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It seems like yesterday the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were closing out the 2020-2021 season. It wasn’t yesterday, however, and now they’re set to make their home debut on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against the Kenai River Brown Bears.

It’s a new year with plenty of reason to be excited. The Dogs have already played in eight games this year and currently sit at 5-2-0-1. That includes four overtime games in which the Dogs are 3-1 with the loss coming in shootouts.

There’s plenty of individual players to be excited for as well. Owen Neuharth (Colgate), Brendan Miles (Michigan), and Nick Ostbloom (UAF) are all committed to Division I college programs and there are plenty of other Dogs that will join them in the coming months. In addition to Ostbloom, Billy Renfrew is another Fairbanks native back for more action. Rookie Alexander Kulmanovsky will give the Dogs three Fairbanks natives while Camden Shasby of Anchorage will give them four Alaskans overall.

Jacob Conrad, Jack Ring, Tyler Herzberg, Cameron Riccota, Tyler Stewart, and Kayden Hargreaves all return as well. The rookies have given folks plenty of reason to be excited too as Alexander Malinowski, Joe Greniuk, Love Bergvall and others made plenty of plays the first eight games.

Now, they’ll do it in front of the home crowd, the first one without Covid restrictions since before the pandemic began. That right there should be enough to get excited for.

“It’s been two years since we’ve had a home opener (in Fairbanks) so it’s exciting,” said general manager Rob Proffitt. “My hats off and forever gratefulness to the community and our sponsors who kept this going through the turbulent time last year and all right back here...I just couldn’t be more excited.”

Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at hpisani@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at hpisani@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

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