The United States Premier Hockey League and its Tier-2 National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) is proud to announce that four of its players have been listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Players To Watch List, which was issued on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
The dates and location of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft are to be determined, and the event will be held either in person or by conference call following the conclusion of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Players born between January 1, 2001, and September 15, 2003, are eligible for selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The USPHL had more players listed for 2021 than the North American Hockey League, the Central Canada Hockey League, the Ontario Junior Hockey League, or the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Nearly every other Canadian Jr. A league had no players listed.
The USPHL Players listed in no particular order include:
Billy Norcross, Islanders Hockey Club. Forward, Lynn, Mass., 6’2/180 lbs.
Norcross is a Boston College commit and a “hard-working forward who creates havoc on the forecheck,” said Islanders Head Coach Tim Kyrkostas.
Johan Rosenquist, Islanders Hockey Club. Forward, Naples, Fla., 6’2/190 lbs.
“A late ‘02 birth year forward who has come up in the IHC program, making stops on the U16 and Premier teams before cementing himself in the NCDC lineup.”
Logan Morrell, Islanders Hockey Club. Forward, Mesa, Ariz. 6’2/190 lbs.
“Logan is an ‘03 forward who’s a big smooth-skating power forward who has great vision and skill,” said Kyrkostas. “We are super excited as a team and league to have these players make the first Central Scouting draft list. This just shows just how high our league quality has become.”
Evan Orloff, Rockets Hockey Club. Defense, Kensington, Md, 6’3/195 lbs.
Orloff has come up through the USPHL from the 16U Division, where he was an All-Star last year, to the NCDC.
Additional alumni of USPHL Organizations listed include:
Gleb Veremyev, Lincoln Stars. Forward
Veremyev played two full seasons for the Rockets Hockey Club in the USPHL 15U and 16U Divisions, registering more than 70 points in league play and committing to Penn State University while with the Rockets.
Nate Benoit, Mount St. Charles Academy. Defense
Benoit played two seasons of USPHL Midget Hockey (15U and 16U) for the Northern Cyclones. He racked up more than 50 regular season and playoff points for these teams, and also saw a three-game NCDC call-up in 2018-19.
Jack Pascucci, Governor's Academy. Defense
Pascucci played for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs' USPHL 16U team in 2018-19, posting 2-9-11 in 29 league games.
Arseni Sergeyev, Omaha Lancers. Goaltender
Sergeyev appeared in four games for the Rockets Hockey Club NCDC team in 2019-20, registering a .926 save percentage.
Cameron MacDonald, Saint John Sea Dogs. Forward
MacDonald played one game for the Connecticut Jr. Rangers' NCDC team in 2018-19, after being drafted in the 2018 NCDC Futures Draft by Connecticut. MacDonald scored a sharp-angle goal in his only NCDC action.
Cooper Flinton, St. Paul's School. Forward
Flinton played for the Northern Cyclones' 16U Prep (non-league) squad.
Peter Reynolds, Saint John Sea Dogs. Forward
Reynolds played youth hockey for the Islanders Hockey Club.
The United States Premier Hockey League is pleased to announce the hiring of Bob Turow as its next Commissioner. Turow is highly accomplished and well-respected in hockey circles. His founding of Prospects Tournaments (“Prospects”) and his work to establish the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Combines and Central Scouting Department are a couple examples of Turow’s hockey successes. Current Commissioner Richard Gallant will remain on as USPHL Commissioner through January 1, 2021 to ensure a smooth transition of the Commissioner’s duties to Bob Turow.
Turow can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
”Having watched the growth of the USPHL, the decision to join the organization as Commissioner was easy,” said Turow. “My goal will be to continue to provide unmatched value to all in the USPHL family, whether player, parent, coach or owner.”
In 1995, Turow created the Prospects platform to provide young aspiring hockey players an avenue to showcase their talents to NHL, Canadian Hockey League (“CHL”) and NCAA coaches and scouts. Under Bob’s stewardship, Prospects became North America’s Top Showcase event for nearly two decades seeing more than 500 NHL draft picks, 1,000 NCAA Division 1 and Canadian Hockey League players and 100 NCAA Division 1 Women Hockey players excel in the tournaments. Eight alumni of the Prospects were selected first overall in their respective NHL Entry Draft years: Joe Thornton, Rick DiPietro, Sidney Crosby, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Taylor Hall.
Turow was also instrumental in the formation of the current USHL Central Scouting (now known as USHL Player Development). Turow created the Central Scouting Showcases (now the USHL Combines) and ran both the Central Scouting and the Showcases for five years for the USHL.
Outside of hockey, Bob Turow and his wife Lynda have found business success in running several Fantastic Sams Salon franchises. Bob is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, and Bob and Lynda split their residence between Palm Harbor, Fla., and Kitchener, Ont. They have four adult children - MacKenzie, a social worker; Corey, a police officer; Allie, an advertising executive; and Kelsey, a school teacher. They also have two grandchildren, Ava and Jamieson.
The USPHL is proud to welcome Bob Turow as he leads the league into a bright future.
About The USPHL
The United States Premier Hockey League of 2020/2021 will be the nation’s largest amateur ice hockey league and the only league to span the continental United States and parts of Canada. The USPHL will field approximately 550 teams representing over 100 organizations comprised of 11,000 players spanning the ages of 6 through 20.
Overall, across all its divisions, the USPHL had more than 1,200 alumni playing college hockey in 2019-20 and more than 250 playing pro hockey, including in the NHL.
"There is no greater reward than knowing that you have had a positive impact on someone's life journey" - Ryan Frew
The United States Premier Hockey League lost an amazing person in Ryan Frew, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs’ NCDC head coach and general manager on Monday, Oct. 5. Ryan died of complications arising from peritonitis at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
The USPHL and all of its Member Organizations express its deepest sympathies to Ryan’s wife Nanna and his sons Seamus and Quentin, his daughter Layla, as well as his extended family, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs organization, and all others whose lives he touched.
It was a fitting reward when, in 2017, Frew received the New Hampshire Union-Leader Forty Under Forty Award, recognizing his great service to youth in New Hampshire. In the accompanying article, when asked why he chose his profession, his answer was straightforward:
“I love working with people. My chosen profession offers me the opportunity to support and influence young men’s lives during a critical stage of their development and help guide them to become the best version of themselves,” Frew told the Union-Leader. “There is no greater reward than knowing that you have had a positive impact on someone's life journey.”
Frew had a positive impact on everyone he met, no matter where he went, extending beyond the leagues, to the greater hockey community. Coaches from across the hockey realm spoke about their concern for Frew’s health during his illness.
Frew’s history with the Monarchs (and with many of the Monarchs’ opponents both then and currently with the USPHL) goes well back to the first decade of the 2000s, coaching the Monarchs’ former Empire Junior Hockey League. Ryan was hired by the Monarchs in 2004.
He brought the Monarchs to the Tier-3 Jr. B National Championship games in 2007 and 2011, and he was also on the bench for three straight Monarchs’ Tier-3 Jr. A National Championship wins from 2007 through 2009 and again in 2012.
He coached the Monarchs to Empire Jr. Hockey League titles in 2010 and 2012, as well. He also saw his Monarchs receive a USA Hockey Team Sportsmanship Award and he was an All-Star Coach in six of his eight Empire seasons.
Frew led the Monarchs to the first Eastern Hockey League regular season championship in 2014, and in 2016, the Monarchs added Playoff Champions to that resume.
Within the USPHL, he helped shepherd the Monarchs into the NCDC to start the 2018-19 season, his team’s start in the league was so impressive, he was named NCDC Coach Of The Year after that first season.
Rest In Peace, Ryan. Everyone in the USPHL will miss you and that big smile and laugh.
The National Hockey League was held October 6-7, 2020, with teams selecting players for their future via conference call. Across the world, players heard their names called and celebrated being selected to be part of 31 NHL teams' future plans.
Among these players were five direct USPHL alumni, as well as others who have played for USPHL organizations.
Sam Colangelo - Anaheim Ducks, 2nd round, 36th overall
Colangelo, an '01 from Stoneham, Mass., played in 2015-16 for the Boston Junior Bruins in the USPHL 16U Division. He posted eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 29 USPHL contests. Colangelo is set to begin his Northeastern University career in this 2020-21 season.
Ian Moore - Anaheim Ducks, 3rd round, 67th overall
Moore ('02/Concord, Mass.) skated briefly during the 2019-20 season with the National Collegiate Development Conference with the Boston Junior Bruins. He also played for the Little Bruins in the USPHL's former split season EHF Selects Division last season. He will join Harvard University in 2021-22.
Alex Jefferies - New York Islanders, 4th round, 121st overall
Jefferies ('01/Lunenburg, Mass.) skated two seasons with the Islanders Hockey Club teams in the USPHL 16U Division. He was the 2017-18 goals leader for the USPHL 16U, scoring 33 goals in 53 points in 25 games.
Overall, Jefferies - a Merrimack College freshman this season - totaled 47 goals, 40 assists and 87 points over 53 games.
Sean Farrell - Montreal Canadiens, 4th round, 124th overall
Farrell ('01/Hopkinton, Mass.) was a dynamic player for the Boston Junior Bruins' 16U team during the 2015-16 USPHL season, teaming up that year with fellow 2020 draftee Sam Colangelo.
His line was very even, posting 17 goals, 18 assists and 35 points in 30 games. He is set to join fellow former Junior Bruin Ian Moore at Harvard University.
Gunnarwolfe Fontaine - Nashville Predators, 7th round, 202nd overall
Another standout from the USPHL 16U season of 2015-16, this 2000-born native of East Greenwich, R.I., played for the former Providence Capitals team.
Like Farrell, his scoring line showed he could dish the puck and score with it, posting a 14-15-29 line in 30 games. Fontaine, who has also played in the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits and Junior Bruins organizations, is slated to join Colangelo at Northeastern University this season.
Additional draft notes:
Former South Shore Kings youth hockey players Brett Berard, Drew Commesso and Ben Meehan were also selected.
Commesso, a Boston University goalie, was taken 46th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Berard was picked by the New York Rangers with the 134th overall pick in the fifth round.
Meehan was selected by the Los Angeles Kings with the 140th overall pick.
Colangelo, Fontaine and Moore are also former Kings youth players.
The USPHL 18U league will see two divisions full of highly reputed organizations’ teams hitting the ice for full seasons of 20+ games right through the end of February, when the playoffs will crown one champion.
Here, we take a look at the 18U American Division’s 10 teams.
The Advantage have representation in all levels of the USPHL 18U and 16U Divisions, and they will continue to build their program and also help to build the new NCDC squad.
“Our team is a hard-nosed, gritty team, with some high-end skill giving us a solid base,” added Head Coach Rob Himberg. “We play an extremely structured game with an emphasis on puck possession.
“We will look to Mike Holland, Trent Seger, and Anders Bowen to set the tempo physically and produce offensively,” Himberg added. “On the back end, we have a duo of Ty’s with Ty Ray and Ty Pimental - two solid, puck-moving, two-way defensemen. Finally, we will lean on Liam Rice in net. He’s a strong goalie with great puck skills.”
Connecticut Jr. Rangers
The Jr. Rangers are happy with the progress of their players from their last season, and if they can move players forward from this year again, Head Coach Chris Myrho and the organization have done their job.
“We have a very committed group of players and I am happy to help develop them to the next level,” said Myrho. “We moved six players up from last year’s team to the junior level and the majority went to college. Fortunately, we were able to build off a great 16U group.”
Players already in the Jr. Rangers system that they’re excited about are two-way center Mario Paganini, Dominic Powilatis, with his willingness to help the team in any way possible, smooth-skating defenseman Pavel Khorkin, high scorer Robbie Jolliffe, and natural leader Jacob Silva.
On the newcomer sice, watch for defensemen Brendan Briggs, forwards Nick Orenstein and Aaron Reich (both coming up from the 16U Elite team), Owen Zomb, Shubham More and Charlie Morris. The team is developing four goaltenders - Tommy Brown, Mike Pippo, Chris Spano and Alexa Madrid, “who is very good and will be pushing the boys and competing for time.”
CP Dynamo returns to the ice with four returning players, led by forward Adam Rourke, who scored 32 points in 37 games overall last year.
“I’m excited to be a part of another year and see what this season’s team can really do. My expectations for this season are high,” said Adam Rourke.
Returning to Dynamo for the 2020-2021 season is forward Yuri Ushakov, who accumulated a total of nine points in 22 games played.
Defenseman Dylan Kowalsky brings a veteran presence to the defense. Kowalsky, a strong and reliable defenseman, had 13 points in 49 games. Finally, the Dynamo managed to ink returning goalie Daniel Guy, who was in net for 13 games this past season (.919 save percentage, 2.09 goals against average).
"We are excited to have our core players returning for the 2020-21 season. These guys have been in the program and have experience to compete,” said Rourke. “They are key contributors for our success. We are excited to see them in their last season here in Clifton Park."
Islanders Hockey Club North
The Islanders North team provides a great introduction to the top level of Midget hockey.
“Our team is a very young team making a jump to the 18U level as well as the Tier 1 level for most,” added Head Coach Brian Umansky.
Preston Wilson and Ben Bernard return to the net, giving the team immediate strength there, while Islanders veteran James Garrison will serve as team captain.
Stephen Sullivan (‘04) will be a key player to watch, while defensemen Austiin Weber and Patrick Gallavan will be major contributors.
“The team is also excited for the anticipated return of Jacob Ahumada, who is expected to lead the team up front,” said Umansky. “Ahumada suffered an ACL tear at the end of last season. He is expected to complete his full recovery early October.”
Sometimes it’s hard to see players move on. After bonds are created, goodbyes are said and a new team has to be put together. So why not give the new team a new (but familiar) name? The Maine Moose returns, with the Twin City Lightning name being retired.
“College commitments, and moving players on to Tier 2 that we developed last year, hit us hard. All very, very positive reasons but we had to rebuild the team this year,” said Head Coach Matt Lavallee.
“I’m excited with this group, we have the potential to keep building on the culture we established in Year 1,” Lavallee added. “I expect to have the same problem at the end of this year with these players getting pulled up.”
USPHL 18U All-Star Nate Marcotte (6-4, 186) comes back and Lavallee expects he’ll be moving right into college in 2021-22.
Gabe Poirior also returns as an ‘03, while joining him up front will be Brandon Manning, Ryan Joyce and Owen Drummy, a Northern Cyclones NCDC Draft prospect. Defenseman Jake Harshman, out of Colorado, has already earned college and Tier-2 attention, while the Moose are expecting a big year out of ‘03 goalie Josh Girard.
Northern Cyclones Premier
The Cyclones will be powered at the Premier Division by some heavily experienced players, including at least one with five years of USPHL hockey to his resume.
Defenseman Luc Fricchione (‘02) began in the league as a 15U player in 2016-17, and this past year, he was a USPHL Elite All-Star, registering 44 points in 44 games.
“Luc is a great, modern-day, two-way defenseman. He has the ability to create offense with his speed and vision while maintaining great defensive awareness to be a shut down defenseman,” said Head Coach J.T. Henke. “Luc was also chosen by the team to be an assistant captain.”
Anthony Domina (‘03) moves up from the the Cyclones’ 16U team and is another player to watch.
“Anthony has the size, speed and top end skill set to play at any level and be a dominant player. He is a player that will be heavily relied on this year and will thrive in that role,” said Henke. “Anthony was also chosen by the team to be our Captain.”
“Tommy Gilligan is the definition of an ‘all-around player,’” added Henke. “He is a phenomenal skater with first class speed and a great offensive mindset.”
“Our team has the mindset of ‘Have A Purpose.’ This is a quote that is put up in our locker room for the boys to see everyday,” Henke added. “We are a team that will play hard and will come with waves of speed, skill and grit.”
Northern Cyclones Elite
Tim Plummer will bring the Cyclones’ other 18U group to the ice, featuring many veteran 18U players.
“At this point, most of them understand my expectations and what it takes for us to be successful,” said Plummer. “I feel very confident that I have strong leadership below me re-delivering that message every day.”
Billy Dougherty comes in after leading the USPHL 16U in scoring for two straight years. His linemate Austin Larson is right behind him in the top 10 each year. Also watch for Jo Heinzelman and Nick Grasso to make impacts up front, while Drew Zielinski and James Lesnick are going into their third year of USPHL Midget hockey.
Victor Gonzalez, an ‘04 from California, “shows a lot of potential.”
“He came in with a high skill set and continues to set the bar high with his work ethic,” added Gonzalez.
Blake Alexander is a strong lefty capable of playing on both sides of the puck.
“He is a great skater, with fantastic vision, and an unmatchable attitude towards his teammates and the game overall,” Plummer added.
Palmyra Black Knights
The Black Knights had a successful first year, winning 20 games and earning a playoff win against a National Division opponent.
“After a very successful year last year, we expect to build off of what we started and prove why we can be a top team in this league,” said Head Coach Russell Armbruster. “We are going to be a tough team to play against and we will not back down to any team in our path.
“This season I expect that the scoring will be spread out across the team along with having some of the top 18’s in the league like last year.”
After two strong years in the USPHL 16U, Captain Zachary Jesse - a 16U All-Star last year - will help form the foundation of success with assistants Kyle Kerrigan, Owen Carpenter and Jack Bell.
“With our depth and willingness to compete no matter who we are playing, we expect to make this season a long one heading to playoffs to show people what Palmyra is all about,” added Armbruster.
Philadelphia Hockey Club
Head Coach Dennis Postiglione is excited to work with all 40+ players of the Philadelphia Hockey Club 18U program, coaching both the National and American teams.
“For both teams, we need to be tight, hard-working teams and capitalize when we can, and be more focused on the defensive zone,” said Postiglione.
The majority of the American PHC team consists largely of 2003’s and a pair of ‘04’s as well.
“Ben Cheskin and Luis McCarthy are returning PHC players from last year’s 15U team that I expect to step right in, but we have a big team with at least four kids over 6 feet,” Postiglione said. “We need to use the body to win games and need to work hard to get dirty goals.
“Having a new team from top to bottom, I’m hoping to have everybody contribute to lead and score,” he added.
South Shore Kings
The Kings hit the ice with new Head Coach Jon Skarlis on board, and a largely new squad.
“We have a solid group of young men on and off the ice. I feel our group this season is well-balanced with skilled and grinder-like players top to bottom,” added Skarlis. “We have two lines that are offensively gifted, as well as two lines that eat minutes and make the game hard on opponents.”
The top line of Jake Thibeault, Mitch Cassella and Ethan Davidson will be counted on for the majority of offense. Watch for the line of Chris Bebelos, Matt Hamacher and Collin Costello to “bring offense and energy to our lineup.”
“Our goal for the season is to develop players on and off the ice for the next level, and I think if you are doing that properly the wins will follow,” Skarlis added.
Ten teams will skate to the faceoff circle, but only one will emerge in late February with the term all hockey teams are chasing from Day 1: Champion.
Last year, the Jersey Hitmen struck paydirt after two frustrating finals in 2018 and 2019, picking up a close 2-0 victory over the Skipjacks Hockey Club (now Skipjacks Academy) for the 18U title.
A lot has changed since February - the 18U National Division has some new teams, the Hitmen enter their title defense with a new coach, and - oh, yeah - a global pandemic has “ordinary” life turned almost completely upside down.
The USPHL 18U will soldier on and begin a new season, with teams in the National Division working with a prospective 24-game regular season. This allows for USPHL teams to compete in some of the nation’s top showcases outside of the USPHL, to show that teams from this division mean business on the National stage.
Below, we take a look at each 18U National member, in alphabetical order:
The newest full-time member of the 18U Division has brought with it quite a bit of history, organizationally-speaking. The Advantage are a well-known name on the national stage. In 2018, the Advantage were in the Tier I 15 Only Nationals, and their alumni list includes NHL talent.
“The Advantage will look to play a well-structured overall game. The team will rely on its backbone, goaltending by Nolan Mahaffey and Mathew Gover, and strong defensive zone play,” said Head Coach Kevin Poulin. “We will play a puck possession game in the offensive zone, focusing on puck protection and cycling.
“We will count on our players up front, including new additions Alex Boyko and Nolan Roche, to provide some balanced scoring. Returning players Will Kelleher, Zach Sideropoulos, Ben Sarantopoulos, Reagan Lyon and Colin Reid will be asked to build from where this team was a year ago.”
Boston Junior Bruins
The Junior Bruins are always a tough draw at the 18U level, and Head Coach Blake Bellefeuille - a former Boston College star and longtime pro hockey standout who saw NHL call-ups - never fails to ice a fearful squad that can drive opponents crazy on every inch of ice.
“We hope to be a hard-checking, two-way team,” said Bellefeuille.
A strong cast of returning players includes forwards Nick Savatore, Chris Allain, defenseman Matt Powers and goaltender Matt Bogdanski.
“They will be called on to lead the charge,” Bellefeuille added. “Newcomers Andrew Flammia, Aidan Fenton and Ryan Gardula [all forwards] could be offensive threats, while a solid core of 16’s moving up to the 18’s will round out the roster.”
Islanders Hockey Club
The Islanders always find a way to field strong teams at the 18U level, and with multiple members of the 2019 USPHL 16U Championship team on board, do not expect that to change.
Tim Pelletier will take the reins of a team whose 2019-20 version fell towards the lower portion of the standings after a very strong 15-win season in 2018-19. Of course, with the rapid turnover in Midget hockey, it’s always a new ball game when the calendar gets turned to another season. The Islanders will look forward to their chance for a big rebound season at the 18U level.
“We have a lot of turnover from last season but a solid core coming back. The forwards will be led by returners Gerald Cutone, Brett Worster, and Matt Mothon. The defense will only have one returner Griffin Sambrook and the remaining defensemen all have USPHL experience,” added Pelletier. “The goalies will be led by newcomer Dunford Deloss a 2002 who is an experienced AAA goalie. Also, Micheal Schaaf - a 2002 new to the Islanders - is expected to make an impact on the blue line. We are looking to be more competitive this season and continue to improve and make a push in the playoffs.”
As expected, many of the 2020 USPHL 18U champions have moved up and beyond, aging out of Midget hockey in most cases. However, will be at least a pair of returning leaders on board to help shepherd new 18U Hitmen Head Coach Dan Henningson. Last year, Henningson guided the 16U Hitmen to an impressive 11-9 campaign in a stacked National Division. Henningson will continue to guide the 16U’s while adding the 18U team to his impressive resume.
“I am excited about this upcoming season. Our returners, Arthur [Tsimerman] and Aidan [Humphrey] have done a great job welcoming and leading the newcomers to the Hitmen family,” Hennningson said. “We have a group that has gelled really well together. Our team is much younger compared to last season’s championship team, but expectations remain high.”
Tsimerman will help to lead the forward group, while Humphrey is the lone returning blueliner in the Sky Blue and White.
Along with Tsimerman and Humphrey, the Hitmen will look upon newcomer forwards Nicholas Stoebling and Aidan Szmyd, both of whom played for the highly-ranked North Jersey Avalanche 18U program last year. Szmyd returns to the Hitmen after previously playing the 2018-19 season in Wayne. In the back end, watch for former New Jersey Titan Zach Hammond and 2020 USPHL All-Star goalie Chandler Cable to help keep the Hitmen in the title hunt from the get-go.
Jersey Shore Whalers
The Whalers get their chance to skate in the National Division thanks to a huge 35-9-4 performance for this group in 2018-19 and outstanding performances at seeding events. The Whalers at the 18U level will be co-coached by Rob Cherella and Mark Rivera.
“This locker room is a very unique group of players and we’re confident these kids will excel in the type of systems we’ll be running this year,” said Cherella.
“Our goal is to help develop and promote our players, and this roster will continue laying the strong foundation of success and culture we look to bring into our Whaler organization,” Rivera added.
Cherella and Rivera built their National 18U squad from the net out, and they were perfectly validated after seeing ‘03 Joey Colecchia post a .989 save percentage at the USPHL Summer Showcase in July. The Whalers began getting college calls after word got out on that stand. He will fight for time in the regular season with former New Jersey Jr. Titan Jack Bilancione and former 95 Giant Vaughn LeDrew for an absolutely scary triumvirate.
The Whalers moved up strong performers from their 16U team such as defensemen Jason Andreyev, Peyton Fobes and Tyler Guttormsen, and forwards George Hinds, Justin Lidondici, Will Distefano, DJ Clements, Dylan Stein, Brendan Kearney. Also up front, returning 18U Whalers Nico Corsaro, Jack Pallitto, Robert Conlan and Evan Knoll give the team veteran leadership and time-tested skill.
Valuable newcomers include former Titans defenseman Nicholas Ochlan and Mitch Ducalo, and defensemen Austin Micale (Valley Forge Minutemen) and Tommy Atanacio, another with a potent mix of skill and USPHL experience. Forwards Kyle Remo (Mercer Chiefs) and Ryan Sullivan (Westchester Express) also add to an accomplished and deep group up front.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
The Monarchs have shown they are good for a winning record essentially every 18U season, finishing with no lower than a .600 winning percentage. Last year, the Monarchs finished just behind the two finalists, the Jersey Hitmen and Skipacks Academy, so they are always in the mix. Getting good looks early on at the Eastern Alliance Kickoff on Labor Day weekend, Head Coach Clint Edinger was optimistic about the 2020-21 Monarchs.
“So far, so good. We’re raw, a lot of these guys haven’t played together before,” said Edinger. “We obviously have to tighten things up. We always have high expectations at the Monarchs. We have the ability and tools to compete with all the teams. Once we get the structure and systems in place, the rest will take care of itself.”
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders
The Jr. Islanders are back in the 18U swing of things. They did not field a USPHL 18U squad last year, but they already made a heavy impression, earning impressive wins at the Eastern Alliance Kickoff.
“We are a very dynamic team that likes to move to the puck and play the game at a high pace,” said Tony Samms, who is coaching the 18U and 16U Jr. Islanders this year. “They have the ability to play a rugged, gritty game if needed, even though they are not considered big players.”
There are four players (split evenly between the forwards and defensemen) who bring previous 18U experience. Nine others are moving up from the Jr. Isles’ 16U team of last season.
“We have great depth at both forward and defense with very solid goaltending,” Samms added. “It is a well-rounded team that should be able to match top competition in the National division.”
Up front, watch for Carmine Pittelli, Luca Leighton, Ryan Godfrey, Ryan Griffin and Dylan Bridgewood to be leaders. In the back, blueliners Jack Gannon, James Penzavecchia, Jack Slayton, and goaltenders Luca Scaglione and Keiran Byrne are among the players to watch.
Philadelphia Hockey Club
Another newcomer to the National Division, the Philadelphia Hockey Club are dedicated to that good old never-fail principle: a strong work ethic.
“Both of our 18U teams will be tight, hard-working teams that capitalize when we can but are more focused on the defensive zone,” said Head Coach Dennnis Postiglione, who also coaches the PHC’s 18U American Division team. “In the National, I expect the teams to be talented from top to bottom. Any given night anyone can beat anyone. If we have that mindset, we will come to play.”
Leading the way is 16U All-Star Jason Player, who was also the leading scorer for Philadelphia’s team that won the 2018-19 USPHL 15U Championship. He is one of the many 03’s on the team, with just four returning 02’s from last year’s PHC 18U squad.
Along with Player, watch for goalie Owen Yancey and defensemen Sonny DiNubliio and Tommy Finley to be team leaders.
Rockets Hockey Club
The Rockets’ ‘03 group continues to power up any team they are on, whether it was the 15U squad two years ago or last year’s USPHL 16U Champions. The Rockets are advancing no less than eight members from that title-winning team, one which was regularly in the top 15 of 16U AAA teams on MYHockeyrankings.com, and in the same spot a year earlier as 15U’s.
Scott Pietruska can certainly look forward to taking this team into battle any night or day in 2020-21.
The Skipjacks are “definitely excited to take another run at” the USPHL 18U championship after being so close last season.
“I feel very good about the group we have. We have some returning players who have that taste in their mouth after also getting upset in the semifinals as 16’s,” said Head Coach Jared Kersner.
Ethan Hoover and Cade Baker both come in with impressive resumes for the Skipjacks. Hoover is a thiird-year Skipjack and was with the 18U finalist team last year, and Baker also played in the finals after being called up from the 16U team around midseason. He scored 21 goals in 21 USPHL 16U games last season. Baker started September with a 10-point weekend at the Eastern Alliance Kickoff, and he is an NCDC Draft Pick of the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. Brendan Hoffman, an ‘03 out of Michigan, is an impressive newcomer who already had great chemistry with Baker and Hoover at the kickoff.
Robert Stoklosa (an NCDC Rockets Hockey Club Draft Pick) became the Skipjacks’ top defenseman last year, and South Shore Kings Draft Pick Josh Tisdale is “a one-man breakout.” Newcomers Josh Bride, Spencer Johnson and big goalie Jackson Dylla (6-feet-5-inches, 230 pounds) are all sure to attract opponents’ and college coaches’ attention this year.
The United States Premier Hockey League is deeply saddened by the passing of Wes Tuttle, who died unexpectedly at his home on Sept. 19 at the age of 62.
Tuttle was the first and only General Manager of the 10-sheet New England Sports Center (NESC) since it opened in 1994. He was also a longtime Head Coach in the Minuteman Flames youth organization, which makes its home at the NESC. In addition, Tuttle was a regular contributor to Massachusetts Hockey, and was the Director of District 8 in the state.
Tuttle was also a great supporter of USPHL hockey, working closely with the Boston Junior Bruins, who make their home at NESC. He was always a great help in setting up USPHL events, specifically the annual Winter Showcase in January.
“Anybody involved in the game of hockey in the last 30 years in this area knows Wes,” said John Butler, NCDC Junior Bruins Asst. Coach, to the WickedLocal.com news Service. Butler was a close friend of Tuttle’s. “He touched so many people, so many kids. He loved the game, he respected the game. Anybody who knew him, knew he would do anything for anybody.
“He was a good person who cared about people,” Butler added. “If you just met him today and called him tomorrow to ask for a favor, he’d spend that day taking care of it until he helped you.”
Wes Tuttle was the Heart and Soul of the New England Sports Center and his impact on the sport and on people extended far beyond the doors of the region’s largest hockey facility.
The USPHL extends its sincerest condolences to his wife, Mary Jo - also a longtime NESC employee - his son Ryan, daughter Katie, and Wes and Mary Jo’s grandchildren.
August 21, 2020
The USPHL is requiring all organizations to undertake the following steps to help to safeguard against the contraction and/or spread of COVID-19.
All USPHL members must follow all federal, state and local guidelines (collectively “COVID-19 Guidelines”) issued pertaining to COVID-19 including, but not limited to, guidelines regarding travel, facility management and any hockey/sport-related policies. Each Organization must print out the applicable COVID-19 Guidelines and provide a copy to each general manager, coach, trainer, and other team personnel. One printed copy must always be present with the team.
All USPHL organizations are required to have an action plan/procedure to facilitate the transportation and safekeeping of players who become ill/infected with COVID-19. Each USPHL Organization’s plan must include the following:
Each Organization’s plan regarding the actions it will undertake to manage a player when a player or team personnel is determined to have contracted COVID-19, including the Safe House and Designated Driver Protocol, is due to the league office three days prior to the start of the organization’s team’s season.