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‘Feels wonderful,’ Fairbanks fans excited for return of Ice Dogs hockey

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:38 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Over the weekend fans from around Fairbanks returned to the Big Dipper Ice Arena for Ice Dogs hockey. After last season was cut short due to the pandemic, fans were excited to finally be back.

“It feels wonderful, like family coming together again,” said fan Shawn Schott.

It has been over a year since the dogs played a game in the Big Dipper.

“When COVID hit it kind of swept all this away from us so I am happy that it’s back on,” said a fan named Ryan.

Their season started in Marshall, Minnesota where they played a majority of the games, but made it home for the final stretch.

“It’s just been great, a lot of us have been dreaming about this for six months and finally get it together and be able to watch hockey and see your friends again, it’s been really terrific,” fan Randy Zarnke said.

In effort to bring the Ice Dogs back to Fairbanks, fan capacity is limited to 50% with masks required, but fans like Shoot are hopeful.

“Hopefully everything is coming to and end with COVID and we can continue on with normalcy and if this is normal then I will take it because I want to come,” Schott said.

Ice Dogs manager Rob Proffitt said that this helps the community, “It’s a platform to continue heading toward normalcy in our community. We are the first event to happen, we are the biggest event in the interior of Alaska and I couldn’t be more proud of the patrons, supporters and community as a whole.”

Paige Ellsworth is a Ice Dogs supporter and said she hopes to make it to every game, “It’s overwhelming honestly but its super exciting to see the team out there, it kind of brings it all back.”

All four of the remaining at home games are already sold out.

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