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Fairbanks Ice Dogs prepare for season restart against Janesville Jets

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 7:14 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Ice Dogs are preparing for their season restart Thursday, taking on the Janesville Jets for a three-game series. The last time the Ice Dogs competed was November 14 when they took on the Aberdeen Wings.

Sports in Minnesota were put on hold in late November as Governor Tim Walz put forth an Executive Order that left the Ice Dogs without a place to play. Now with the four-week order is coming to an end, the Ice Dogs were able to meet together on Sunday to prepare for the season restart.

“The biggest thing for them is just getting back together and having that sense of being and belonging,” said Fairbanks Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart. “So it was pretty cool to see that moment once they all got back together.”

The Ice Dogs will be out of the Golden Heart City until mid-March, where they are expected to make their season debut at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. For now, the Ice Dogs will continue their season in the North American Hockey League on the road, playing their ‘home’ games in Marshall, Minnesota.

“Just the day to day stuff. I mean our schedule is coming together,” said Coach Stewart. “Obviously we play Janesville three times this week, but there’s a lot of protocols. There’s a lot of known uncertainty. We’re going to get all these games in but they might not be the scheduled times that they’re at right now. We might need to make some adjustments during this transition period when everybody is figuring out a kind of return to play protocols and the vaccine being rolled out.”

The Ice Dogs are sitting at 0-4 on the year and will face a Jets squad who are 4-1-1. Fairbanks’ top player so far is Jake Hale. Hale has four points thanks to three assists and one goal. With Austin Ryman off to the Alaska Nanooks, the Ice Dogs will go forward with their rookie goaltenders of Ryan Keyes and Kayden Hargraves. On the year, the Ice Dogs have scored 11 goals while giving up 24.

“Being able to see what guys have put in over their six or seven week pause. We know that we’re fighting an uphill battle here,” said Coach Stewart. “Just being really under trained and not having a lot of practice time and not having a lot of time together.”

Game 1 is set for December 31 at 7 P.M. Central Time in Janesville, Wisconsin.

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