CHL Snapshot – Countdown to Opening Night
The Arizona Sundogs are primed and ready for their sixth season and maybe no team in the league has made such seemingly impact additions than the Sundogs. The team captured the CHL Championship in their second season as a franchise (2007-08 season) but has had a hard time finding success since.
With the return of Head Coach Marco Pietroniro, Assistant Coach Chris Bartolone, and team captain Tyler Butler, the Sundogs are looking to build and grow from last year.
Also with the return of many key players, and the signing of some new faces, the organization and fans are excited for another year of hockey. And what a great year it is to be a Sundog fan, because this year the annual CHL All-Star Game will be held in Prescott, Arizona at Tim’s Toyota Center, home of the Sundogs.
To check out the new All Star logo and jerseys, visit the homepage of the Sundogs (CLICK HERE
Last year, Arizona finished seventh in the Berry Conference with 60 points and a record of 25-31-10 which squeezed them into the playoffs but in the opening round, they played the “soon-to-be champions,” Bossier-Shreveport who beat them in a 4-game series.
The Sundogs were happy to announce the resigning of some key figures on the squad such as Tyler Butler, Kyle Hood, Luke Erickson, Adam Smyth and mid-season additions Craig Macdonald and Scott Reid.
Butler, last year’s Sundog captain, lead all defensemen on his team with 46 points (10g, 36a) in 65 games played. The veteran of 450 professional games has appeared in 28 postseason contests during his nine-year playing career tallying four goals, seven assists and 18 PIM. His presence will be a huge help again this year as they push for the cup.
Hood has been a key player for the Sundogs leading the team in scoring the past two seasons. The lone player remaining from the Cup winning team had a career high in goals (15), assists (54), and points (69) last season.
|Forward Kyle Hood
Luckily for Hood, he will be accompanied by his partner-in-crime, Erickson. Appearing in 53 games with the Sundogs, the Roseau, Minnesota native led the team and finished fifth in the CHL with a career-high 37 goals. His 63 points, also a career-best, were second-most on the team.
The Sundogs are returning most of their key players from last season with the exception of forward Joey Sides. The speedy winger scored 26 goals last season and was named a CHL All-Star.
Arizona is excited to announce many new signings this offseason that will benefit the team in all areas. A major signing during the offseason was of forward Daymen Rycroft who joins the Sundogs from the Colorado Eagles, where he scored 31 goals and 30 assists last season, placing himself third overall on the team in points. In the past, Rycroft skated alongside current Sundogs captain, Tyler Butler while they both played in Rocky Mountain.
Another great addition was forward David Nimmo who last season recorded 42 points in 56 games for the Allen Americans (16g, 26a). The 29-year-old is a former CHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 84 points (41 goals, 43 assists) in 64 games for the Amarillo Gorillas in 2007-08.
Jeff Hazelwood, two-time CHL forward, was recently signed to the Sundogs. Hazelwood is set to begin his third season of pro hockey after scoring 41 points in 62 games last season with the Texas Brahmas and 18 goals and 23 assists with the Laredo Bucks.
Phoenix Coyotes Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving announced that the Coyotes have signed a one-year affiliation agreement with the Arizona Sundogs who will serve as the Coyotes CHL affiliate.
“We are pleased to formalize this relationship with the Arizona Sundogs as we collectively continue to grow hockey in the state of Arizona,” Treliving said. “We look forward to a strong partnership this season.”
Another new addition this year is a new General Manager of Business Ops, Chris Presson. Presson comes to Arizona with nearly 20 years experience in the CHL. Last year he served as the President of the Quad City Mallards. Prior to that, he spent five years in Wichita, Kansas, serving as the President of the Wichita Thunder from 2005-2008, then as the General Manager of both the Kansas Coliseum and INTRUST Bank Arena.
Also, the addition of a new a radio voice was announced this offseason. Brien Rea has signed on as the teams new Vice-President of Broadcasting and Communications. Rea will serve as the radio voice of the Sundogs starting this season.
Friday, October 7 - Laredo Bucks
Saturday, October 8 - Evansville IceMen
Sunday, October 9 - Quad City Mallards
Monday, October 10 - Wichita Thunder
Tuesday, October 11 - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
Wednesday, October 12 - Fort Wayne Komets
Friday, October 14 - Tulsa Oilers
Saturday, October 15 - Dayton Gems
Sunday, October 16 - Bloomington Blaze