Another roaring crowd was on hand Oct. 28, when American Hockey League's Tucson Roadrunners made their debut. The team, which relocated from Springfield, Massachusetts, is Tucson’s most legitimate professional sports franchise since the Triple-A Padres left for El Paso. The 'Runners christened their home debut with a 6-5 win over the visiting Stockton Heat.
Tucson got off to a 9-4-1 start, leaping to the front of the AHL standings, with two AHL rookies of the month in defenseman Kyle Wood (October) and Brendan Perlini (November).
They weren’t the only sports franchise to make its debut in Tucson in 2016.
The Tucson Saguaros of the independent Pecos League also took hold in 2016, and then took over. The Saguaros, led by manager J.D. Droddy, led for most of the season and won the league championship in August. The clincher was played at Kino Stadium.