This year's slate of USPHL Showcase Series opponents includes the Daytona Ravers, Potomac Patriots, Florida Eels, Richmond Generals, Atlanta Jr. Knights, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, Hampton Roads Whalers, Jersey Shore Whalers, Boston Bandits, Connecticut Nighthawks, Syracuse Stars and Team Beijing.
This model marks a departure from the previous twelve seasons of Generals hockey as the franchise will be playing the most unique and diverse schedule across the entire Tier III landscape.
“We were advised back in March that both West Sound and Seattle weren’t going to participate in the USPHL, so we started looking at other options to fill our local schedule,” said Generals GM Flint Doungchak. “We loved the USPHL showcases as those games were competitive while at the same time having many high-level scouts in attendance from the NCDC, colleges and even the NHL.”
Doungchak initially reached out to long-time hockey veteran Bliss Littler of the Wenatchee Wild for assistance and advice on how Eugene could get some local games while still focusing on the goal of player development.
“When Eugene called me back in March about looking for alternatives, I knew that we had to find a way to get them games locally and help a good franchise,” said Littler, Head Coach and General Manager of the Wenatchee Wild. “We just don’t have that many good programs around here. We need to figure out something to help hockey.”
Eugene sees the move as a better opportunity for their players to develop as they will now face fierce competition lead by strong, established franchises with strong records. The Generals and Wolves already have previous ties as the two teams were formerly members of the Northern Pacific Hockey League (NPHL).
“Those were great, challenging games of high-level hockey,” reflected Doungchak. “Most of the games we won or lost were decided by a goal and sometimes within the last minute of play. That’s good for our players and will improve our performance at those heavily scouted USPHL showcases. Of the ten times we lost last year, half of them were at showcases. Clearly we need to be better prepared near home so we can better deliver when we go east. Winning twenty nine divisional games sounds great, but really for development, it’s not.”
The Generals will be playing the area’s best Tier I 18U talent that is constituted of players who are looking for collegiate and higher-level junior opportunities.