Springfield, Illinois – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has released the full 2022 NAHL Showcase Schedule and the Jr. Blues are proud to announce that we will be facing the El Paso Rhinos, Austin Bruins, Shreveport Mudbugs, and New Jersey Titans this year!
The action gets underway on September 14th at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN and will see all 29 organizations play at least three regular season games in the four day event. The ‘Greatest Show on Ice’ attracts scouts from the USHL, NCAA, and professional teams from across North America. And once again, the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) will be in attendance for two exhibition games.
Last season, the Jr. Blues finished up the showcase with a 3-1-0 record with victories over the Jamestown Rebels (7-0), Odessa Jackalopes (3-1), and Bismarck Bobcats (5-2). Connor Smith (Union College Commit) tallied 3 goals and 3 assists in four games and earned Midwest Division Star of the Week honors. The seven-goal outburst against Jamestown was one of five games last year in which the Jr. Blues scored at least seven goals and one of sixteen games where we scored five or more goals.
Here’s a quick preview of what to expect this September!
September 14th at 7:45 pm on Rink 4 vs. El Paso Rhinos (1st Matchup)
Our first battle against the Rhinos will kick off our 2022-23 season as we play the final game on Day 1. The Rhinos, who joined the NAHL after 14 seasons in the WSHL, finished last season with a 15-41-2-2 record for 34 points and finished in 8th place in the South Division. A learning experience in their first season, but we can’t look past the fact the Rhinos went 3-1 at the Showcase last year and will be looking to impress for Year 2 in the league.
September 15th at 5:15 pm on Rink 3 vs. Austin Bruins (Last: 4-3 W, 2017 Showcase)
We face-off with the Bruins on Day 2 as we look to recapture the success we had last time we played them during the 2017 Showcase. In their 12th season in the NAHL the Bruins finished in 2nd place in the Central Division with a 31-23-3-3 record for 68 points. They were swept in the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs by the Aberdeen Wings, but as a divisional powerhouse who has appeared in the postseason eight times, they are a team to respect. Especially after going 3-1 at the Showcase last year.
September 16th at 1:45 pm on Rink 1 vs. Shreveport Mudbugs (Last: 4-0 L, Feb. 2020)
The Mudbugs, a fellow two-time Robertson Cup Champion, will be our opponent on Day 3 in the afternoon. We last saw our friends from Louisiana during the 2019-20 season when we played a four game out-of-division series, going 1-3 in those games. After winning their second championship in three seasons, the Mudbugs concluded the 2021-22 season with a 34-21-1-4 record for 73 points and 4th place in the South Division. They fell in four games to the Lone Star Brahmas in the first round of the playoffs, but with two titles under their belts, the Mudbugs are looking to continue their success in 2022.
September 17th at 9:15 am on Rink 2 vs. New Jersey Titans (Last: 3-2 W, 2019 Showcase)
And our final game at the 2022 Showcase is our lone morning game of the season as we battle it out with the defending Robertson Cup Champion Titans. In what will have been the boys fourth game in 3 ½ days, they will face a team that finished one point away from the Regular Season Championship behind a 41-16-3-0 record for 85 points and 1st place in the East. With the first title from any East Division team, the expectations for the Titans will be high riding into the 2022-23 season and they will be looking to prove last season wasn’t a fluke.
After the Showcase concludes, the Jr. Blues will have an off weekend before welcoming our division rival Fairbanks Ice Dogs to town for our home opener on September 30th. It’ll be one of five games to start our home portion of our schedule as we host the Kenai River Brown Bears for a three game series the following weekend.
Keep your eyes open for updates on ticketing, promotions, and other team related news as get closer to the start of the 2022-23 season!