After a two-year whirlwind as General Manager and Vice President, Jason Juba has resigned from his role to focus on family and other business ventures.
A member of the 2004 championship Ice Dogs team, Juba returned to the Ice Dogs as General Manager in 2016 to rebuild the team.
He said it was his love for the club that brought him back.
“It has been a fun ride and journey these past two years meeting and working with some amazing people that have the same passion and commitment to seeing the club succeed,” he said.
“When Scott Stephenson and I started we were able to build from the ground up and slowly we have added people to help us out and there is now a fantastic group of volunteers and committee members that do an unreal job of contributing year round to making our club successful. ”
“I am forever grateful for the hard work they have put in and continue to put in.”
“I want really thank the fans for all their support and sticking with us through our darkest days and our move to a new arena. I hope that they can now enjoy having a winning hockey club they deserve.
“I would also like to thank Chris Buchanan and Donna Moore for the hard work they put in to keep the club running through the 2015 season and assisting through the transition. We would not be here today without their efforts either.
“Chris Blagg and Chris Foster also put in a tremendous amount of work to help the club get within four points of a playoff spot in the 2017 season, I wish Blaggy [Chris Blagg] the best of luck in his new position and know he will lead the committee and club well as President.
“I know that Frij [Ice Dogs Head Coach Andrew Petrie] and his new coaching staff will work diligently in 2018 to bring the club back into the playoffs, and help achieve our ultimate goal of bringing the Goodall Cup back to Sydney.”
“Last but not least I want to say thank you to all the players from the past two seasons who did absolutely everything they could into getting us back to having a winning culture.”
Juba certainly had his work cut out for him coming into the club in mid-February of 2016 with no confirmed Australian playing roster or Imports.
“The club was in a real tough spot. No one wanted to play for the last place team in the league. Even after a few of the older guys confirmed, others still weren’t 100% sure. It was like even if we pull off this team, we don’t even have a coach.” remembers Captain Scott Stephenson.
With some persistence, Juba’s efforts began to materialise as veterans Andrew White, Todd Stephenson, Dave Dunwoodie, Scott Stephenson and Tomas Manco returned to the club. They were joined by returning imports Strat Allen and Kevin Harvey and the Ice Dogs soon had a core to build around. But it was probably the convincing of ex Australian National team and Sydney Bears coach Vlad Rubes to coach the Ice Dogs that best illustrates the GM’s abilities to persuade.
Unfortunately 2016 didn’t bring the success the team was searching for. Plagued by injuries, the Ice Dogs managed just 7 wins for second last place. But as far as the league was concerned, the Ice Dogs were back as a competitive and challenging team to play against.
Juba said one of the clubs proudest accomplishments over the past two years was the rebirth of the Matt Clark Charity Shield in 2016. With the help of Matt Child and Mark Gibson the idea to not only pay homage to the storied Warringah Bombers, but fundraise for a great cause. created a roller coaster of momentum that has fundraised $15,000 towards the Leukaemia Foundation to date.
“What I enjoy most about the Matt Clark Sheild is not only the money it has raised for Leukemia but also what it did for the Clark family as well. I really hope this continues to grow and continue for years to come,” he said.
After an exhausting rebuild in 2016, the job was far from done as President Chris Blagg and Jason Juba brokered an agreement to move the club to the newly renovated and 1,500 capacity Macquarie Ice Rink.
With a new facility, restored core and the addition of some exciting prospects, Juba and the Ice Dogs went back to work in pursuit of a Goodall Cup. Juba signed Damien Ketlo (2017 Goalie of the year), returning Grant Toulmin, NHL Draft picks Stephen Johnston and professional journeyman Rory Rawlyk along with Aussie veterans ex-Ice Dog Billy Cliff and Davey Upton. The Dogs weren’t only competitive again but were in the thick of the playoff race falling just shy by 4 points.
“There have been so many great moments, but one that sticks out for me is our 2017 season opener at Macquarie where we had a full house, and Damien Ketlo shut out our biggest rival in his first game in Australia, It really showed how far we had come in 12 months” he said.
While Jason has stepped away officially from the club he will be still be involved in further developing the Ice Dogs Alumni as the club enters its 17th season.
Hear the interview with Jason Juba on the Fifth Line Podcast here: