The Dogs are back in town

NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs in town for weekend series with Chippewa Steel

Independent file photo: Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Cole Burke (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Chippewa Steel at the Red Baron Arena on Dec. 3, 2022. The Ice Dogs are back in town for a pair of games this weekend at Red Baron Arena, something that has become an annual tradition.

MARSHALL — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs are returning again to Marshall tonight and Saturday for a pair of matchups against the Chippewa Steel. The Marshall series for the Alaska team has been a tradition since the Ice Dogs called Red Baron Arena home during the COVID-19 season in October 2020 to April 2021.

The Ice Dogs’ management was uncertain that the team would be able to continue to operate after 2020, general manager Rob Proffitt said, but the team received some great support from its temporary home in Marshall. As a result, the annual return is just returning the favor.

“The least we could do is try to come back to this community and give back not only on the ice in the form of a couple of good hockey games, but the interaction with the youth hockey over the next couple of weeks with our plays on the ice, the reading in schools, helping wrap christmans presents… whatever we can do to give back because at the end of the day, if it wasn’t for Marshall, I don’t know that the Ice Dogs would still be in existence,” Proffitt said.

The Ice Dogs play in the Midwest Division of the North American Hockey League along with the Steel, Minnesota Wilderness, Wisconsin Windigo, Janesville Jets, Anchorage Wolverines, Kenai River Brown Bears and Springfield Jr. Blues. The Ice Dogs are currently fifth in the division at 11-10-1 with 26 points. The Wilderness lead the division with 34 points while the Ice Dogs’ weekend opponents, the Chippewa Steel, are in third at 26 as well.

While Fairbanks, Alaska is a long way from Marshall, the two environments are quite similar. Proffitt said that they appreciated the quality facilities available at Red Baron Arena along with the staff. Even the fan bases remained quite similar.

“We’re sold out almost every night with our near 2,500 people a night, super passionate… IThe community here in Marshall is very sports-oriented, they’re very family-oriented, they’re very passionate about what they do, so it’s the same as our Fairbanks Ice Dogs fan base,” Proffit said. “There’s so many similarities, it’s almost crazy. I even sit back now thinking how did this happen? How does it become such a tradition now? Part of this relationship we have between Fairbanks and Marshall is simply amazing.”

The Steel have won two of the teams’ three matchups so far this season, taking a 4-1 win over Fairbanks in the teams’ most recent matchup. Both of this weekends games will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be found online at VisitMarshallMN.com


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today