Coach Kirk Macdonald Talks Dubuque Fighting Saints’ Hot Start to Season
The Dubuque Fighting Saints are off to a seriously hot start. 20 games into the season, and the Saints have wracked up 13 wins and 7 losses, good enough for first in the Eastern Conference. Their performance has been stellar enough to give them 31 points, trailing only the league-leading Fargo Force, who have 33 points (but only 12 wins).
To get an idea of what's behind the Fighting Saints' strong start to the season, I invited head coach Kirk Macdonald into the studio. Macdonald was hired as the sixth head coach of the Fighting Saints last summer (the same time he was last in studio). Previously the head coach of the Reading Royals of the ECHL, Macdonald brought a defensive acumen and a resume of developing players to Dubuque.
Macdonald's philosophies have been a big part of the Fighting Saints' early success so far this season. Macdonald credits familiarity and routine as a big part of the reason for the wins:
[It's] Familiarity. Especially with the returning players, we had quite a few this year, and I think just coming in from day one, having the whole summer, and last year, [the players] knew what I want and vice-versa. Familiarity with the staff, four of us worked together last year, so, again, like, you come in and you feel like you're already in a routine, you're not trying to figure everything out [....] [The returning players] kind of know the system you want to play, the standards, the things that are expected of them. - Fighting Saints head coach Kirk MacDonald
The Fighting Saints' accomplishments go beyond the USFL. Six players selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft were Saints at one time. Matthew Savoie became the highest drafted Saints alum at #9 to the Buffalo Sabres. Don't forget that former Fighting Saint Johnny Gaudreau inked a huge deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets last offseason too.
Learn more about the secret sauce to the Dubuque Fighting Saints' hot start to the 2023-24 season by listening to my full interview with Kirk Macdonald below. Don't forget you can get tickets to Fighting Saints games on their website, or tune into Eagle 102.3 to hear every game!
Art on the Dubuque Riverwalk (2023-24)
Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski