Railers’ Lannon hopes to have extended comeback up his sleeves

Ryan Lannon’s plans for this winter included a cross-country road trip and selling sportcoats. Well, not just any sportcoats, actually.

“It’s kind of a niche market,” Lannon said. “It’s a business casual athletic look. No one else makes short-sleeve [sportcoats].”

Inspired by summer weddings on Cape Cod in which the men scorch and sweat in the heat, Lannon planned to drive to locales where it’s hot year-round, such as Southern California, to sell his short-sleeve sportcoats as well as other apparel.

It sounds like a wild idea. But it’s not the only time Lannon has had one of those. He said his parents are used to him telling them he’s going to do something a little, well, unexpected.

Like, for example, when he told them last month he wanted to come out of retirement four years after his last game as a professional hockey player to join up with the expansion Worcester Railers of the ECHL.

Worcester Weekly: Railers, Something’s Brewing + more, Oct. 29-Nov. 6

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, Oct. 31 — Worcester Railers vs. Toledo Walleye, 7:05 p.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St.  With 17 days between home games for the fledgling franchise, the city’s hungry-for-hockey fan base has had plenty of time to generate anticipation and excitement for this one. And the DCU Center, we can hope, has had ample time to address the handful of issues that emerged during game one (namely the long concession lines, cash-only vendors and lack of Wi-Fi).

The Railers had a win, loss and overtime loss — not to mention an epic brawl — on their four-game road trip before Saturday’s late game in Utah. Patrick McNally, a left-shot D with AHL experience, leads the team in points (3-2–5). The Walleye were 2-2-1 with 14 goals in five games. Tickets range from $15 to $30.

Worcester Railers tracking rare sellout to open inaugural season

In their nine seasons of existence, the Worcester Sharks never sold out the DCU Center. The closest the American Hockey League club ever came to a sellout was in February 2012, when the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski spiked a puck at center ice. Even that spectacle left the crowd more than 2,000 tickets short of a packed house.

The Sharks’ AHL predecessor, the Worcester IceCats, did slightly better. The team registered two sellouts, both in 1995, during its decade in the city.

Attendance declined in each of the Sharks’ final three seasons in Worcester. In the club’s final season here before moving to California in 2014-15, the average paid attendance was 3,847, which ranked in the bottom third of the AHL.

The NHL’s San Jose Sharks didn’t move their AHL affiliate out of Worcester because of attendance issues. They wanted their minor-league team to join them on the West Coast. But there weren’t many Worcester fans showing up to prove they wanted the team to stay, either.

Rich LeBlanc / Worcester Railers HC

Chris Langkow is a 28-year-old forward from Canada who last season played for a now-defunct Slovenian team in the Austrian Hockey League.

This week, professional hockey returns to Central Massachusetts for the first time in more than two years. The Worcester Railers open their first season as an ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League) expansion team on Saturday, Oct. 14, when they host the Manchester Monarchs.

The Railers hope that in one game, they can achieve what the Sharks never did and fill the 12,316-seat DCU Center.