With a challenging 2019-20 campaign behind them, the Niagara IceDogs are playing with something to prove this season. Equipped with a strong defensive unit and a crop of impressive 04s and 05s looking comfortable in the lineup already, head coach Billy Burke is optimistic about the not-so-distant future.
“It’s a long shutdown for a lot of the returning guys so to be back here as a group, it’s very exciting. On top of everything else, there’s a real feeling of excitement and we’re just thankful to be back and to have these opportunities again.” – Billy Burke
2019-20 Record: 18-39-5-1, 42 points (Fourth in Central Division)
Head Coach: Billy Burke (Fourth season)
Opening Game: Thursday, Oct. 7 @ Barrie
Following a 33-point sophomore stint, Jake Uberti returns to the IceDogs noticably faster, bigger, stronger and more confident. Burke praised the 19-year-old forward’s desire to be a leader and have a positive impact on the ice and in the dressing room. Uberti received an invite to skate with the Arizona Coyotes’ Development Camp.
Fellow 19-year-old winger Cameron Butler will also be one of the top go-to guys in Niagara in this season following an impressive sophomore year split between the IceDogs and Peterborough Petes. Like Uberti, Butler is an incredibly focused player who strives to be a leader and exudes dedication.
Second overall 2020 OHL Priority Selection pick Pano Fimis is equipped with speed, IQ, skill and maturity beyond his years. The 17-year-old forward has been, to quote Burke, “everything [the IceDogs] could’ve hoped for” and is going to come into a big role with the team in his rookie year.