ROANOKE, Va. – We are entering year three of the Rail Yard Dawgs hockey franchise, and there are high expectations for a team that has an identity that includes new faces and a fresh outlook.
"It's fast, it's physical, it's disciplined, and most of all, it's got passion. And I expect to see that every night," said coach Dan Bremner.
Head coach Dan Bremner enters his first full season with the Dawgs after taking over last December. He's made some off-season moves that align with the Dawgs' style of play by adding other players from the league including the bruiser Cody Dion, from Peoria.
"That was a big thing last year was developing a culture here, where we're working hard but it's fun and it's where players want to end up," Bremner said.
"That's why Dan brought me in, and the other players he brought in-- to bring in that next little 'umph" type thing. The team was good last year, but we struggled on the other end with Roanoke, so this year we're expecting it to be a lot different," veteran forward Dion said.
Not only do they flaunt physicality, but the Dawgs return familiar faces in Steve Mele, who led the team in goals, and the Southern Professional Hockey League goaltender of the year, Brad Barone.
"Good impressions! Everyone seems to be holding their own. Obviously we're busy for camp with a couple of skates every day, so everyone's legs are moving now. Everyone looks like they had good summers, so it should be an exciting group. I think it's going to be fast, good defensive systems. I'm excited," Barone said.
The Dawgs will host a preseason game Saturday against Fayetteville, and the home opener will be Oct. 20 at the Berglund Center.