FAIRBANKS — Ty Proffitt has grown up around the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
His dad, Rob, is the general manager and a former head coach for the 26-year-old franchise in the North American Hockey League, a Tier II junior A league of 24 teams.
It’s seems only natural that the younger Proffitt is a team player on and off the ice.
“I’m just a team guy, trying to do whatever I can for the boys; whether it’s carrying (equipment) bags off the bus or making sure everybody has a Gatorade or water,” Ty Proffitt said after Wednesday’s practice at the Big Dipper Ice Arena, where the Ice Dogs host the Minnesota Magicians in a matchup of the top two teams in the Midwest Division.
“On the ice, I just try to make everybody stay positive and try not get down on the bench as a group.”
Proffitt, who is in his last season of junior hockey eligibility, has contributed eight goals and five assists for 13 points in 42 games for the Ice Dogs, who trail the division-leading Magicians by two points. Fairbanks is 28-15-3-3 for 62 points in the standings and Minnesota is 31-16-2-0 for 64 points.
The 20-year-old wing’s season in 2017-18 was divided between the Ice Dogs and the Yellowstone Quakes, the defending Fraser Cup champions of the NA3HL, a development league of the NAHL.
Proffit had a goal while playing in 14 games for the Ice Dogs in 2017-18. He provided the Quakes, of Cody, Wyoming, with a goal and seven assists for eight points in 11 games and he skated in three postseason contests.
Playing for two teams in two states in the same season benefited the 6-foot, 190-pounder.
“My confidence level has really built since playing NA3 last year, having the confidence with the puck has improved,” Proffitt said after Wednesday’s practice.
“Stew (Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart) has given me the opportunity to play in more important roles in games. But more importantly, just having the guys in the locker room; we’re a team right now. Everybody’s doing their part and I just fill in wherever I can for everybody else on the team.”
Stewart also noticed the rise in Proffitt’s confidence.
“He’s been good for a player who was in and out last year,” Stewart said Wednesday. “He’s found a way to be in the lineup this year and he’s found a way to proudce.
“He’s come a long way as a player over the last two years and we’re excited.”
About two weeks ago, Proffitt was excited to be among seven Ice Dogs to participate in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Proffitt produced a goal for the Midwest Division team in its two games of the showcase event, which attracted coaches from NCAA Division I and III programs and scouts from National Hockey League teams.
“That was amazing,” he said. “The opportunity to play in front of Division I and Division III scouts and the NHL, and to represent our team on a stage like that was pretty fun.
“Just to say, ‘Hey, somebody out there is going to be looking at me.’ Representing the Ice Dogs and the Fairbanks community is more important to me than necessarily getting individual recognition.”
Proffitt wants to continue his playing career in college.
“To be able to play the game for as long as I can is what I want to do and to be able to get an education out of it and bettering the community that I go into,” he said.
He plans to work for a business degree in college with an emphasis on transportation logistics, which deals with exporting and importing of goods.
Military Appreciation Weekend
The series against the Magicians takes place on Military Appreciation Weekend at the Big Dipper.
“We’re doing it as an organization to thank those who have served and are serving,” Rob Proffitt said by phone Tuesday.
Each night’s pregame festivities will feature color guards and national anthem singers from Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base.
Mike Finke, a singer from Minneapolis, will be performing a special song during the second intermission each night.
The Ice Dogs also are selling limited-edition commemorative hoodies, which include on the front the team’s logo against the American flag.
The Kinross Fort Knox Gold Mine is Friday night’s game sponsor and there will be special giveaways.
Alaska USA is Saturday night’s game sponsor and several giveaways are scheduled.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.