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Published: Monday, 17 Dec 2018  
By: Stephen Heisler,

What does Aberdeen, Austin, and Amarillo have in common? Aside from all being “A” towns, they are also the three hottest teams in the North American Hockey League with a combined 26-0-2-1 record in the last 29 games. 

It was just a rumor. 

Confirmation has been established that we have not been banned from United States Premier Hockey League events. I got the chance to watch one of our players in action at the USPHL Showcase event just north of Tampa Sunday. 

Before attending, there was a rumor circulating that my mugshot was on WANTED posters at all such events. It’s not true. 

As for the event itself, the hockey was better than expected and we may have spotted a diamond in the rough along the way. 

The Central Division’s Aberdeen Wings have won seven straight games and still can’t shake Austin. The Bruins, sporting a seven-game streak of their own, are just a single point behind the Wings. Minot has wins in just three of the last ten and now find themselves in a dog fight with Bismarck, and even the Wilderness, for third and fourth place.   

The East Division’s Tomahawks are off and running again with another win streak (three games) after sweeping the Titans at home. The second place Rebels are trying to keep place (eight wins in last ten games) despite being 17 points behind Johnstown. Jamestown’s road sweep at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton certainly helped in that effort. Jersey has just three wins in the last ten games and is now five-points behind the Rebels. 

The Minnesota Magicians lead over Janesville in the Central Division has shrunk to three-points after the Jets’ sweep of the Magicians.  Third-place Fairbanks is just a point behind the Jets after the Ice Dogs’ three-point split at Springfield. 

The Amarillo Bulls’ lead in the South Division has stretched to eleven points after their weekend road sweep in Topeka. Meanwhile, some familiar names have been able to sneak around all the hoopla and surprise a few folks. Remember that defending Robertson Cup champions crew from Shreveport?  The Mudbugs picked up a trio of points in the weekend home split with Lone Star and moved into second place. What’s the other surprise? The Corpus Christi IceRays are on a six-game victorious streak and have wins in eight of their last ten games.  

It was very difficult to keep a straight-face while reading Bill Davidson’s strangely written press release concerning the demise of his league. 

Billy D cited “business interference” as the primary reason for the league having to shut down. Whatever you say Billy, not that lying to us all about the available capital had anything to do with it. 

Let me fill you all in on a little secret. When payroll checks started bouncing, the league replaced the checks with cash, yes of the green variety.  That raises a lot of red flags in that part of Texas where wads of cash are generally associated with the business of drug cartels. I can only assume that the cash came from sponsors and season ticket holders. With that said, folks involved in that type of activity are known to do nasty things to people that don’t live up to their end of a deal. 

Meanwhile, I did take a call from the Laredo Police Department regarding my knowledge of their situation. “Where is Bill now,” the investigator asked me. “Back in Canada most likely,” I responded. A chuckle was heard from the other end of the line. “We got something for him,” said the officer.

Go get him Texas. 

-Cheers to Florida Blades (USPHL Elite) goalie Cole Garver. The youngster (2001) stopped 72 of 75 shots in a loss to Charlotte Saturday. Kid picked up a 3-2 shootout win on Sunday while stopping 41 of 43 to get the win over Potomac Sunday.  

-Jeers to any pay-to-play team that has FOUR goalies on the active roster. 

-Cheers to Maryland Black Bears (and Heisler Group) goalie Kevin Lake who stopped 28 of 29 Northeast Generals’ shots in Sunday’s win.

-Jeers to Coulee Region Chill coach Jon Vaillancourt for allowing his team to score 17 goals, against the Long Beach Sharks, at the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine. 

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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