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Aldoff Returns As Ice Flyers Head Coach

Courtesy of Pensacola News Journal

When the Pensacola Ice Flyers play on the road this weekend, a familiar face will be behind the bench.

Kevin Hasselberg was fired Monday as head coach, despite a three-game sweep at home of the Peoria Rivermen, who Pensacola beat to win the President’s Cup last season.

Re-enter Rod Aldoff.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have coached here the past three years, and our team had some good success,” said Aldoff. “It’s always nice to come back. The City of Pensacola and the Ice Flyers have treated me very well, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Rod Aldoff coached the Ice Flyers the past three seasons, winning back-to-back SPHL President’s Cups in 2015 and ’16. He took a job last summer with the Norfolk Admirals in the higher-level ECHL, but he was fired only six weeks and 17 games into the season.

“We did have a change of ownership at Edmonton; I was under contract with them, a new staff was brought in and that’s what they felt they wanted to do,” Aldoff said.

Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
The Pensacola Ice Flyers' latest championship banner goes up at the Bay Center on opening night last October.

After 36 games of the Southern Professional Hockey League’s 56-game regular season, the Ice Flyers have 15 wins, 15 losses in regulation time and six losses in overtime – good for 36 points and seventh place in the ten-team league. The top eight teams make the playoffs and Aldoff recognizes the sense of urgency, going into games Friday and Saturday nights at Roanoke, and a Sunday matchup in Huntsville.

“Obviously, we’re going into the weekend to win three games,” said Aldoff, “But on the flip side for me, not only to win the games but also to learn this team and get to know some of the players and see what type of team we have and what type of team, going forward, we need to win a championship.”

Aldoff’s evaluation process is expected to be helped by the holdovers from last year’s squad.

“There’s five of them here still, that were on the team last year, and I know a few other guys as well,” Aldoff said. “So those definitely will help.”

One potential added bonus could come from Aldoff’s time as a scout for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Some of that talent could make its way to the Gulf Coast.

“I did see a lot of players, I have a good feel for some of the players and teams that I saw over the past months here,” said Aldoff. “I’m going to try to take advantage of that for sure, and once college [hockey season] is over, see where the chips fall and see what we can do.”

As far as his future, Rod Aldoff says he’s not looking past this weekend’s road trip short-term, and his long-term view extends only to this end of this season – for now.