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The Niagara IceDogs are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League based in St. Catharinesmarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. The franchise was originally known as the Mississauga IceDogs and founded in 1996. The team was relocated to St. Catharines and played its inaugural season in the Niagara region during the 2007–08 OHL season after spending 9 seasons in Mississauga. The team is owned by Bill and Denise Burke.


Niagara IceDogs in action at home versus Barrie Colts.
On July 12, 2006, Eugene Melnyk, who owned the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, bought the Mississauga IceDogs. After the 2006–07 season, Melnyk sold the IceDogs, and moved the Majors to the Hershey Centremarker in Mississauga. The team approached the City of St. Catharinesmarker about moving the team into Jack Gatecliff Arenamarker. St. Catharines City Council voted on a leasing arrangement on April 23, 2007, which passed. The OHL Board of Governors approved the deal on June 5, 2007.

2007–08 season
The IceDogs entered their first season in Niagara ranked in the CHL's top ten, but soon fell out of the league's top rankings. The team played their first regular season home game against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in front of a sellout crowd on September 21, 2007. The IceDogs won the game, defeating the Majors 4-1. Over the course of the season, the IceDogs developed a major rivalry with the Mississauga Majors. In December, right-winger Stefan Legein represented Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Ice Hockey Tournament and earned a gold medal in the process.

On January 8, 2008, the IceDogs acquired goaltender Sebastian Dahm from the Sudbury Wolves in exchange for goaltender Andrew Loverock, defenseman Chris van Laren, a 3rd round draft pick in 2009 and a sixth round draft pick in 2010. Dahm finished the season with the IceDogs, earning a record of 20-6-0-0, a GAA of 2.53 and a save percentage of 0.917.

After selling out (3,145) their first home game, attendance figures remained low until Christmas. After Christmas, however, attendance increased significantly. The IceDogs finished the year averaging 2,722 fans and led the league with 15 sellout crowds.

The IceDogs finished the regular season with 82 points, three shy of Brampton for the central division title. Luca Caputi finished the season with 111 points (4th in league scoring) while Michael Swift's 100 points put him 8th in league scoring. The team total in penalty minutes (1463) led the league.

2008–09 season
The IceDogs began the 2008–09 season considerably younger than they ended the previous season. Gone were the likes of goaltenders Sebastian Dahm (age) and Lucas Lobsigner (university), forward Jordan Foreman (age), captain Michael Swift (age), defenseman Matt Corrente (AHL), leading scorer Luca Caputi (AHL), World Junior Gold Medalist Stefan Legein (retirement), and 1st round NHL draft pick Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis, NHL). Additionally, veteran defensemen Josh Day and Scott Fletcher began the year at AHL training camps, but quickly were released and rejoined the IceDogs for the start of the season, overager Jason Bergeron was cut in training camp, and overager Mike MacIsaac was released a few games into the season. The core of the roster was made up of 16, 17, and 18 year olds and the team was plagued by inconsistent play at the start of the year.

On November 13 (21 games into the season) it was announced the St. Louis Blues were returning 4th overall selection Alex Pietrangelo to the Niagara IceDogs for an additional year of development at the junior level. He had played a total of eight games with St. Louis prior to being reassigned. On April 10, 2009, he was assigned to the Blues' top minor-league affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen in the American Hockey League.

The IceDogs hosted one of two Ontario games in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge on Novemebr 22nd. The Challenge is a six-game series featuring top Canadian and Russian prospects that is televised nationally on SportsNet and seen as an important evaluation for the final selection of rosters for the World Junior (Under-20) tournament. The IceDogs were represented by draft-eligible forward Andrew Agozzino and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, while Coach Mario Cichillo was selected to serve as the team's assistant coach. The OHL squad won the game 3-2 in front of a sellout crowd. The winning goal was scored by Agozzino.

In December, forward Marco Insam represented Italy at the World Junior Championships ('B' Pool), while Pietrangelo was named to Canada's World Junior team, which won a fifth straight gold medal. The Dogs were once again active at the trade deadline, acquiring Patrick Lee and former World Junior goalie and Nashville draft pick Jeremy Smith from Plymouth for three draft picks. The Dogs had previously traded defenseman Scott Fletcher to Plymouth for a draft pick, which was sent back to Plymouth as a part of the Smith trade. After acquiring Smith, the Dogs shipped goalie John Cullen to the Kingston for a draft pick. In two separate trades with divisional rivals Brampton, Niagara acquired Mike Hasson and two draft picks for Andrew Merrett, Josh Day, and a draft pick.


Mario Cicchillo was promoted from assistant coach in 2006–07 for Mississauga, to become the first coach of the Niagara IceDogs after it was announced that head coach Mike Kelly resigned to accept a senior advisory position with the team. Additionally, he has also been named the head coach of the Ontario Under 17 team and served as an assistant coach in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. In August 2009, Cicchillo was fired and assistant coach Mike McCourt was named interim head coach.


NHL Alumni

NHL Draft Picks

  • 2008 - Alex Pietrangelo, 1st round (4th overall) St. Louis
  • Stefan Legein (2nd round, CLB, 2007), Drew Shiestel (2nd round, BUF, 2007), and Luca Caputi (4th round, PIT, 2007) were drafted two weeks after the IceDogs franchise moved from Mississuaga to Niagara. Matt Corrente (1st round, NJ, 2006), Aaron Snow (3rd round, DAL 2006), and Jeremy Smith (2nd round, NSH, 2007) played for the Niagara IceDogs, but were drafted while playing for other teams.

Award winners

2009–2010 Roster

Number Player Catches Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired
29 Mark Visentin L G 1992 Waterdown, Ontariomarker 3rd round (2008)
31 Petteri Simila (MTL 2009) R G 1990 Oulu, Finland 1st round import (2009)
Number Player Shoots Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired
2 Nik Knezic L D 1992 London, Ontario 6th round (2008)
4 Jay Gilbert R D 1991 Port Stanley, Ontariomarker 4th round (2007)
7 Mike Schwindt R D 1991 Mount Forest, Ontario 13th round (2007)
10 Alex Pietrangelo (STL 2008) R D 1990 King City, Ontariomarker 1st round (2006)
11 Shayne Rover R D 1992 Newmarket, Ontario 2nd round (2008)
12 Reggie Traccitto R D 1989 Oakville, Ontariomarker Trade LDN 2007
26 Matt Petgrave L D 1992 Brampton, Ontario Free Agent (2009)
27 Dougie Hamilton R D 1993 Toronto, Ontario 2nd round (2009)
Number Player Shoots Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired
8 Alex Friesen L C 1991 Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontariomarker 2nd round (2007)
9 Andrew Agozzino L LW 1991 Kleinburg, Ontariomarker 1st round (2007)
13 Freddie Hamilton R C 1992 Toronto, Ontariomarker 1st round (2008)
14 Johnson Andrews L LW 1991 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontariomarker 5th round (2007)
15 Andrew Shaw R C 1991 Belleville, Ontariomarker 11th round (2007)
16 Dylan MacEachern L LW 1990 Mississauga, Ontariomarker 6th round (2006)
17 Marco Insam R RW 1989 Selva Gardenamarker, Italymarker 2nd round import (2008)
19 Josh Moes R RW 1989 St. Catharines, Ontario Trade OS 2009
20 Jason Shaw L LW 1992 Belleville, Ontario Free Agent (2009)
21 Mike Hasson R RW 1991 Ariss, Ontario Trade BRA 2009
22 Andrew Fritsch R RW 1993 Brantford, Ontario 3rd round (2009)
23 Mitchell Theoret L C 1993 Montreal, Quebec 8th round (2009)
24 Chris DeSousa L LW 1990 Mississauga, Ontariomarker 4th round (2006)
28 Matt Baldassarra L LW 1992 Richmond Hill, Ontario 15th round (2008)

Team records

Single season records

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 85 2007–08
Least points 63 2008–09
Most wins 42 2007–08
Least wins 26 2008–09
Most goals for 272 2007–08
Least goals for 213 2008–09
Most goals against 264 2008–09
Least goals against 214 2007–08

Individual player records for a single season
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goals Luca Caputi 51 2007–08
Most assists Michael Swift 62 2007–08
Most points Luca Caputi 111 2007–08
Most points, rookie Marco Insam 41 2008–09
Most points, defenceman Alex Pietrangelo 53 2007–08
Most penalty minutes Jordan Foreman 155 2007–08
Most wins, goalie Sebastian Dahm 20 2007–08
Best GAA, goalie Sebastian Dahm 2.53 2007–08
Goalies = minimum 1320 minutes played

Career scoring and goalie leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed OHL regular season.

Player GP G A Pts Seasons
Luca Caputi 66 51 60 111 2007–08
Michael Swift 68 38 62 100 2007–08
Chris DeSousa 131 56 31 87 2007–08 to 2008–09
Drew Shiestel 131 18 67 85 2007–08 to 2008–09
Alex Pietrangelo 96 21 61 82 2007–08 to 2008–09
Andrew Agozzino 117 39 39 78 2007–08 to 2008–09
Andrew Merrett 100 29 45 74 2007–08 to 2008–09
Matt Sisca 115 24 41 65 2007–08 to 2008–09
Jordan Foreman 65 28 34 62 2007–08
Alex Friesen 110 16 31 47 2007–08 to 2008–09

These are the top-five goalies (ranked by wins) in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed OHL regular season.

Player Mins W L OTL SOL GAA SVP SO Seasons
Sebastien Dahm 1517 20 6 0 0 2.53 .917 2 2007–08
Andrew Loverock 2091 16 17 0 1 3.56 .891 1 2007–08
Jeremy Smith 1488 12 9 1 2 3.18 .913 2 2008–09
John Cullen 1545 9 11 2 3 3.61 .898 1 2008–09
Mark Visentin 1099 5 11 2 1 4.26 .871 0 2008–09

Season-by-season results

Regular season

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
2007–08 68 42 25 0 1 85 .625 272 214 2nd Central
2008–09 68 26 31 5 6 63 .463 213 264 4th Central


Season 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Finals
2007–08 W, 4-0 Mississauga L, 4-2 Oshawa
2008–09 W, 4-3 Ottawa L, 4-1 Belleville

Uniforms and logos

The IceDogs colours are red, white, black and silver. The Home jersey is white with red, black, and white stripes on the bottom and black and red diagonal stripes on the sleeves with two crossed dog bones on each shoulder. The Away jersey is black with red, black, and white stripes on the bottom and red and white diagonal stripes on the sleeves with two crossed dog bones on each shoulder. Both jerseys are tie-ups. The Niagara logo is a Bull Terrier (modelled after former team part-owner Don Cherry's famous dog, "Blue") playing hockey in hockey gear. The team wears red and black CCM gloves and CCM helmets (black or white, depending upon their jersey colour). In 2008–09, the IceDogs launched a third jersey, which is currently being worn by the team during warmups. It is a red jersey, featuring the Bull Terrier logo on top of a large N.


The Gatorade Garden City Complexmarker, formerly known as the Garden City Arena and the Jack Gatecliff arena, is a publicly owned and operated facility and is the main arena in St. Catharines. It is located at 8 Gale Crescent and features two ice surfaces (the Rex Stimers arena and the Jack Gatecliff arena). The IceDogs play in the Jack Gatecliff Arena of the complex. The arena's capacity is 3,145 including standing room, making it smaller than most CHL arenas. With an ice surface of 190 x 85 feet, its dimensions are also smaller than the typical CHL ice surface. It is commonly referred to by fans as 'the Jack.'

The original arena was built in 1932 and became the oldest arena currently used in the CHL following the Windsor Spitfires move to the WFCU Centre in 2008–09. It was previously used by the St. Catharines Teepees, St. Catharines Black Hawks, St. Catharines Fincups and the St. Catharines Saints and is also the home to the St. Catharines Jr. B Falcons. Renovated in 1996, it was named after local sportswriter Jack Gatecliff. The Jack Gatecliff Arena name has now been applied to the pad that the IceDogs play on, while the name of the facility itself was changed on September 19, 2007. The IceDogs typically play home games on either Thursday or Saturday nights, while the Falcons play their home games on Friday nights.

On March 1, 2009, the Niagara IceDogs hosted a home game at Niagara Falls Memorial Arena in nearby Niagara Falls, Ontario. The arena, slated to close in 2010, was the former home to both the Niagara Falls Flyers and the Niagara Falls Thunder. The game was billed as the last OHL game in the arena. The announced crowd of 3,167 was the largest home crowd in franchise history.

See also


External links

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