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Ice Dogs plan for Dec. 26 return to Marshall

MARSHALL — Following the latest executive order by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to slow the spread of COVID-19, Marshall hockey fans will have to wait a little longer to see the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in action at the Red Baron Arena and Expo. The team was originally scheduled to play its first two home games on Nov. 27 and 28 against the Aberdeen Wings.

General Manager of the Ice Dogs, Rob Proffitt, says members of the team will return home during the pause period before reporting back to Marshall around Dec. 26 if restrictions are lifted on Dec. 18.

“(We’ll) plan on playing that first week which is Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and 2. That was on our schedule originally in Janseville so that’s the plan as we sit right now,” said Proffitt. “We’ll kind of see what shakes out as far as the game schedule because it’s still affecting other teams in the Midwest Division.”

The Midwest Divison is comprised of the Janesville Jets (4-1), Kenai River Brown Bears (3-1), Chippewa Steel (1-3), Minnesota Magicians (0-0) and the Ice Dogs (0-4). In talks with fellow team officials, Proffitt is confident that the Ice Dogs will find a way to proceed with the season, though it may take time.

“We have a great league and lots of support. We have a really close group of guys who run the five teams in our division, so between that and the leadership from the top, we’ll get this figured out again,” said Proffitt.

“It’s not a mountain that we can’t overcome. We’ll get there,” he said. “The most important thing for me is that the kids are going to play hockey. We’re going to play in Marshall and we’re going to darn well make our way back to Fairbanks as well.”

The current plan is for the team to play eight games across four weekends in January and February at Red Baron Arena. The first series will take place on Jan. 22 and 23 against the Janesville Jets, followed by a Jan. 29 and 30 series against the Chippewa Steel. The Ice Dogs will be on the road for the next two series to begin Feb., but will return to Red Baron Arena on Feb. 19 to take on the Jets, and the following weekend of Feb 26 to battle the Minnesota Magicians.

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