It has been two months since they last played a game. But having been inactive from game competition — first from the Christmas holiday break, then because of the Ontario government shutdown relative to the Omicron variant — Dryden Ice Dogs are slated to return to Superior International Jr. Hockey League action this weekend when they play host to the Thunder Bay North Stars in Friday-Saturday evening tilts.
The two teams are tied for third place in the SIJHL standings with 33 points apiece. Dryden has a record of 16-9-1 and Thunder Bay has a 15-8-3 mark.
The Ice Dogs were very active at the January 10 Canadian Jr. Hockey League trade deadline. And considering that Dryden won 10 of its last 11 games games to close out the 2021 segment of the season, the Ice Dogs could have a lot to bark about in 2022.
Among the prize acquisitions by the Ice Dogs is hulking, 20-year old forward Nakoda Thunderchief, who was obtained by Dryden in a multi-player deal with the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers.
Thunderchief — who had three goals in just 10 games with last place Fort Frances in the 2021 segment of the season and was the Lakers team captain — is looking forward to the making his debut in a Dryden uniform.
“It’s a new team for me with some great guys and I am looking forward to finishing up my last season of junior with the Ice Dogs,” Thunderchief told Hockey News North. “Dryden fits my style of play and I really want to try to help the Ice Dogs win a championship.”
Also excepting big things for his team in the 2022 segment of the season is 19-year old Ice Dogs forward Brady Frattinger, who is third on the Dryden scoring chart with 12 goals, 18 assists, 30 points in 26 games.
“We are as good, if not better, than any team in the league,” Frattinger told Hockey News North. “And having the new guys on our team just makes us that much better.”
Besides the aforementioned Nakoda Thunderchief, other newcomers acquired by Dryden at the trade deadline include three other 20-year olds in forward Pineshish Whiteduck, defenseman Jordan Gagnon and goalie Cole Johnston as well as 18-year old defenseman Tie Jacobs.
Whiteduck and Jacobs were both obtained in deals with teams in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.