Photo: Alexis Thompson / Photos By Lex
The United States Premier Hockey League is back for its second year of the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference, which saw a great first year with more than 120 college commitments from what was then an 11-team league.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs join the NCDC team for this season, and all 12 teams are chomping at the bit to make Year 2 even bigger and better than last year’s successful inaugural season.
South Shore Kings
2017-18 Record: 29-16-5
Playoffs: Quarterfinal loss
Outlook: In the summer of 2017, South Shore Kings general manager/head coach John Gurskis had a good idea of what his first NCDC team would look like. This year, there is almost none of that certainty.
“Last year, I had a good foundation of returning players [from the prior year’s USPHL Premier team]. This year, I may have one returning player,” said Gurskis.
No matter what he has in terms of returning experience, he knows he will continue to put an offensively-minded team on the ice. The Kings were fourth in the league in goals for last year with 175.
Top returning player(s): There was still a chance in July of bringing back three to four additional returning players. Gurskis only had a guarantee from Matt Hayes, a ’98 forward who is a strong defensive player, as well as very adept academically. He could probably have his pick of NESCAC schools, and he’s also focused on a potential Division 1 opportunity this year.
Top newcomers: Sam Milnes, ’99 forward, Williston Northampton School; Jake Ballagh, ’98 forward, Buffalo Jr. Sabres; Chase Best, ’99, Victory Honda; Ties Van Soest, ’00, Germany; Alexander Schemel ’99, forward, Belarus; Sebastian Janda '98, Czech Republic.