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Fairbanks to Sault Ste. Marie - Junior Hockey News
Published: Friday, 27 Jul 2012
Rob Proffitt is heading home to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with his junior hockey team from Fairbanks, Alaska. Proffitt, general manager of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Bruno Bragagnolo, coach-general manager of the Soo Eagles, have arranged a two-game, pre-season series between the North American Hockey League teams.
The Eagles will play host to the Ice Dogs on Friday, September 7 and Saturday, September 8 at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie.
Besides serving as the Eagles first-ever games against an NAHL opponent, the September 7-8 weekend series will be a homecoming for Proffitt, the Ice Dogs 43-year old GM who was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie before moving to Fairbanks back in June of 1991 to play senior hockey with the erstwhile Alaska Gold Kings.
"It's always great to get home," said Proffitt, whose father, Randy, is from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and whose mother, Roberta (McLarty), was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. "Pullar Stadium is one of my all-time favourite arenas in all of the United States. It will be quite the trip but I have no doubt that it will be worth the experience for our team."
Fairbanks to Sault Ste. Marie represents a distance of about 3,300 miles.
The Ice Dogs, one of the NAHL's most-successful franchises, are coming off a 2011-12 season in which they finished atop the West Division with a record of 39-13-8. They then swept two rounds of the playoffs to advance to the Robertson Cup, national tournament before losing to coach Tony Curtale and his eventual champion Texas Tornado in overtime in the semi-finals.
That followed a 2010-11 season in which Fairbanks won the Robertson Cup and the 2009-10 campaign in which the Ice Dogs went to the finals only to lose.
Proffitt, a married father of two who has been with the Ice Dogs as their general manager (he also coached the team for 12 seasons) since they became a junior hockey franchise in 1997, said he has no doubt the Eagles will be a successful NAHL team.
"Not only is Sault Ste. Marie a very good hockey town but Bruno has a reputation as a very good hockey man," said Proffitt.
The pre-season series against the Ice Dogs will be the first NAHL games for the Eagles after four seasons -- including the 2010-11 championship -- in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. Eagles owner Ron Lavin purchased the NAHL's Traverse City North Stars franchise this past spring and immediately moved it to the Soo.
Not only have the Eagles inherited a number of quality players from the Traverse City squad that posted a record of 34-20-6 during the 2011-12 regular season but they have tendered a pair of Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association recruits: 1992 birth year goalie Tyler Marble (Lake Superior State Lakers) and 1995 birth year forward Denver Pierce (Northern Michigan Wildcats.) Another player who has been tendered is sparkplug right winger Dallas McLaughlin, a 1993 birth year who sniped 36 goals while playing for the Eagles in the NOJHL during the 2011-12 season.
By playing Fairbanks, a West Division team, the Eagles, who will be a part of the North Division, will face off against a squad that Sault Ste. Marie hockey fans would not otherwise be able to see this coming season.
"Hopefully playing Fairbanks will be a treat for our fans and a nice way of us starting off as an NAHL franchise," said Bragagnolo.
After playing host to Fairbanks on September 7-8, it's off to Blaine, Minnesota for the Eagles and all 24 NAHL teams for the annual Showcase Tournament, to be held September 12-15. All teams will play four games that will count in the regular-season standings.
First regular-season home games for the Eagles will be Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22 when they play host to Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in a pair of 7:30 p.m. matchups at Pullar Stadium.
Author: Randy Russon
Russon brings a a lifetime of media experience to the JuniorHockey.com staff.
That is definition of "Road Trip" - more than 3,000 clicks.
"Soo" is a great hockey town without any dout & the Pullar from experience is like watching a game in the old Chicago Stadium or Detroit Olympia.
posted Jul. 27th, 2012 - 11:40am
KJ Lahti says:
what a great experience the young men from alaska will have to play in the Pullar.. I hope the Soo packs the place completely full. So the kids can feel the energy in that old rink
I take it that you are familiar with the Pullar. What an absolute, venerable hockey shrine.
Any idea when the Soo Eagles are holding their main camp?
Eagles website should contain FAQ, I would think.
to Paul Murray: Soo Eagles main camp and all NAHL main camps are by invitation only.
Randy: do you happen to know if the Soo Eagles have tendered a player by the name of Layne Martin?
Yes, Layne Martin, 1993 birth year forward who played with Detroit Belle Tire last season, has been tendered by Soo Eagles.
NAHL adds High Performance Hockey League to NAHL Showcase
All six teams from the HPHL’s 18U Division will compete
FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is pleased to announce that all six teams from the High Performance Hockey League’s (HPHL) 18U Division have been invited to and will compete in the 10th annual Combat Hockey/NAHL Showcase Tournament, held September 12-16, 2012, at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.
The six teams from the HPHL will join 24 teams from the North American Hockey League (NAHL), 36 teams from the North American Prospects Hockey League (PHL) and 8 teams from the Upper Midwest High School Elite League (UMHSEL) complete the five-day, 74-team showcase event. Each HPHL 18U team will play five games during the NAHL Showcase.
“We believe the addition of the teams from the High Performance Hockey League will just add yet another competitive element to an already tremendous Showcase line-up,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “With four different leagues playing under one roof, we believe that the partnership will be nothing but a positive for the thousands of players, scouts and fans that will be in attendance.”
The annual NAHL Showcase is the most well-attended, largest and heavily scouted hockey festivals of its kind in all of North America, and the addition of the HPHL further enhances the event’s reach and scope in the hockey landscape.
“The NAHL puts on one of the premier hockey events of the season with hundreds of scouts attending from across North America. We feel this opportunity ties into our mission and see the event as a jump start to our season,” said HPHL Director Gino Cavallini. “There is no doubt the exposure the event promotes is invaluable and clearly a must place to be. We are thrilled to be able to offer players in the HPHL this sort of showcase.”
Traditionally, the NAHL Showcase Tournament attracts over 9,000 people in overall attendance, including more than 250 professional, college and junior scouts. For more information on the Combat Hockey/NAHL Showcase, visit www.nahlshowcase.com
To John Trenchard: I know that all main camps are by invite only. Soo is the only NAHL team that does not have their main camp dates posted on their website or the NAHL website. I was hoping Randy had some inside info on when they were holding their main camp.
I will get the dates for Eagles main camp and post them here. Just out watching Ontario Varsity Football League playoffs (sigh) as I write this.
Soo Eagles main camp, which is by invite only, is slated for August 17-19.
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