The Arizona Sundogs' off-season has already begun to see action and for those of us suffering from hockey withdrawal signs of the 2009-2010 season can't come too soon.
The first move came in the form of a loss when assistant coach Dan Laperriere made the move up to the AHL to become assistant coach of the Colorado affiliate Lake Eire Monsters in Cleveland, Ohio. Lappy was an original Sundog and played two years on the ice before moving behind the bench in the 2008-2009 season as assistant coach. In his last year on the ice, Lappy helped bring the Ray Miron President's Cup to Northern Arizona. There was hardly a dry eye to be found as Lappy's #6 jersey was raised to the rafters last season as the first Sundog to have his number retired. He will be missed, but Sundog fans wish him nothing but the best as he moves on.
The off-season now has become all about additions with player signings underway. The first to sign was returning captain Chris Bartolone who has also added the title of player/assistant coach to his resume. His leadership on and off the ice is invaluable, as is his slapshot from the point. Next to return was Jasson Visser, a big, grinding forward with a talent for scoring whose action was limited last season due to injury. The most recent returnee was Kyle Hood, a versatile player who has spent time both at forward and on defense and always seems willing to give up his body for the team. The latest edition to the roster is the new face of goalie J F Perras. Before spending the last two seasons playing in the EIHL, Perras played for the now defunct Lubbock Cotton Kings of the CHL and received multiple honors including being named to the All-Star team in his rookie season.
Each move brings the 2009-2010 season a little closer and eases the pain of a long summer without hockey.