Tag Archives: nahl

2018 Main Camp In The Books

Over 120 players from around the world came to Springfield over the weekend, looking to score a spot on the Springfield Jr. Blues team. Many of the players from the 2017-18 team were also in attendance.

There were six teams of players who skated for three days (2-4 games per player) in front of the team coaches and scouts, and in the end, only 30 players were selected.

Main Camp was invitation-only event, while Draft Camp, which took place in May, is open to anyone 16-20 years of age.

While coaches have selected their roster and players have been notified, the official list will not be released to the public until later in the summer.

Former Springfield Player now AHL Assistant Coach

The Nashville Predators announced today, their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, have a new Assistant Coach, who is also a former Springfield Jr. Blues Player. Greg Rallo,  a native of Gurnee, Illinois recently finished his 12 year professional playing career. During his professional career, Rallo, 36, played in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.

Rallo played four seasons at Ferris State University after playing for Springfield from 2000-2002.

NAHL sets another new single-season NCAA commitment record

The National American Hockey League (NAHL) announced today the league has broken another record. For the fifth straight year, the NAHL has increased its number of NCAA commitments for players moving on to college to continue to play hockey.

During the 2017-2018 hockey season, 312 commitments (and counting) were made to play NCAA college hockey. This number has increased from 305 the year before.

Of the current 312 commitments this past season, 14 of them were Springfield Jr. Blues players or recent alumni.

“I think the thing that stands out is that our commitment numbers continue to rise because the level of play and talent
getting better each season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “There is a better and more
balanced level of competition because the players are being educated and trained at a higher level. There also been a
collective effort and commitment by our owners and coaches to really emphasize and place a priority on player
development and advancement.”

The NAHL continues to be a premier developmental league, with players going on to play NCAA hockey, and even move to the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.

 

2018 Main Camp Preview

The Springfield Jr. Blues will host its annual Main Camp this weekend, July 13-15. Main Camp is open to the public and free to view!

Springfield has invited over 120 players to try out at camp and will have games running all weekend.

Games begin on Friday at noon, run all day Saturday, with a final All-Star game on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

From this weekend, Springfield will pick a 30-man protected list of players to bring back in late August for practice.

Springfield will host an equipment sale on Saturday from 10-12 in Locker Room A.

BREAKING NEWS! 2018-19 Schedule Released

Today the NAHL has officially released the 2018-19 schedule for your Springfield Jr. Blues!

See the Springfield Jr. Blues schedule HERE!

From the NAHL:

NAHL releases 2018-19 regular season schedule

JULY 2, 2018

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the release of the 2018-19 regular season schedule.
Celebrating its 44th season in 2018-19, the NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league of its kind in the United States and one of only two USA Hockey-certified leagues that operate under the non pay-to-play model.  The NAHL is also one of the best at advancing players to NCAA and professional hockey.
The NAHL is on the cusp of setting yet another new single-season NCAA commitments record. With 305 commitments to date, the league has equaled its record-breaking total of NCAA commitments set last season. That also includes 221 NCAA Division I commitments this past season, which is a new all-time record. The league also saw nine players with NAHL experience selected in the 2018 NHL Draft held last week in Dallas, Texas.
“The schedule release is always an exciting day for NAHL teams and fans as they get the first look of which teams they will be playing and what type of rivalries will be forged and continued this season. We are coming off another incredible year of advancement and development, with another record-breaking NCAA commitment total and nine players selected in the 2018 NHL Draft,” stated NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “Our owners worked together diligently and collectively to make the schedule happen in a timely manner and our continued success is the direct result of their leadership and commitment, along with the talented players, committed coaches and wonderful relationships with the NCAA and NHL.”
Each of the 24 teams in the league’s four divisions (Central, East, Midwest and South) will play 60 regular season games. The regular season will commence on September 13, 2018 and end on April 7, 2019.
The 16th annual NAHL Showcase Tournament will be held from September 19-22, 2018 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.  All 24 NAHL teams will play four regular-season games at the Showcase, which is one of hockey’s most prominent and popular events of the entire season. For scouting purposes, the event is a yearly gathering for every NCAA program and NHL team as they get their first look at some of the best and brightest hockey talent North America has to offer. A showcase schedule will be announced on a future date. The 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament will be held from February 18-19, 2019 at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. A schedule and format will be announced on a future date. The 2019 Robertson Cup Championship, which crowns the NAHL’s playoff champion and USA Hockey’s Tier II Junior National Champion, will be held from May 10-13, 2019 at a neutral site and will feature the four NAHL Divisional Playoff Champions. A location for the event has yet to be determined.

NAHL is Represented in the 2018 NHL Draft

Released by the NAHL:
It was a banner day and one the NAHL will long remember as the 2018 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft wrapped up its second day on Saturday, June 23rd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
In all, nine players that play or have previously played in the NAHL were taken in the draft. It is the most players taken with NAHL experience since the 2010 NHL Draft when the NAHL had 16 players with NAHL experience selected, which included those from the NTDP team when they were members of the league until 2009.
“This is part of the continuing evolution of the North American Hockey League. Players are getting more exposure, more opportunities for advancement, and as a result more and more of them are worthy of consideration by NHL teams during the draft,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “Having our coaches at the event was a great experience for everyone and we are thrilled at how the weekend went. We continue to see incredible numbers of NHL scouts at our events and because our players are competing at such a high level, we have been able to enjoy continued success at the NHL Draft. We congratulate all those players selected.”
The list of those selected included Lone Star Brahmas goalie Mitchell Gibson, who was the NAHL Goaltender and Rookie of the Year this past season. Gibson was the first American-born goaltender selected in the 2018 NHL Draft when the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals selected him #124 overall in the 4th Round.
“I knew Washington was a possibility, but you never know. It really is a dream come true. After this past year, I had a lot of confidence in my game and myself. I was real excited to get an opportunity with Lone Star in the NAHL this year,” said Gibson, who attended the draft with his parents.
The 6’1/186 lbs. native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Harvard University, tied an NAHL single-season record with 11 shutouts in 2017-18. Gibson also finished the regular season leading in the NAHL in goals against average (1.59) and save percentage (93.5%), which were both the lowest numbers in the league since the 2014-15 season. He was also 2nd in wins with 26 and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for one of two NAHL Selects teams.  The last goalie to win both the NAHL Goaltender of the Year and NAHL Rookie of the Year honors in the same season was current Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who did it in 2011-12 with the Odessa Jackalopes.
In the 7th round, Janesville Jets forward Jakov Novak heard his name called by the Ottawa Senators with the 188th overall pick in the 7th round. The NAHL Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year from the 2017-18 season put together a remarkable season for the Jets. Novak, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Bentley University in the fall, led all NAHL players in scoring during the regular season with 73 points in 56 games played. That included 32 goals, which also tied for the NAHL lead. He also led the NAHL with a +41 rating during the regular season, showing his talent at both ends of the ice. Novak (6’3/200) was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he improved his NHL Draft stock by recording four points in two games for one of the two NAHL Selects teams. In his two-year NAHL career, he has recorded 101 points in 108 career regular season games.
“I’m honored to be part of such an unbelievable organization and beyond excited for what the future holds,” said Novak. “Honestly, I’m at a loss for words. I’m super excited and can’t wait to get things going. Training camp starts Monday.”
Janesville Jets Owner and President Bill McCoshen, who is also the NAHL’s Chairman of the Board, attended the Draft and offerered his thoughts about Novak getting drafted, as well as, the NAHL’s big day. “You may not finish here, but it is a great place to start and increase your development and move on. It is obvious that players in the NAHL are getting noticed. I think the level of our coaching is a main reason more and more guys are getting committed to NCAA schools and drafted by NHL teams.”
“When Jakov was selected I cheered. To have a kid like Jakov develop like he did in a one-year period was incredible. His development was spectacular. He put in the work off the ice to get stronger and faster and everything worked,” said McCoshen.
The other seven NAHL players drafted were all recent players in the league and include (alphabetical):
Paul Cotter, F, Brookings Blizzard (Vegas Golden Knights, Round 4/#115): The native of Canton, Michigan, led the Blizzard in scoring during the 2016-17 regular season with 60 points, which included 28 goals and 32 assists. His 60 points was tied for 6th among all NAHL players and earned him NAHL Rookie of the Year honors. Cotter committed to Western Michigan during his year in the NAHL and will play for the Broncos in 2018-19.
Mikael Hakkarainen, F, Brookings Blizzard (Chicago Blackhawks, Round 5/#139): The native of Espoo, Finland had an incredible rookie season for the Blizzard in the NAHL in 2015-16. Hakkarainen, who is committed to play at Providence College this upcoming season, recorded 40 points in 54 regular season games and was named to the All-NAHL Rookie 2nd Team in 2015-16.
Cole Koepke, F, Minnesota Wilderness (Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 6/#183): The native of Hermantown, Minnesota joined the Wilderness in the NAHL towards the end of the 2015-16 season. In total he played in 17 games, which included nine during the regular season and eight more during the Robertson Cup Playoffs. Koepke will be playing at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2018-19.
Brandon Kruse, F, Brookings Blizzard (Vegas Golden Knights, Round 5/#135): Kruse is a great ladder of development success story, who rocketed up the draft board after his one season in the NAHL with the Blizzard in 2016-17 and then an incredible rookie season in the NCAA this past year at Bowling Green. The native of Saline, Michigan, had 46 points in 59 games played for the Blizzard in 2016-17 and also committed to Bowling Green. During his freshman season at Bowling Green in 2017-18, he recorded 33 points in 41 games played.
Jake Kucharski, G, Austin Bruins (Carolina Hurricanes, Round 7/#197): Kucharski had climbed the ladder of development, which dates back all the way to the Esmark Stars 16U team of the NAPHL during the 2015-16 season. The native of Erie, Pennsylvania, then went onto the NAHL the following season in 2016-17 with the Austin Bruins. Kucharski played in 34 games and posted a goals against average of 3.31 and a save percentage of .894. He is committed to play at Providence College during the 2019-20 season.
Ivan Prosvetov, G, Minnesota Magicians (Arizona Coyotes, Round 4/#114): Prosvetov spent the entire 2016-17 season with the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL. He also played in the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament where he first caught the eye of NHL scouts. During the 2016-17 season in the NAHL, the native of Moskva, Russia, played in 44 regular season games and posted a goals against average of 2.52 and a save percentage of .928.
Nathan Smith, F, Aberdeen Wings (Winnipeg Jets, Round 3/#91): Smith, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato this upcoming season, played in the NAHL for a small portion of the 2016-17 season. The native of Hudson, Florida, recorded two points in four games with the Wings.

Springfield Equipment and Merchandise Sale

The Springfield Jr. Blues will hold their annual equipment and merchandise sale on Saturday July 14th, 2018. The sale will run from 10:00 am until 12 noon inside Rink 1!

You can also stay and watch prospective players and maybe run into a few fan-favorites, as Camp will be going on!

The sale will include new and used equipment at discounted prices. It will also include merchandise.

Items may include:

  • Sticks
  • Helmets
  • Socks
  • Replica Jerseys
  • Game Worn Jerseys
  • T-Shirts
  • and More!

*All sales will be final*

Springfield defenseman Mickelson makes NCAA commitment

JUNE 20, 2018
The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that defenseman Chase Mickelson has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at St. Norbert College.
Mickelson, 21, is another great example of the NAPHL to NAHL to NCAA ladder of development success story. The 6’4/220 lbs. native of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, just completed his second and final season playing in the NAHL for the Jr. Blues.
Mickelson recorded 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) in 47 regular season games. He was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the Midwest Division team.
During his two-year NAHL career, Mickelson recorded 40 points in 103 career games. Prior to playing in the NAHL, Mickelson spent two years playing in the NAPHL for the Madison Capitols 18U team in the NAPHL from 2014-16. During the 2015-16 season, he was selected to the All-NAPHL 18U 1st Team and helped the Capitols to a Dixon Cup Championship.
During his time in the NAPHL, he played in one Top Prospects Tournament and the 18U All-Star Game in 2015-16.
“I’m really proud of Chase on his NCAA commitment. He has a ton of talent and will be a great student athlete in college,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette.

Former Springfield Player Heads to the Calder Cup

Drafted by the NHL Dallas Stars, former Springfield Jr. Blues Goalie, Mike McKenna is headed to the Calder Cup with the Texas Stars. The Texas Stars is the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, who signed McKenna to a two-way contract on July 1st, 2017.

McKenna played two years of Jr. hockey starting with the Springfield Jr. Blues in 1999. He played the 99-00 season, and the 00-01 season before leaving for college to play at St. Lawrence University.

McKenna has played in the ECHL, AHL, and the NHL. When the season ended for the Dallas Stars this year, his contract allowed him to move between the AHL club and the NHL club, ultimately playing with the Texas Stars, during playoffs, and now the final.

During the 2017-18 season, McKenna played two games for the NHL Dallas Stars, sporting a Goals Against Average of 2.97 and a Save Percentage of .900. He has played 32 games with the Texas Stars, and has a Goals Against Average of 2.64 and a Save Percentage of .909.

Good luck in the Calder Cup finals, Mike!

Forward Ethan Stewart Commits to Ferris State

Rockford, Illinois native, and Springfield Jr. Blues fan favorite, Ethan Stewart has committed to play D1 college hockey at Ferris State University.

“As a coach I can’t say enough about this kid,” said Head Coach Tyler Rennette. “Stewart came to the rink everyday with a smile on his face and worked his tail off. This commitment is well deserved,  Ferris State is getting a first class kid.”

Stewart has played 60 games this season, scoring 17 goals, and 30 assists for a total of 47 points. Stewart had one game winning goal this season and is looking strong in the post season.