Head Coach David Bell and the Niagara IceDogs OHA hockey team are all set to engage in their upcoming season with the first home game at the St. Catharine’s Meridian Centre on Friday, September 29 against the Erie Otters at 7 p.m., followed up with another match on home ice, the next evening, (Saturday) at same time (7 p.m.) against the Peterborough Pete’s.
The Meridian Centre provides the IceDogs with an attractive home base that includes great facilities for both the fans and the players including for the latter, a brand new dressing room and player lounge, as well as an on-site weight room and training facilities.
Bell has acquired 17 players from Ontario, 5 from the U.S., and 1 each from Russia and the Czech Republic, making his team an international squad. Two players are from St. Catharines – Danial Singer, right winger and Andrew Somerville, a defenseman.
In the past few seasons, the IceDogs have seen many of their young and skilled players graduate to the pros – including recent offensive leaders Jordan Maletta (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Josh Ho-Sang (New York Islanders). Standout goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes. Tampa Bay Lightning obtained Christopher Paquette.
Last season, the IceDogs finished a disappointing third place in the Central Division behind Mississauga and Sudbury. And in last season’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Peterborough swept the Ice Dogs with four straight wins so Saturday might be time for revenge.
The powerful Erie Otters won the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the second time in franchise history, and the first time since 2002, as they defeated the Mississauga Steelheads in five games to represent the OHL at the 2017 Memorial Cup held at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. The Windsor Spitfires also qualified for the tournament as the host team.
Accordingly, the 2017 Memorial Cup was a four-team, round-robin format tournament waged from May 19–28. It was the 99th Memorial Cup championship to determine the best team of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Besides the host team Windsor Spitfires, the other participating teams were the OHL champion Erie Otters, the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs, and the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds. The tournament ended with the host team Windsor Spitfires narrowly winning their third Memorial Cup, defeating the Erie Otters 4–3 in the championship final.
During the course of the season, both Bones, the team mascot, and the IceDogs individual players visit numerous schools across Niagara to talk to youngsters about the importance of education, teamwork, and practicing a healthy lifestyle. The team will be heavily involved in the “Just Stop It” anti-bullying campaign, which discusses the effects of bullying and why it is so important that we all address it in a positive fashion.
Individual game tickets are priced at $15 (Value), $20 (Ends) and $25 (Premium). Fans can contact IceDogs at the Meridian Centre offices at – 905-687-3641. The team website is located at – http://niagaraicedogs.net/ Come on out and witness some well-priced junior hockey games and perhaps spot a few future NHL stars.
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