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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : sports May 22, 2015

8/8/2012 8:59:00 PM
Sundogs renew affiliation agreement with Coyotes, sign defenseman
Courtesy PhotoThe Arizona Sundogs added veteran defenseman Mario Larocque to its 2012-13 roster Wednesday. Larocque was a former first-round selection (16th) in the 1996 NHL early Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Courtesy Photo

The Arizona Sundogs added veteran defenseman Mario Larocque to its 2012-13 roster Wednesday. Larocque was a former first-round selection (16th) in the 1996 NHL early Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Special to the Courier

Phoenix Coyotes V.P. of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving announced Wednesday that the Coyotes have renewed their affiliation agreement with the Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League (CHL).

"We are pleased to formalize this relationship with the Arizona Sundogs as we look to grow hockey in the state of Arizona," Treliving said. "We look forward to a strong partnership this season."

The Sundogs play their home games at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. Arizona is one of 12 teams that compete in the CHL. The franchise was founded in 2005 and hosted the CHL All-Star Game last season.

"Last year's affiliation with the Coyotes was positive for both organizations," Sundogs General Manager Chris Presson said. "David Schlemko is just one example of why an affiliation between the Coyotes and the Sundogs is so exciting. We were proud to have him here and we're looking forward to assisting the Coyotes in the future."

Sundogs Sign Veteran Defenseman

The Arizona Sundogs announced Wednesday that hard-hitting veteran defenseman, Mario Larocque has signed with the team for the 2012-13 Central Hockey League Season.  "Larocque is a huge signing for us," Presson said of the 34-year-old Montreal Quebec native.

Larocque began his pro career in 1998 and has played in 844 games and amassed an impressive 381 points (128 goals and 253 assists) and 2,667 penalty minutes over the course of his career.

Larocque was selected by Tampa Bay in the 1st Round (16th) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.  He managed to play five games with Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL) and accrued 16 penalty minutes. Following his short stint in the NHL, he spent the rest of the 1998-99 season playing in the International Hockey League (IHL) with the Cleveland Lumberjacks where he tallied 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) and 202 penalty minutes. 

From 1999-01 he played with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL before being assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) where he tallied 15 points (8 goals and 7 assists) and 219 penalty minutes in 75 games. Over the next five seasons he split his time between the ECHL and United Hockey League (UHL) playing for the Wheeling Nailers from 2002-04 totaling 79 points (31 goals and 48 assists) and then the Danbury Trashers from 2004-06 scoring 47 points (11 goals and 36 assists).

Before heading overseas to Austria and Italy for three seasons, he played for the Fort Wayne Komets of the now defunct UHL.  Larocque saw his career high come while with the Komets putting up 67 points (27 goals and 40 assists) and 231 penalty minutes and was also awarded the UHL Most Goals by Defenseman. Returning to the states halfway through the 2009-10 season he joined the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL and played 31 games.

During 2010-11 season Larocque played for the Evansville Icemen of the Central Hockey League (CHL) where he was their assistant captain and scored 44 points (17 goals and 27 assists). Last season he played in 69 games with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL and racked up 140 penalty minutes while scoring 45 points (7 goals and 38 assists).

"This will by my 15th season playing hockey and I'm looking forward to playing it in Arizona", Larocque said. "I like the way Chris and Dave are putting the pieces together of the team.  I know guys that have played with Arizona before and they've all said that this organization treats their players good and that's important to me."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Article comment by: C C

Looking forwarded to a winning year

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: Mile High

We Love Hockey Season!
It's the best entertainment around!

We've supported them all 7 years now...
Hoping for a great season "all - around".

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: Sundog Fan

Coyotes/Sundogs sign an affiliation agreement yesterday, but the Coyotes signed their real AA minor league affiliation with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL on Tuesday 8/7. Gwinnett was the same team the Coyotes sent 7-8 players to last year. Gwinnett will get the players and Sundog fans get an ocassional discount on Coyote's tickets. When the Sundog ownership finally figures out they need someone with NHL experience to run the hockey operations, then they'll be taken seriously by the Coyotes and have a true AA affiliation that will include players. The Sundog ownership has done a good job with sponsorships but they need to upgrade the hockey operation's management to move to the next level.

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: Luv My Hockey!

Welcome Mario! It looks like the powers that be are really trying to line up a strong team this year, and I'm really looking forward to a great season. Go 'Dogs!

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