The Dryden GM Ice Dogs are spending the off-season laying the foundation for a new season. General manager Brian Bates says they're very pleased, as they look back on the 2014 - 2015 season.
"If you were at our first training camp, with 30-some players coming out, we overachieved. No doubt about that," he said.
By the end, the Ice Dogs were runners-up in the league, and they advanced to the central canadian championships. Head coach Kurt Walsten has confirmed he's coming back, along with the general manager.
After some financial pressures late last year, the Ice Dogs are always keeping a close eye on their financial bottom line.
"We're always going to have financial problems," Bates said. "If you don't own your own bus, you're at the mercy of the people, who have the charters."
In Ear Falls, the team took the step of buying their own bus, and it's something the Ice Dogs will consider. However, it's a big expense initially, he noted.
"The other thing is to make sure you have a good product on the ice, so you can get people to come and watch it. I think towards the end of the year, we were able to do that.
Bates added the team is still working on relationships in the community, including the city as owners of the arena.
Over the summer, they'll be working on season tickets and sponsorships, not to mention recruiting for training camp.
"You have to have the right people committed, or it's not going to work," he said.