose to the Mallards and Howard didn’t like to lose to Flint. Robbie was a lot more intense when we would get off against Quad City. He would get the entire team ready to go. It was a deal and with those 9,000 fans, just made it more exciting. Both teams played their best.”

Like the Mallards, there are many Generals players who have stayed at home in Flint. Unlike professional players who like to move to the beach and sun, that doesn’t work for UHL players.

“We don’t like a whole lot of money after playing in the UHL, but we had people who loved us and we loved them,” Duhart said. “We tried to do the right things and our fans loved us. I’m really excited to live here.

“I went away a few times but I always came back. In the end, I love what I do.”

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