It may be the offseason, but there has already been a lot happening for the Arizona Sundogs. The team has seen movement on the ice, behind the bench, in the front office, on the team map, and all the way at the top of the Central Hockey League.
CHL Sold to Team Owners
On June 20, 2013 the CHL announced that it was now under the ownership and control of Central Partners, LLC. Central Partners is a collection of the franchise owners of the CHL. Wichita Thunder Co-Owner Rodney Steven II has been named the Interim Chairman of Central Partners, LLC.
"The owners of the CHL's clubs are proud to stand arm-in-arm as we move the League forward," said Steven. "The passion and vision of this group will help our League grow and will help the CHL earn the status of one of the top sports leagues in North America."
"As the Central Hockey League moves forward into a new era, we are excited to have the group of team owners take ownership of the League," said Duane Lewis, CHL Commissioner. "This positive step is meant to put the CHL on its best foot forward as the owners' common goal is one of competition on the ice, but full team support off the ice. For the fans of the CHL, the transition is a seamless one, as they will see renewed rivalries, and new rivalries emerge, and a tremendous sense of pride as the teams take to the ice and their communities for the upcoming season and beyond. Thank you to our longtime supporters, and to the new fans who come out to support their local teams. See you on the ice soon!"
The 22nd season of CHL Hockey is set to begin in October with 10 teams competing in the 2013-2014 campaign.
2013-2014 Franchise Changes
The number of teams in the CHL will remain the same from last season to the next, but there will be two new teams while two other franchises will go dark.
Both the St. Charles Chill and Brampton Beast will be joining the league this season. The Chill will be the CHL's second team in Missouri, joining the Missouri Mavericks. The team will play in The Family Arena and will be coached by former NHL defenseman Jamie Rivers.
The Brampton Beast will become the first CHL team to be based in Canada. The Beast will be coached by former CHL player and assistant coach Mark DeSantis and will play in the PowerAde Centre, located in Brampton Ontario.
Unfortunately, neither the Fort Worth Brahmas nor the Bloomington Blaze will be competing in the CHL this season as both teams have ceased operations. The Brahmas, who joined the CHL in 1997, are currently seeking a new venue for the 2014-2015 season. The Blaze had only completed two seasons with the CHL.
Sundogs Announce New Assistant General Manager
General Manager Chris Presson announced that Ashley Stovall has been appointed the team's Assistant General Manager. Stovall began with the team in August 2011 as Game Day Operations Coordinator before moving up to Community Relations and Communications while still maintaining game day responsibilities. As Assistant General Manager, Stovall will continue to oversee player housing, immigration and travel arrangements for the team while continuing her communications and game operation responsibilities.
Chris Presson stated, "She has proven time and time again that she's the person for the job and an asset to our organization. She has been a great addition to this team and has helped move the organization in a positive direction, building strong relationships within the community."
"I am very grateful and excited to be given this opportunity with the Sundogs," expressed Stovall. "I'm dedicated to this team and their success and I'm happy that I get to be a part of this phase of the team's future.
Arizona Names New Head Coach
The Sundogs have announced that Kevin Colley will be heading the team in the 2013-2014 CHL season. Prior to joining Arizona, Colley coached the Utah Grizzles in the ECHL for five years, amassing a 157-152-51 overall record and taking his team to the playoffs every season.
Before coaching, Colley played his pro hockey career in both the AHL and the ECHL from 1999-2005. He was named the MVP of the 2003 Kelly Cup Playoffs after winning the championship with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL.
In October 2005 he made his NHL debut for the New York Islanders and four months later retired after sustaining an injury against the Washington Capitals in January 2006. Overall, the 5-foot-11 forward played in 396 professional games and tallied 117 goals and 140 assists.
Sundogs General Manager, Chris Presson said, "I spoke to a number of candidates about our head coaching position. Kevin's name just kept re-surfacing. I like what he is all about. And, for many reasons he became the obvious choice."
When asked why he decided to accept his new position, Colley said, "It was an easy choice to come to Prescott after having the great discussions I had with Chris. We definitely share an important goal, and that is to win a championship! That is my main focus! The dedication to ice a winning team from ownership down is first class. My family and I are extremely excited for the opportunity to join the Arizona Sundogs' family."
Sundogs Announce Player Signing
Swedish forward Henric Hoglund has signed with Arizona for the 2013-2014 season. The 6-foot-3, 35 year-old right winger has spent his 18-year career playing with teams all across Europe. He began his career in 1995 with the Hammaro HC, but his best season came in 2011-2012 when as the Alternate Captain for Sweden's Vita Hasten he totaled 32 goals and 39 assists in 41 games. That season he also held the record for the most goals, points, and best +/- rating in Division 1.
In 2008, Hoglund won the Norwegian Championship playing for Storhamar. He amassed 13 points in 15 playoff games. In 2009, he was named Norway NISO Hockey Player of the Year, held the record for most goals and points, and was named to the 2008-09 Norwegian All-Star Team, tallying 36 goals, 33 assists for 69 points in 45 games. Last season, while playing in Sweden and Denmark, Hoglund put up 13 goals and 8 assists in 46 games. Overall his career record is 325 goals and 273 assists in 727 games.
Hoglund stated, "It is a dream, come true for me to finally get a chance to come to North America to play hockey. I am so happy to join the Arizona Sundogs Hockey Team and am so thankful for this opportunity."
With the addition of Hoglund, the Sundogs' roster has grown to three, the signings of Captain Jason Morgan and forward Kevin Baker having been announced at the end of the last season.