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A letter to the fans from Doug Christiansen

Wednesday, June 23rd
A letter to the fans from Doug Christiansen

To our loyal fans,

What a year! It is amazing to think how much has changed in our lives since I sat down to write this letter last year. Words cannot express how much we appreciate your dedicated support over the course of a uniquely challenging but historically successful season for the Indy Fuel. I truly hope that our season helped bring joy to your family and friends amidst some challenging times for all Americans.

On a personal level, I am so grateful to have such passionate fans who followed protocols and supported our team day in and day out. We cannot thank you enough for socially distancing and wearing masks to keep us and fellow fans safe while cheering the team on.

This season brought a lot of things to celebrate: the franchise record for wins, the first playoff win in franchise history and two months as the top team in the ECHL; however, I am most proud of how this team wore masks for 10-hour bus trips and wore masks between periods to keep each other safe. Their daily sacrifice cannot be overstated. I am so proud of how our players stuck together and kept each other healthy.  I believe our success this season can be largely attributed to how well the players followed protocols and kept each other safe.

The season can be all-encompassing with the inevitable highs and lows. Every coach, player and fan knows that you’re either going to end the season with a championship or a disappointing playoff loss.  In order to move forward, let’s take a look back:

I clearly remember our first meeting as a team. All of us, including myself, did not know if we would be able to finish the season. The country was experiencing a covid spike following Thanksgiving and we knew that the league was going to have a hard time navigating an unpredictable and unprecedented healthcare crisis.  Our team decided we would focus on hockey and do everything we could to keep each other safe. And we did just that! Our first two months exceeded every expectation featuring seven third-period comebacks and a number of tremendous overtime wins, including a franchise-record four OT winners by Matt Marcinew. The team raced to the top of the ECHL standings and enjoyed an outstanding start.

Our start was followed by a rash of injuries and AHL call-ups and our overall play dipped as we worked to regain the momentum we had to start the season. Our resurgence coincided with our players getting fully vaccinated and our 10-game road trip in May. Due to covid, we were not able to have team meals or spend a lot of time together off the ice; however, in early May, that all changed and our team bonded on the road trips to South Carolina and South Dakota, especially in Rapid City. Our team dropped the first two games in Rapid City in heartbreaking fashion but the group came together on Saturday night knowing that we needed a win. Once again, it was Matt Marcinew scoring the game-winning goal with less than two minutes left. The game finished with us killing off a 6v3 powerplay and the win pushed us even closer to our playoff goal.

If you ever wonder how much the team cared about the season, I look at two defining periods that led to hugely consequential wins: the first period versus Kansas City on the night we clinched our berth in the playoffs and the first period in Greenville when we won the first playoff game in franchise history. In those two periods, we outshot our opponents by a combined total of 37-9! The team gave everything they had and were rewarded for their efforts.

I must admit that the loss to Greenville in the playoff still stings. I wish we were still playing hockey. Our team battled hard and lost to a very good team. One of my biggest takeaways was how much fun Indiana Farmers Coliseum will be in the playoffs in the future! I loved seeing the white towels everywhere and seeing the passion in the arena. We are determined to continue to develop and grow as a team to ensure more playoff hockey in Indy!

While we hope to have many players return next season, inevitably some will retire, head to Europe, and embark on new paths, but I hope you, like me, will look fondly back on this season, and to this group of men, who navigated a global pandemic to have the best season in franchise history!

See you next season,

Doug Christiansen

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Playoffs: Round 1, Game 6
Monday, April 29th
Playoffs: Round 1, Game 6
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
at
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Playoffs: Round 1, Game 7
Tuesday, April 30th
Playoffs: Round 1, Game 7
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
at
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
FUEL FACE NAILERS IN MUST-WIN GAME FIVE
FUEL FACE NAILERS IN MUST-WIN GAME FIVE
FUEL FALL TO WHEELING IN GAME 4
FUEL FALL TO WHEELING IN GAME 4
FUEL LOOK TO TIE SERIES IN GAME 4
FUEL LOOK TO TIE SERIES IN GAME 4

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