Niagara IceDogs

Niagara IceDogs
City St. Catharines, Ontario
League Ontario Hockey League
Conference Eastern
Division Central
Founded 1998 (1998)–99
Home arena Meridian Centre
Colours Red, black, white
General manager Vacant
Head coach Dave Bell
Affiliate(s) St. Catharines Falcons
Franchise history
1998–2007 Mississauga IceDogs
2007–present Niagara IceDogs

The Niagara IceDogs are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League based in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. 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.

Early Years, 1998-2007

The Mississauga IceDogs inaugural season began in 1998-99, and the team struggled, winning only 4 of 68 games. In their first three seasons, the IceDogs won a total of 16 games, in 204 games played. The nine season tenure in Mississauga saw the IceDogs finish with a .301 win percentage in 612 regular season games and win one Central Division and Eastern Conference Championship.


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 Centre in Mississauga. The team approached the City of St. Catharines about moving the team into Jack Gatecliff Arena. 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.[1][2]

Jack Gatecliff Arena Era

The Niagara IceDogs spent their first seven seasons in St. Catharines in the Jack Gatecliff arena. In six of the seven years at the Jack Gatecliff arena, the IceDogs led the OHL as the best attended team based on capacity percentage. During this time, the IceDogs qualified for the playoffs in every year, making it to the Eastern Conference finals twice. The IceDogs most successful year was in 2011-12 when they won both the Emms Trophy and Bobby Orr Trophy as Central Division and Eastern Conference Champions. They would ultimately fall in the finals, however, to the London Knights in five games. While playing at the Jack Gatecliff arena, Niagara’s line-ups featured a number of eventual high NHL draft picks and NHL alumni. First round draft picks included Alex Pietrangelo, Mark Visentin, Ryan Strome, Dougie Hamilton, and Brendan Perlini. Other notable players to lace-up for the IceDogs at the Jack Gatecliff are Stefan Legein, Luca Caputi, Andrew Agozzino, Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak, Freddie Hamilton, and Andrew Shaw, who was the first Niagara IceDogs alumni to win the Stanley Cup.

Meridian Centre Era

The IceDogs entered a new era when they relocated to the brand new Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. On Thursday October 16, 2014, the IceDogs won their first game at the Meridian Centre by a score of 7-4 against the visiting Belleville Bulls. The first goal at the new Meridian Centre was scored by Mikkel Aagaard from Denmark. While the arena's initial season saw the IceDogs go down in 5 games in the second round to the eventual Memorial Cup Champions Oshawa Generals, the organization went all in during the 2015-16 season. While adding key veteran acquisitions as the season went on, including star goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, a 2nd round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, the IceDogs once again battled their way to the OHL Finals. Niagara went on to face the London Knights, a rematch of the 2012 OHL Finals, but once again came up short, losing the series in 4 games. With the organization facing a rebuild after a disappointing finish to the season, the IceDogs parted ways with Head Coach and General Manager Marty Williamson, commencing a new era for the organization after 6 seasons that featured two conference championships, one division championship, and six consecutive years of playoffs.


Emms Trophy
Central Division Championship

Bobby Orr Trophy
Eastern Conference Championship

J. Ross Robertson Cup
Ontario Hockey League Championship


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.[3] In August 2009, Cicchillo was fired and assistant coach Mike McCourt was named interim head coach. In early May 2010, the IceDogs announced that the team would not be renewing the contracts McCourt and his assistants. Former Barrie Colts coach/general manager Marty Williamson was named coach and general manager of the IceDogs in late May 2010. With a rebuild about to begin, the IceDogs decided to part ways with Williamson in 2016 after six successful years and promoted assistant Dave Bell to head coach.


NHL Alumni

NHL Draft Picks

Award Winners

Ontario Hockey League

Bobby Smith Trophy
Scholastic Player of the Year

Dave Pinkney Trophy
Lowest Team G.A.A.

Ivan Tennant Memorial Award
Top High School Academic Player

Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy
Overage Player of the Year

Max Kaminsky Trophy
Most Outstanding Defenceman

Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy
Captain of the Year

  • 2011-12 – Andrew Agozzino

OHL Executive of the Year

  • 2007-08 – Denise Burke

Canadian Hockey League

CHL Defenceman of the Year

CHL Scholastic Player of the Year

Current Roster

Number Player Catches Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired NHL Status
30 United States Stephen Dhillon L G 1998 Buffalo, New York 3rd round (2014) Eligible 2016
31 United States Alex Nedeljkovic L G 1996 Parma, Ohio Trade FLI (2015) 2nd round CAR (2014)
Number Player Shoots Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired NHL Status
2 Canada Jack Wieringa L D 1998 Woodstock, Ontario 4th round (2014) Eligible 2016
4 Canada Vince Dunn L D 1996 Peterborough, Ontario 6th round (2012) 2nd round STL (2015)
5 United States Blake Siebenaler R D 1996 Fort Wayne, Indiana 15th round (2012) 3rd round CBL (2014)
6 Canada Hayden Davis R D 1999 Hamilton, Ontario 1st round (2015) Eligible 2017
17 Canada William Lochead L D 1998 London, Ontario Free Agent Eligible 2016
20 United States Josh Wesley R D 1996 Raleigh, North Carolina Trade FLI (2015) 4th round CAR (2014)
22 United States Ryan Mantha R D 1996 Clarkston, Michigan Trade SSM (2014) 4th round NYR (2014)
28 United States Aaron Haydon R D 1996 Plymouth, Michigan 1st round (2012) 6th round DAL (2014)
29 Russia Aleksandar Mikulovich L D 1996 Chelyabinsk, Russia 2nd round - Import (2013) Free Agent
Number Player Shoots Position Birth year Place of birth Acquired NHL Status
3 Canada Ben Jones L C 1999 Waterloo, Ontario 1st round (2015) Eligible 2017
9 Canada Jordan Maletta R RW 1995 St. Catharines, Ontario Trade WIN (2013) Free Agent CBJ (2016)
10 Canada Anthony DiFruscia L LW 1995 Thorold, Ontario 2nd round (2011) Free Agent
11 Canada Brendan Perlini L LW 1996 Guildford, England Trade BAR (2013) 1st round ARZ (2014)
12 Canada Stephen Harper L C 1995 Burlington, Ontario Trade HAM (2016) Free Agent
13 Canada Graham Knott L LW 1997 Holland Landing, Ontario 3rd round (2013) 2nd round CHI (2015)
14 Canada Christopher Paquette R C 1998 Kingston, Ontario 2nd round (2014) Eligible 2016
15 Canada Matt Gillard L LW 1996 Welland, Ontario 4th round (2012) Free Agent
21 Czech Republic Pavel Jenys L RW 1996 Brno, Czech Republic Trade SBY (2015) 7th round MIN (2014)
23 Canada Johnny Corneil L C 1997 Lindsay, Ontario 4th round (2013) Free Agent
24 Canada Nick Pastorious R RW 1996 Toronto, Ontario Waivers BAR (2015) Free Agent
26 Canada Josh Ho-Sang R RW 1996 Thornhill, Ontario Trade WIN (2014) 1st round NYI (2014)
27 Canada Cal Davis L RW 1999 Peterborough, Ontario 2nd round (2015) Eligible 2017

Team records

Single season records

Team records for a single season
Most points972011–12
Least points572013–14
Most wins472011–12
Least wins242013–14
Most goals for2912011–12
Least goals for1912009–10
Most goals against2842013–14
Least goals against1692011–12

Individual player records for a single season
Most goalsLuca Caputi512007–08
Most assistsRyan Strome732010–11
Most pointsLuca Caputi1112007–08
Most points, rookieDavid Pacan622010–11
Most points, defencemanDougie Hamilton722011–12
Most penalty minutesJordan Foreman1552007–08
Most wins, goalieMark Visentin302010–11 and 2011–12
Best GAA, goalie Mark Visentin1.992011–12
Goalie GAA = minimum 15 games played

Career scoring and goalie leaders

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

Player GP G A Pts Seasons
Andrew Agozzino 318 159 147 306 2007–08 to 2011–12
Ryan Strome 191 100 181 281 2009–10 to 2012–13
Freddie Hamilton 258 108 144 252 2008–09 to 2011–12
Alex Friesen 292 91 153 244 2007–08 to 2011–12
Carter Verhaeghe 262 83 141 224 2011–12 to 2014-15
Dougie Hamilton 213 40 147 187 2009–10 to 2012–13
Brendan Perlini 185 92 94 186 2012–13 to 2015–16
Anthony DiFruscia 270 91 86 177 2012–13 to 2015–16
Steven Shipley 194 72 94 166 2010–11 to 2012–13
Jordan Maletta 221 73 86 159 2012–13 to 2015–16

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

Player Mins W L OTL SOL GAA SVP SO Seasons
Mark Visentin 9429 89 55 4 12 2.75 .911 14 2008–09 to 2011–12
Brent Moran 6497 48 54 4 2 3.44 .888 2 2012–13 to 2015-16
Christopher Festarini 5412 42 40 3 4 3.08 .895 5 2011–12 to 2014-14
Sebastian Dahm 1517 20 6 0 0 2.53 .917 2 2007–08
Brandon Hope 1801 19 7 1 2 2.93 .905 1 2014-15

Season-by-season results

Regular season

Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shootout loss

Season Games Won Lost OTL SL Points Pct % Goals
2007–0868 42 25 0 1 85 .625 272 214 2nd Central
2008–0968 26 31 5 6 63 .463 213 264 4th Central
2009–1068 26 34 2 6 60 .441 191 233 4th Central
2010–1168 45 17 2 4 96 .706 273 197 2nd Central
2011–1268 47 18 0 3 97 .713 291 169 1st Central
2012–1368 30 34 2 2 64 .471 227 250 4th Central
2013–1468 24 35 3 6 57 .419 223 284 4th Central
2014–1568 37 27 2 2 78 .574 274 237 3rd Central
2015–1668 35 26 4 3 77 .566 213 198 3rd Central


Season1st round2nd round3rd roundFinals
2007–08 W, 4–0, Mississauga Majors L, 4–2, Oshawa Generals
2008–09 W, 4–3, Ottawa 67s L, 4–1, Belleville Bulls
2009–10 L, 4–1, Ottawa 67s
2010–11 W, 4–0, Brampton Battalion W, 4–1, Oshawa Generals L, 4–1, Mississauga Majors
2011–12 W, 4–2, Oshawa Generals W, 4–0, Brampton Battalion W, 4–1, Ottawa 67sL, 4–1, London Knights
2012–13 L, 4–1, Oshawa Generals
2013–14 L, 4–3, North Bay Battalion
2014–15 W, 4–2, Ottawa 67's L, 4–1, Oshawa Generals
2015-16 W, 4-1, Ottawa 67's W, 4-0, Kingston Frontenacs W, 4-0, Barrie ColtsL, 4-0, London Knights

Uniforms and logos

The IceDogs colours are red, black and white. The home jersey is black with red, black and white sleeves with two crossed dog bones on each shoulder. The away jersey is white with red, black and white sleeves with two crossed dog bones on each shoulder. 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).


Meridian Centre

The IceDogs moved into the Meridian Centre on October 16, 2014. Located at 1 Ice Dogs Way in St. Catharines, the Meridian Centre features a combination of 5,300 permanent and retractable seats.

Jack Gatecliff Arena

The Gatorade Garden City Complex, formerly known as the Garden City Arena and the Jack Gatecliff Arena, is a publicly owned and operated facility 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 played in the Jack Gatecliff Arena of the complex for 7 seasons. 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. Renovated in 1996, it was named after local sportswriter Jack Gatecliff.

Niagara Falls Memorial Arena

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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