Ice Dogs Practice

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs skate around the Big Dipper Ice Arena Friday night for the opening of training camp. Hart Pisani/News-Miner

It seems just like yesterday the Ice Dogs were finally coming back home after spending most of last season in Minnesota. The wait to get the Dogs back in town wasn’t nearly as long this time.

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs returned to the Big Dipper Ice Arena Friday night for a team meeting and skate around. Saturday marked the team golf scramble and Fairbanks officially opens training camp Sunday night with a scrimmage. The fist regular season game is just under two weeks away, but hockey is back in the air.

“It’s very exciting (to get back in the rink),” said head coach Trevor Stewart. “We’re excited to get back to, hopefully, some normalcy...The guys are excited. I think our veterans trained very hard over the past few months and hopefully they’ll show that over the course of this week.”

The Dogs looked like they were on their way towards a fourth Robertson Cup in 2020 when the playoffs were canceled due to the pandemic.

Last season had them playing the majority of their home games in Marshall, Minnesota due to the travel restrictions stemming from Covid. They closed the season in Fairbanks with a first round playoff loss to the Minnesota Magicians.

Now, they’re opening camp in Fairbanks and at this time, it looks like it will be a normal year, whatever that means anymore. That’s quite the difference from where things stood this time last year.

“(It’s a) considerable (difference),” said Ice Dogs General Manager Rob Proffitt. “It’s just exciting to be back here at the Dipper and welcome the guys to our community. Tomorrow they’re going to see what the Fairbanks community is all about...I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to be starting camp here in Fairbanks.”

The Dogs will hold three scrimmages this week that are open to the public and free of charge. The first one will be held Sunday at 5:30 p.m. while the other two will be Tuesday and Thursday, also at 5:30 p.m.

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