Phoenix, AZ – Central Hockey League
Head Coach: One of the big moves for the Sundogs in the offseason was the hiring of rising star Kevin Colley as their head coach. Since Marco Pietroniro guided the team for their first five-plus seasons leading them to their only Cup in 2008, there has been a state of flux at the top for Arizona.
Colley comes to the Sundogs after coaching in the ECHL (Utah) for the past five seasons leading them to the post-season in each.
Last Season: The Sundogs entered the year with high hopes and a loaded line-up. With NHL players David Schlemko and Kyle Chipchura, the Sundogs started the season with a 6-2-2 record but a stretch of games that saw them go 5-13-2 had them fighting for their playoff lives.
A late season coaching change to Scott Muscutt helped the Sundogs hit their stride going 9-3-2 after mid-February but Arizona was swept away in the playoffs thanks to the Wichita Thunder.
Returning Star: The Sundogs will be happy to have Kevin Baker for a full season, scored eight goals with six assists in 10 games. The veteran could be among the top scorers in the league and could be a big piece to the offense for the Sundogs.
Top Newcomer: Ryan Gaucher will give the Sundogs their steadiest offensive threat on defense since Chris Bartolone. The veteran played the last three seasons in Germany scoring 17 goals with 88 assists in 129 games. More impressive may be his post-season numbers, five goals and 10 assists in 24 playoff games.
Outlook: Arizona has a solid mix with Baker, Jason Morgan, Damian Surma and Jordan Clendenning up front and Gaucher, Joe Tolles and Matt McCready on the blue line. David Brown is back in goal for Arizona (15-15-1, 2.69 GAA) and he has the ability to be one of the best in the league. If all the pieces fit together, Arizona could be one to watch in the post-season.
The Arizona Sundogs are the Central Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. Season tickets, mini-plan, and single-game ticket information is now available by calling (928) 759-6600 or visiting arizonasundogs.com.