Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - Submitted by Burnie Mac
The Sydney Ice Dogs are proud to announce that Grant Toulmin, the team’s 2018 MVP, will be returning in 2019 for his fourth AIHL season. Last year, the speedy Canadian played through injury and set AIHL career highs in scoring, racking up 48 points (21G, 15A) in just 21 games.
Over the past three seasons, Toulmin has been one of the most productive Ice Dogs forwards, scoring 121 points (52G, 69A) in 69 regular season games. Toulmin has emerged as one of the league’s premier power forwards, and has been a driving force behind the Ice Dogs resurgence in the AIHL standings.
“Well it’s safe to say that there were some growing pains when I joined, and obvious speed bumps with the initial resurgence, but what I’ve noticed the most is the consistent growth of the club” said Toulmin.
“It has improved every season, and not only on the ice, but as an organisation, it’s has grown and improved. Including the awesome fans that stuck through the hard times and have helped the club get to where it is now.”
Despite the clubs success off the ice, Toulmin believes the Ice Dogs are ready to take the next step and get back the AIHL Finals for the first time since 2014. The Ice Dogs narrowly missed last year’s final series by one competition point, going down the Melbourne Mustangs 3-2 in the final game of the season.
“It’s no secret,” said Toulmin.
“The Ice Dogs goal isn’t to be a top four team; we want to play on Sunday during Finals weekend.”
“We’ve built on each year and continued to improve, and have been right on the door step these past two seasons. With the talent coming in this season, mixed with the core group here and the development of our younger players, the team will be looking to go all the way this season”
Toulmin admits that staying healthy will be one of his priorities in the 2019, but it was this year’s warmer than usual summer that caught him off guard as he prepares for the upcoming season.
“To put it lightly, I just tried to survive!” laughed Toulmin.
“I headed into my first full summer down here, and it was just a little bit warmer than the Canadian summers I’m used to. I had a few months left of school after the season, so that took up a lot of my time. Then I got the opportunity to take in everything a Sydney summer has to offer. I was told it is an entirely different place during the summer, and it certainly was, it was an amazing experience.”
The 2019 Ice Dogs campaign gets under way on Saturday 20 April at the Macquarie Ice Rink, when they face off against cross-town rivals the Sydney Bears. The Sydney Battle is one of the most hotly contested match ups on the AIHL calendar with capacity crowds cheering on the Sydney Clubs.