With the Northern Pacific Hockey League’s 2015 – 2016 season now over, every team heads into the off-season looking to improve, regardless of the outcome of their season. This season featured a lot of firsts for the teams in the NPHL.
The Seattle Ravens played their first season in the league. Geno McCue, the Tri-City Outlaws’ head coach, and Justin Kern, the Eugene Generals’ head coach, both took their teams to the playoffs while in their first full season as a head coach. Then the Wenatchee Wolves captured their first Cascade Cup Championship this season, as well as the NPHL’s record for the best regular season win-percentage.
Every team shared their final thoughts about the 2015 – 2016 season. Those thoughts were:
The Blazers had another successful year in the NPHL. The program reached their fourth straight Cascade Cup Championship series in the program’s first four seasons. The team also had the league’s leading scorer in Karson DeRego, and one of the best goalies in Christopher Alexakis.
Mark Collins, the Blazers’ head coach, discussed his takeaways about the season. He said, “I thought our group came a long way over the season. We had a great group of players and people. Just to see their progress throughout the season is huge. Our highlights this season would be another trip to the Cascade Cup finals. That’s four years in a row for us now, and it’s a huge testament to our program. We also had Broderick Parker score in back-to-back games as a goalie, which I’m sure has never been done before.”
As for the new opportunities that are set to take place next season, Collins had one distinct event that he and the Blazers’ organization is excited about. He said, “the National Championship will be back, which gives us a little extra motivation to get back at it next season. We set the bar very high in our first two years, winning back-to-back championships. We want to get back to that level.”
Important dates for the Blazers’ program this off-season:
-Main Camp: to be determined. Dates will be announced soon.
For more recruiting information, visit the Blazers’ website!
The league’s oldest team made it back to the playoffs after missing the postseason last year. Not only did the Generals make it back to the playoffs, but the team did so under their head coach, Justin Kern. During Kern’s first full season as the Generals’ head coach, he took the team back to the playoffs while also making them an above .500 team.
Kern shared his final thoughts about how the season turned out. He said, “I’m really proud with how our team preformed. We had a bunch of first year players this season, and there were times down the stretch that they became a bit disorganized. Maybe it had to do with being a little bit fatigued. But, they were able to pull it together when they needed to and we won some pretty big games. We had a pretty productive year and it was a lot of fun.”
With such a young group of players that have the opportunity to come back for the next few seasons, the Generals have built themselves a pretty solid foundation. Kern discussed what the program is most excited about, and retaining young talent was right at the top of his list. Kern said, “we have a big squad of returning players next year, which will help with team chemistry. We are hoping to establish some good chemistry for the next year. We want to come out swinging right out of the gate.”
Important dates for the Generals’ program this off-season:
-Main Camp: August 15th – August 18th, 2016
For more recruiting information, visit the Generals’ website!
The NPHL welcomed the league’s newest team this season, the Seattle Ravens. After naming Adam Kurtenbach as the team’s new head coach in February, the program ended their losing streak. Not only did they end their losing streak, but the Ravens closed out the season with some strong wins against a playoff team.
Adam Speer, the Ravens’ General Manager, discussed the key takeaways the program had while participating in their inaugural season. Speer said, “we are very proud of the commitment our guys made to the program, and to each other. There were many tough days, but there was also a great deal of resolve. This is what shines through when you focus on recruiting high quality players. That is an important part of the equation for us. We want to win championships and put together a culture and coaching staff that will both produce high level players who win, but also develop outstanding young men.”
With their first season now in the books, Speer also commented on the Ravens’ direction moving forward. He said, “we are anxious to see what Coach Adam Kurtenbach can do with the players he is recruiting. He plays an up-tempo, puck-moving, style and our players will grow dramatically after a full season with Adam. Coach K has developed high-end junior hockey players who have moved to Major Junior, Tier I and Tier II. Most notably among them was last year's Western Hockey League, Western Conference Rookie of the Year.”
Important dates for the Ravens’ program this off-season:
-Showcase/Tryout Prep Camp: April 20th – April 24th, 2016.
-Main Camp: To be determined. Dates will be announced soon.
For more recruiting information, visit the Ravens’ website!
The Outlaws introduced the team’s new head coach this season in Geno McCue. McCue, along side the program’s owner, Jordan Owen, were able to turn the Outlaws back into a playoff team. With McCue at the helm, the Outlaws captured 11 more wins than their previous season, while also ending a one-year playoff drought.
McCue reflected on the Outlaws’ season, while also sharing his final takeaways. He said, “I thought the boys did well this season. We competed every single game, day in and day out. You know, we didn’t meet all of our goals, but I was proud of what the boys gave me all season. Our highlight of the season had to be getting our first win. It was the biggest win the boys had all season.”
With next season rapidly approaching, there is a lot of excitement for every program. McCue discussed what the Outlaws are most excited about. He said, “we are excited about the opportunity to succeed. The boys had fun this season. They enjoyed the challenge and they know that they will improve.”
Important dates for the Outlaws’ program this off-season:
-Evaluation Camp: May 13th – May 15th
-Main Camp: To be determined. Dates will be announced soon.
For more recruiting information, visit the Outlaws’ website!
After making the playoffs in their inaugural season, which was last season, the Wolves made it back to the NPHL’s playoffs this season. Not only did the Wolves make it back to the playoffs, but the program captured their first ever Cascade Cup Championship! During this series, the Wolves defeated the two-time Cascade Cup champions, the Blazers.
Ryan McKelvie, the Wolves’ head coach, discussed how the Wolves’ program performed, and what his final thoughts were about the season. McKelvie said, “to have the type of consistent success that our team was able to have says a lot about the players on our team. They showed a lot of character this year by how hard they worked and competed. I believe a lot of our success stems from our practice habits. Our guys did a great job coming to the rink ready to work, have fun, and get better all season.”
After winning the NPHL’s Cascade Cup, McKelvie and the Wolves want to continue to improve, and they are excited about the opportunity to do so. McKelvie said, “as a second year program, I think we took a good step forward this season. As we head into our third season, I believe we will continue to get stronger as we look to build this into one of the best development programs in the country.”
Important dates for the Wolves’ program this off-season:
-Tryout Camp: May 13th – May 15th
For more recruiting information, visit the Wolves’ website!
West Sound Warriors:
The Warriors came just within arms reach of the final playoff spot in the NPHL this season. Despite not making the playoffs, the Warriors have a lot to look forward to. Such as a good group of young players to build a solid base off of. The Warriors also finished the season with a strong performance against the Blazers, and a few solid wins against the Ravens.
Matt Ferris, the Warriors’ first year head coach, shared his thoughts about how this season turned out. Ferris said, “there is no hiding that this was a rough year for the Warriors. But I am proud of our guys that stuck it out and battled night in and night out. I think it was a great learning experience for our team. Hopefully the young guys that we have returning will build on it, and be better next year because of it.”
Heading into next season, Ferris and the Warriors have a lot to look forward to. He said, “I think our program is excited for a fresh start. We have the opportunity to make everything about our program better, and we are all excited about that.”
Important dates for the Warriors’ program this off-season:
-Main Camp: To be determined. Will be announced soon!
For more recruiting information, visit the Warriors’ website!
That wraps up the NPHL’s 2015 – 2016 season! Tune in to the league’s website for updates about main camps and other events during the offseason.
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