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Atlanta Mad Hatters excited for 2019-20 debut season, announce tryout changes

By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com, 04/11/19, 4:15PM EDT

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The Atlanta Mad Hatters are ready to roll and are already working towards their first tryouts and signings of players for their USPHL Elite and Premier teams, which will make their debut in 2019-20. 

The Mad Hatters will be the new USPHL team for Atlanta beginning this next season, as the Atlanta Jr. Kings organization has dissolved with many of their players moving over to the Mad Hatters. 

“We are a completely new organization, we’ll be in a brand new facility with all offerings - figure skating, ice hockey, learn to skate, house leagues, etc. - and our primary focus will be on academic advising and academic placement of our players,” said team owner Jonathan Tuggle. 

The Mad Hatters will play out of Hatter’s Arena, located at 2600 Prado Lane in Marietta, Ga.

 

Please Note: The Atlanta Mad Hatters have altered their originally published tryout times and location - below are the corrected location, dates and times: 

The Marietta Ice Center (MIC)

4880 Lower Roswell Rd #900, Marietta, GA 30068

 

Dates/Times: 

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 4:30pm -- Registration

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 6:00-7:15pm -- All Skaters

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 3:30-4:45pm -- Teams TBD

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:45-8:00pm -- Teams TBD

Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 9:00-10:30am -- All Star Game

 

The team has also named its junior operations staff for the 2019-20 season: 

 

Brett Lester - Director of Junior Hockey 

Brett Lester is a native of Rochester, N.Y., and grew up playing AAA hockey. As a youngster, he played in the world renowned Quebec Tournament for the Rochester Americans. At 16, he moved to Boston Mass., to become part of the inaugural Boston Junior Bruins full-season Midget AAA team coached by Chris Master’s. He was later selected for USA Hockey’s “Select 17’s” tournament to represent the Rocky Mountain District as an at-large player. Brett went on to play juniors for the New England Huskies of the EJHL (now USPHL Premier) and then at Kennesaw State University, where he helped captain his team to an ACHA National Championship in 2007.

Lester graduated from Kennesaw with a B.B.A in Management with a focus in small business and entrepreneurship. In 2014, Brett returned to Kennesaw State to serve as the Defensive coach for their ACHA DIII hockey team and is now in his 5 th season with the club. Brett has a strong professional background in staffing and recruiting and is the current Chief of Operations at CLS Medical Inc. where has been an integral part of the company’s success and growth for the past three years.

 

Jordan Crews – Asst. Director of Junior Hockey

Jordan Crews is an Atlanta native who grew up playing in the local travel hockey system. He went on to play Tier 2 Jr. A hockey (in the U.S. and Canada), before finishing his playing career at the collegiate level. Jordan also represented the United States National Development Team at the 2007 (U19), 2009 and 2010 (U21) at the AAU Junior Olympic Games, winning one gold and one silver metals for Inline Hockey. 

Crews has served as the assistant coach of Kennesaw State University’s ACHA hockey team since 2017.

Professionally, Crews has spent the last 5-plus years in the staffing and recruiting industry, owning his own company since 2018. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from SNHU (Computer Information Technologies) and is completing his graduate studies at Harvard University (Management and Organizational Behavior) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Analytics and Applied Statistics). 

 

Brad Prefontaine - Premier Head Coach

Brad, a native from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, brings over 18 years of coaching experience to the Mad Hatters organization. Brad is a Level 4 certified coach, and he has coached all levels including youth AAA, Junior, College and Professional teams. 

This past season, Prefontaine was Head Coach of the U16 AA Atlanta Kings which represented Georgia in the National Championship Tournament, making its way all the way to the Championship Final.

Prefontaine is committed to developing and mentoring players to get to the next level of hockey.

His playing career included Junior A, College, and at the Professional level in the ECHL and Central Hockey League. Brad has a son Parker (19) and a daughter Savannah (15)

 

Owen Clark – Assistant Coach

Owen, a native of Oakville, Ontario, has been the Director of Goaltending Development for the Atlanta Kings youth and junior programs for the last two years. 

In his time with the Kings, the junior club was able to advance its first goaltender straight to the Division 3 NCAA level. Clark is committed to raising the level of goaltending in Atlanta and developing, mentoring and advancing goalies to the next level of hockey. 

He played AAA hockey locally, and prep at Cushing Academy where he trained extensively under Brian Daccord of Stop It Goaltending. 

After Juniors, he completed his freshman year at Miami of Ohio following a career-ending foot injury. Clark credits his knowledge to a wide-array of top-flight goalie coaches which also includes four years at Jon Elkin Goalie School in Toronto. 

He is excited to share his wealth of knowledge and passion for the position to make Atlanta a hotbed of goaltending and hockey talent.

 

Zach Sabatini - Elite Head Coach

Zach Sabatini grew up playing hockey in Atlanta. His post youth hockey career includes playing prep school hockey at Tabor Academy, junior hockey in the USPHL for the Connecticut Jr. Yankees (now Rangers) and Bay State Breakers. He concluded his competitive playing career at Sacred Heart University, an NCAA Division I program.

Zach was the Assistant Hockey Director and a coach in the Atlanta Kings organization this past season and worked with the Atlanta Kings' USPHL Premier and Elite teams on skill development.

His unique background in playing youth travel, prep school, junior and collegiate hockey allow him to relate to the path many of our current and incoming junior players face as they progress in their playing career.

"Zach has successfully navigated the path that many players from the south encounter and he has a contemporary, relevant hockey knowledge that translates well into developing players in today's game", said
Mad Hatters Junior Hockey Director, Brett Lester. "We believe he adds a different dynamic to our staff that allows us to develop and promote players to the next level, on and off the ice."

Zach's approach to skill development fits players at all levels. He communicates with direct feedback to his players and focuses on incremental improvement.

To learn more about the Atlanta Mad Hatters, e-mail atlantahattershockey.info@gmail.com.