FAIRBANKS-We go to the ice for some Ice Dogs hockey. The junior hockey team is getting ready for the 2013-2014 season opener on the road against the in-state rival Brown Bears of Kenai River this Friday and Saturday.
Last season the Ice Dogs beat the Brown Bears in a five game series in the NAHL west divisional playoffs. Fairbanks also won the ERA Cup in a best 16 game season series with a tie-breaker.
These two teams know each other so well it's almost like Michigan vs Michigan State. Maybe they know each other too well since the Ice Dogs will be facing former Ice Dogs assistant coach Geoff Beauparlant in his debut as a head coach for Kenai in the Soldotna Sports Center.
"It's going to be weird. He's my coach for three years," Ice Dogs forward Colton Wolter said. "Congratulations to him for getting the job but it's going to be a war on Friday and Saturday."
The Ice Dogs are anxious to get the games going but it will be different in the opener this weekend.
"We got a lot of speed up front on our forwards. Our [defenders] are very good. We got a very mobile D. We just got big size and that's hard to teach so it's going to be a good group of guys here so we have a good team," Ice Dogs defenseman Nick Hinz said.
Head coach Trevor Stewart recognizes that his team wants to get out and get going. That will be a good thing and will be chance for the team to unify. Their home opener isn't unti Oct. 4.
"That's why we have this road trip at the start of every single season. It forms and creates continuity amongst our players so I know they're excited to get out of here for a couple of weeks and get on the road."