Thursday, May 8, 2014 - Submitted by Andrew McMurtry
The Sydney Ice Dogs have announced Andrew Petrie as the new head coach of the team for the next two seasons.
Petrie is set to take the reins for the first time this weekend as the Sydney Ice Dogs take on the Newcastle North Stars in the first grand final rematch of the year at the Liverpool Catholic Club on Saturday night taking over from interim coach Dion Dunwoodie.
A prolific coach and player with 35 years in Australian ice hockey, Petrie said that hockey has been the “one consistent passion in my life through to now”.
“I’ve played and coached at pretty much every level in Australian hockey at one time or another,” Petrie said. “I’ve always been pretty passionate about coaching. It’s harder than playing for a number of reasons. There are a lot more moving parts when you’re coaching. But I’m super passionate about it. It’s come at a good time for me as well. It’s a good connection I have to the club and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Having discovered hockey “by accident” at the age of eight or nine years of age, Petrie began playing in Melbourne with the Dandenong Blackhawks in the 1970’s.
Moving to Sydney in the mid-90’s Petrie joined the Blacktown Bullets, who became the Sydney Ice Dogs.
Petrie retired from playing for the Ice Dogs in 2002-03, but made an appearance for the Central Coast Rhinos in 2005, playing 11 games for 17 points.
As a passionate player, Petrie also played and coached inline hockey, including previously coaching the Australian inline team.
However, after hearing the position was vacant at the Sydney Ice Dogs, Petrie contacted Ice Dogs president Shane Rose to throw his hat into the ring.
“I got in touch with Shane via a mutual acquaintance and the opportunity to help the team arose,” Petrie said. “It immediately struck a chord with me. I had a connection to the club, I still knew some people here and I have a lot of affection for the organisation and was more than happy to put my hand up and help out.”
After viewing his team training for the first time as coach on Thursday night, Petrie said he was very happy with what he had seen and hopeful about what the season may yet hold for the defending champions.
“The talent level is very high,” Petrie said. “The effort that they gave me tonight was way higher than what I was expecting in terms of having a go and skating hard. So I was very impressed. What I really want to do is build a culture at the club that is positive and becomes a shining light in the league and help contribute to the growth of the sport in the country, which for me is the most exciting I’ve seen in my 35 years.”
Rose said that Petrie was the man to lead the Ice Dogs forward and that he knew it from the first time they spoke.
“Andrew will bring the family culture to the Ice Dogs and that’s exactly what we want here,” Rose said. “As soon as I met Andrew up the coast, it was almost as if you had an instant affinity with each other. What I was saying, he was agreeing and vice versa; it was just great. I think he’s going to be a perfect fit for the club.”
Rose said that the remainder of Petrie’s coaching staff would be announced in due course.
The Sydney Ice Dogs will have their first home games of the season this weekend, taking on the North Stars on Saturday and the Adelaide Adrenaline on Sunday.