Rob Proffitt was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, MI. He began playing hockey as a young boy and excelled from the beginning. Fate intervened at age 14 when he sustained a serious injury. Rob explains, “I broke my neck while swimming. I didn’t play hockey again for four years. I started working as a ref. That experience helped me learn the game better. Looking back on it, I developed a good part of my coaching philosophy while working as a teenage ref.”
After high school, Rob tried a couple years of college. “I was not focused on my classes. I got passing grades, but let’s just say that they weren’t up to parents’ standards,” he explains.
Proffitt came to Fairbanks in 1991 to try out for the Gold Kings. It would be his first taste of full-contact hockey in six years. He was a “high energy” player who frequently irritated opponents.
Proffitt began coaching youth hockey almost as soon as he arrived in the Interior. “That first year, I was an assistant to Roger McKinnon with a Bantam team. I also coached Lathrop High School for two years,” Rob recalls.
In 1997, a new “Junior” team was created. This is the squad we know as the Ice Dogs. Mr. Proffitt has been the heart and soul of this program since its inception. He served as both Head Coach and General Manager from day one, until stepping aside as coach at the start of the 2008 season.
That change did not mean the end of Proffitt’s coaching career. Far from it. He has coached the Arctic Lions competition team for several years. Ben Roth has served as Proffitt’s assistant coach during that time, “Rob brings a unique set of skills to the Fairbanks hockey community. Day after day, he comes prepared to give his all. Rob’s coaching and practices provide his athletes the opportunity to learn skills, team play and the confidence to perform at a higher level. In addition, he teaches valuable life lessons including discipline, work ethic, and respect. It’s been a great learning experience for the players, for Rob and for me. I hope he continues to influence the hockey culture in Fairbanks for years to come."
Proffitt has also coached the Arctic Lions Midget team, which is considered one of the best Midget programs in the United States.
Mr. Proffitt explains his approach to coaching, “I’m passionate and competitive about hockey. It’s no secret that my emotions have gotten me in trouble a few times, but I also feel that they are my greatest strength. Once I learned to harness those emotions, I’ve continued to grow as a coach. I’ve been lucky to attend many high-level coaching clinics, surrounded by the top coaches in the country. I’ve taken bits and pieces of coaching strategy from every one of them, whether they were in the NHL or with a Pee Wee team. I love to go to the rink every day and share my passion with the players. Hopefully, they’ll take that passion for hockey into other aspects of their life."
Many coaches expect players to succeed in the classroom. Rob demands it. He also requires a certain level of behavior when his teams are in public. He prepares them to succeed not only at their current level, but also several years into the future. There isn’t anyone in Fairbanks who does as much for the sport of hockey as Rob Proffitt.
To contact Rob, please email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org