The Minnesota Freeze is under new management, and they’re wasting no time putting their own mark on the storied franchise. Chris Dunn, owner of the Atlanta Firebirds, has been tabbed to take over the Freeze and is bringing with him new faces at coach and under center.
The Freeze were built into one of the league’s finest teams under the leadership of owner Patrick Tanis, but the team has slipped off since Tanis had to step away to manage a number of political dealings.
“I always held Pat in high esteem and respected the way he built up this franchise, and it’s an honor to try to carry on that legacy,” said Dunn. “I wish he was back here running the Freeze again, but we’ll try to build a winner he would be proud of.”
Dunn said he welcomes a challenge, but said he didn’t think the task was quite as tall as many believe.
“I have laud to prior management. There’s a perception out there that there wasn’t much talent left behind in Minnesota, but the cupboard was far from bare when we got here,” said Dunn. “Carlton (Jeffcoat) really pieced together some quality players. If you look at the roster we inherited, I don’t know why it didn’t win more games, but we’re going to try to put our own touch on it and see what we can do.”
Gone is head coach Mike Jones who led the team for a decade, but has languished in recent years. Coach and team decided to part ways amicably, and Jones is expected to be a prime candidate for several top jobs in 2019.
“Obviously, Mike has been one of the best coaches in league history. There’s really no debating that,” said Dunn. “We felt it was in the best interest of both sides to go our separate ways.”
Dunn has tabbed SFL Hall of Famer Dave Dickenson as the new head coach. Dickenson, a famed quarterback for the Seattle Orcas, comes to the Freeze from the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and is expected to bring with him a wide-open passing attack.
“I’ve been a big fan of Dave’s, both as a player and a coach, and I’m thrilled to get a chance to work with him,” said Dunn. “We share a vision for a thrilling aerial attack here, and I can’t wait to put it into motion.”
Similar to Jones, Minnesota and their legendary quarterback Josh McCown decided it was time to say goodbye. Frustrated by the talent surrounding him, McCown wanted to chase a championship elsewhere.
“Josh is one of the league’s all-time greats, and he wanted a chance to compete for another title, so he expressed his desire to explore the open market,” said Dunn. “Out of respect for all he’s done for Minnesota, we granted his wish, and we wish him the best of luck wherever he signs.”
Eager to fill in McCown’s spot with an established starter, Dunn opened the checkbook to sign Mike Reilly away from the Utah Raptors.
“Mike has flashed elite talent, and we really think he’s ready to ascend to the ranks of the truly elite,” said Dunn. “We think we can make that happen in Minny, and we’re dedicated to getting him the tools to win a title. You don’t get many opportunities to sign a player of his caliber, and we just couldn’t pass it up.”