The Bozeman Icedogs are a Junior A Tier III hockey club playing in the America West Hockey League. They are based out of the Haynes Pavilion located in the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman, Montana. Haynes Pavilion is a multi-purpose facility that is the home of the Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association (BAHA) and Icedogs in the fall and winter.
A huge turn around from years past, the Bozeman Icedogs have enjoyed a fair number of wins this season. Wanting to learn more, EndZone got in touch with emcee GenoPlyler ‘the Icedog’ guy’.
EZ: Hi Geno! Thanks for your time today! How is the season going?
GP: The season is going great! For the first time in a long time, the Icedogs are fighting for a spot out of the basement. They’re currently in fifth place, trying to hold on to that. The fan support has been much better and the sponsors are coming through with lots of freebies for the fans!
EZ: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
GP: I’m originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg. [I] was a military brat my entire life and then spent twenty years in the Air Force as a Military Broadcaster. I did the evening news at 6 and 10 on TV in Turkey, the Azores, Crete, Greece, Japan, and Iceland—plus stationed in Forth Worth, New Hampshire, and Hawaii… Yeah, it was tough! I’ve interviewed Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, lots of others, met the Pope, did a lot of cool things.
EZ: Currently you are most known for emceeing athletic events for the Ice Dogs, the football team, and The Roller Girlz—have you ever been an athlete yourself?
GP: I was a High School Quarterback at Pine Forest High School and was a bodybuilder in the Air Force for six years—still work out, too. Five days a week.
EZ: You are locally famous for your face painting—when did you first start doing this?
GP: I started doing the face painting, about the 3rd Icedog game… Wanted to do something different and the fans really liked it and I had fun doing it. I’ve probably done about a 1,000 paint jobs in my fourteen years with the Icedogs. Lots of public appearances and radio/TV interviews painted up like the Icedog Guy!
EZ: And how did you earn the nickname “Geno the Icedog Guy”?
GP: I think that’s how I got the nickname—painting up and showing up at these events. Plus, I have the Icedog logo on my car and a Hockey Mask that hangs on the passenger side headrest. People sometimes freak out over that… It can be really funny!
EZ: What are your thoughts on the incredible turn-around by the Icedogs this past couple of months?
GP: Coaching and hard work, plus finding some real gems around the country, like #7 Devin Panzeca and John Carpenter, plus goalie Denis Romanovskis. Last year, Coach Vichorek led the team to five wins, yet he was voted Coach of the Year. Better penetration into the other team’s zone and a lot of hustle and attitude!
EZ: Adult athletics is integral to a thriving community; in what way do you think the people of Bozeman could best support these programs?
GP: Have more programs…. There’s things like indoor soccer that could be started, league teams. You could do programs like Superstars competition where teams compete in things like bicycle racing, basketball, bowling, running… Have companies sponsor them. Encourage getting [in] shape anyway you can, because we are the fattest nation in the world and that’s only going to get bigger without great programs. I’m really glad to see the increase in health clubs in the valley, like Fuel Fitness, Access, etc.
EZ: Anything else you would like to add about yourself or your involvement in the local athletics community?
GP: I have always been into athletics and I’ve trained people and got them in shape. Helped them lose weight… We have to stress it, not only as a way of life, but help people with company discounts into health clubs—which a lot of companies do now… Make it more important than having employees stay late, work overtime…. Have workout sessions together… You don’t have to become beautiful, just fit and healthy.
EZ: Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Geno! Looking forward to the rest of the season!
GP: Me too—big weekend in Glacier coming up!
To learn more about this fantastic hockey team, visit bozemanicedogs.pointstreaksites.com/view/bozemanicedogs. For a full schedule of adult hockey games, visit www.bozemanhockey.org.