Proffitt reflects on second title in four years
May 21, 2014
By Jon Volker
As the year went on, it became clearer and clearer which team was the best in the North American Hockey League.
The playoffs only cemented that fact. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs won the second Robertson Cup in franchise history after sweeping Austin in Fairbanks over the May 8-9 weekend.
The final scores were 5-4 in overtime in Game 1, and 6-2 in Game 2.
The Ice Dogs won the title for the first time in 2011, when they defeated the Michigan Warriors, 4-2, in Topeka, Kan.
Colton Wolter and Tayler Munson, both Fairbanks natives, were the only Ice Dogs who were on both championship teams.
Munson will stay put in his home city, moving on to play Division 1 hockey for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks.
An entirely new coaching staff was able to help Fairbanks reach that point once again.
“The first one was very special,” said GM Rob Proffitt, on the two championships. “But winning this in Fairbanks was second to none. The community is special.”
The Big Dipper was packed for both games with a little over 2,200 fans each night. Fairbanks was able to use the home ice advantage very well. It was especially evident in Game 2 on May 9.
Once Fairbanks got rolling, it was tough to slow down. In the second period, the shot advantage was 14-4 for Fairbanks, and they scored three times, pulling away from Austin.
The new format for the Robertson Cup put the Robertson Cup final in Fairbanks. Now, instead of the league picking the host, the highest remaining seed in the final will host the final.
With Fairbanks being the No. 1 overall seed, this game them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. With a rink like the Big Dipper and a community like Fairbanks, this gave them a big edge over the rest of the league.
“I love the new format. To win the Cup in the Dipper [is] priceless,” said Proffitt.
Winning a championship at any level can do wonders for recruiting the next season. With a community like Fairbanks, the attention this team gets, and you add to the success on the ice and the college commitments, it makes it an easy sell for any top player to join Fairbanks.
“Obviously, the national recognition doesn’t hurt. At the same time, we will keep our priorities straight in being an organization that takes care of its players in every possible way we can,” said Proffitt, on what the championship means for next season.
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