DRYDEN, Ont. — The off-season continues to be a busy time for the back-to-back Superior International Junior Hockey League Bill Salonen Cup champion Dryden GM Ice Dogs.
The team has re-signed head coach and general manager Kurt Walsten to a five-year contract extension, which will see him behind the Dryden bench through the 2022-23 season.
Since making his appearance as head coach, the GM Ice Dogs have made it to the SIJHL finals four years in a row, including winning back-to-back Bill Salonen Cup championships in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
“In Kurt’s four years with the Dryden GM Ice Dogs, he has raised the bar significantly for what we expect out of a coach,” stated team president Mike Sveinson.
“He has been in the finals each season he’s been here and he has steered us to back-to-back championships,” added Sveinson.
“Kurt is fiercely loyal to the team and to Dryden as well as determined to improve year after year which is evident by his stellar player recruitment and almost every 20-year old player who has played here during his tenure have gone on to post-secondary scholarships.”
“Kurt has been and will continue to be everything we can ask for in a head coach and this new contract is our commitment to him for all he has done, and all he will do for the team in the future,” summarized Sveinson.
Player signings have also kept the organization busy most notably the re-signing of hometown players, Graham Oliphant and Trey Palermo, along with a commitment from Dylan Winsor of the Kenora AAA Midget Thistles program.
Winsor hails from Ear Falls and has been drafted by the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.
“I’m looking forward to building a new championship team and very excited to meet my new teammates and can’t wait to get things started,” said second-year veteran Oliphant.
As for Palermo, he too is excited to be back with the club for another campaign.
“I’m happy to re-sign with the team as it’s my last year of junior hockey and the last time I can put on a Dryden GM Ice Dogs’ jersey. I couldn’t be happier to finish it all off in my hometown. I’m looking forward to another season of Ice Dogs’ hockey and hopefully coming home with Ring No. 3.”
The organization has also added a new logo heading into the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs season opener will be at home on Friday, September 21 as they host the Fort Frances Lakers at the Dog Pound.