Every single player on the Islanders Hockey Club NCDC team has one major thing in common, and it couldn’t be more important to Head Coach Tim Kyrkostas: They all love the NCDC.
“We have a collection of hungry, hungry, hard-working kids who all want to be in the NCDC,” said the veteran head coach who is in his third season at the helm of the NCDC squad. “We’re not interested in taking kids who were cut from other leagues - we have a collection of players who chose the NCDC over any other league.”
That love of the league and the Islanders as an organization has helped Kyrkostas retain such talent as Johan Rosenquist - a third-year NCDC who was listed in the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term Rankings last year.
The fifth-year USPHL team has moved from the USPHL 16U to the Premier Division to the NCDC, and will be counted on as a leader for this new 2021-22 Islanders team.
He is certainly not the only veteran who has remained loyal to the IHC and Kyrkostas. Several other returning players include forward Patrick Sommerville and defensemen Dusty Bergstrom and Bryan Gund.
“Right now, our leadership group consists of our returning players, but also goaltender Bennett Young,” said Kyrkostas. “We have a bunch of kids who were captains and alternative captains on their previous teams, so the character on this team is outstanding.”
Many of the newcomers to the NCDC team will be familiar to those who have spent time around the organization - promotions from the Premier team that went to Nationals include goaltender Will Nepveu, Chase Conlon and Jesper Seeberg. Additionally, Aaron Schwartz has moved up to the NCDC from the USPHL 16U Championship Team, which Kyrkostas also coached last year (and he is back behind the bench for that squad again).
“You look at Schwartz, Rosenquist, Dunford DeLoss and Matt Mothon [up from the 18U team], Seeberg, Conlon, Nepveu - from the Islanders’ youth to Midget to Premier to NCDC, it really shows the Islanders Hockey Club’s investment in our players,” Kyrkostas added.
As a 2004-born player, Schwartz will certainly attract a lot of NCAA Division I (and NHL) attention, as will incoming ‘04 defenseman Eli Brown, who despite being just 17 stands 6-feet-5-inches and weighs in at 205 pounds.
“The NHL scouts will be drooling over Eli Brown this year,” added Kyrkostas.
An Islanders draft pick of note is Andrew Carmody, an ‘02 out of Choate Rosemary Hall - where he was a captain. He is already committed to Amherst College, and also brings high-level AAA experience with the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Also keep an eye on fellow newcomers Sam Nichols, who recently split his time between the AAA Cape Cod Whalers and Trinity-Pawling School. Robert Martiniello (‘02) was a top defenseman in the EHL last year who has earned his promotion to Tier II hockey.
The Islanders will be a younger team than in past years, and that is by design - an example that Kyrkostas believes the league should follow.
“I’m hoping the NCDC will be younger,” said Kyrkostas. “I’m hoping the teams will trend in the right direction, and I hope we have young players who are D-I candidates. We’re striving for a younger team with a healthy mix of ‘02, ‘03 and ‘04 players, while our ‘01’s are mature and bring great leadership. If the league follows suit, I think we’ll have an exciting and great league this season.”