On Labor Day the Florida Eels Elite and USP3 teams played their 6th annual pre season opener vs. the University of Tampa ACHA team. This is a tradition for both organizations.
GM Scarpaci says their players have been traditionally pretty decent and this year was no different. UT is a private college with an outstanding academic reputation. It attracts students from across the USA. Indeed their demographics are quite impressive. We se every year players from very good junior programs from across the USA Canada and Europe migrate down to Florida and play in the South East ACHA division.. These guys are serious students and academics are first their priority. But they have also found that there is College Club hockey at UT as well. It is pretty decent hockey at that. They play in a very competitive ACHA Division that includes the University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University, USF, The University of Florida, Florida State, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech amongst others.
The Florida Eels just completed its 21 days of training camp. These sets of games allow us to get in organized and competitive games prior to its regular season game openers next weekend. The Eels USP3 team opens against the Florida Blades in a home and away series while the Elite team squares off in a home and away series vs. the Tampa Juniors.
The UT games were hosted at the brand new Clearwater Ice Arena. The games were a win win for both organizations. It gave our players a first hand feel for playing older guys who have finished their junior careers and who are now playing men’s ACHA hockey. It was a solid pair of games that allowed the Eels to get better prepared for the regular season. There is a huge difference in playing inter squad scrimmages between the Eels teams than playing actual games vs. an ACHA team. It gave the Eels coaches an opportunity to test certain line combinations and make some tweaks and adjustment in their teams.
The Eels have been one of the top programs in the advancement of its players to the NCAA ranks. These games are part of the process. Giving players a snap short of the ACHA teams allows them to evaluate their own skill set and make decisions quite early in the season as to just how hard they have to work to make a NCAA roster. The Eels invest considerably in their players’ development and exposure. That is why we attend 5 College showcases. To get seen and exposed. Indeed, the efforts determination and dedication has to be self-driven. This is another example of a building bock to those ends.
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