NAHL 2018-2019 Thread

Discussion in 'All other USA Amateur, USHL, NAHL, USNTDP etc.' started by Captain Crash, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    With the 2018-2019 schedule released I thought it might be time to start a new thread for the NAHL's 44th season. The season will open on September 13th with the regular season wrapping up on April 7th. The annual showcase in Minnesota is set for September 19th-22nd.

    Full schedule:
    Available here: NAHL Game Center | North American Hockey League | NAHL

    Changes for 2018-2019:
    • The Coulee Region Chill were sold and relocated to Chippewa Falls to play as the Chippewa Steel.[​IMG]
    • The Topeka Roadrunners were sold to sports powerhouse Lamar Hunt and rebranded as the Topeka Pilots. They remain in the same market and venue.[​IMG]
    • The Philadelphia Rebels relocated to Jamestown, NY to become the Jamestown Rebels.
    [​IMG]
    • The NAHL granted an expansion franchise for Odenton, Maryland, a suburb of the Baltimore/Washington metro. They're named the Maryland Black Bears.
      [​IMG]
    Division Alignment:
    • Central Division:
      • Aberdeen Wings
      • Austin Bruins
      • Bismarck Bobcats
      • Brookings Blizzard
      • Minnesota Wilderness
      • Minot Minotauros
    • East Division:
      • Jamestown Rebels
      • Johnstown Tomahawks
      • Maryland Black Bears
      • New Jersey Titans
      • Northeast Generals
      • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
    • Midwest Division:
      • Chippewa Steel
      • Fairbanks Ice Dogs
      • Janesville Jets
      • Kenai River Brown Bears
      • Minnesota Magicians
      • Springfield Jr. Blues
    • South Division:
      • Amarillo Bulls
      • Corpus Christi IceRays
      • Lone Star Brahmas
      • Odessa Jackalopes
      • Shreveport Mudbugs
      • Topeka Pilots
    (when's the last time the divisions were completely even?!)

    Here's to a Black Bears vs Brown Bears championship :thumbu:
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
    AmericanDream and JMCx4 like this.
  2. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    That may just be too much to Bear. :rolleyes:
     
    Captain Crash likes this.
  3. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Not for members of each team's fan cub!
     
  4. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Point taken. Turns out the new B-Bears will be playing home games at an arena within 20 minutes of my son & D-I-L's house. I told them to expect out-of-town guests this season.
     
  5. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Ah, I have a former colleague in the area so I'm hoping to exploit that to check the newbies out as well. Let's just hope that they do enough marketing to get the locals out of hibernation.
     
    JMCx4 likes this.
  6. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    On a more serious note about our new ursine representatives, the ownership, Black Bear Sports Group, has quietly yet quickly amassed a small empire of junior teams at every tier of the current system.

    • Tier 1: BBSG acquired a large stake in the Youngtown Phantoms of the USHL. They purchased their share from former NHLer Troy Loney, and maintain co-ownership with the Zoldan family (likely ensuring they won't be relocating). Source: Black Bear Sports Group Acquires Stake in Youngstown Phantoms
    • Tier 2: NAHL granted this year's expansion Maryland Black Bears, of course.
    • Tier 3: BBSG granted an expansion team in the EHL's Mid-Atlantic Conference. Known simply as Team Maryland, they'll also play out of the Black Bears home rink in Odenton, MD. Source: Team Maryland Expands Into Junior Hockey
    All this in the span of a few months. Either the ownership is attempting to create a model of internal advancement through the juniors, or they just bit off way more than they could chew. I hope for the former while fearing the latter.

    Poking around the BBSG website is pretty interesting. They're based in Maryland, and they've already been running some different AAA teams, including the Mercer Chiefs of the AYHL based in NJ. Their main business, however, has so far been in buying up hockey rinks, investing in them, and finding tenants. So not surprisingly, they own the rinks that house the Mercer Chiefs, Team Maryland, and (surprise!) the Maryland Black Bears. I guess they realized they could just cut out the middleman and own their own tenants to significantly cut down on costs.

    If I recall, this is the same business model used by some East Division foes, including the WBS Knights and I believe the New Jersey Titans. It's likely what allows them to stay afloat despite pitiful attendance. I just hope that the new Bears on the block are better able to draw fans to the rink.

    You can check out their portfolio of rinks here: Black Bear Sports Group Arenas. Notably, they own Printscape Arena. It's the former training facility of the Pittsburgh Penguins and I've long hoped would attract a Tier II or III team.
     
    JMCx4 likes this.
  7. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    The ownership of the USHL's Central Illinois Flying Aces has done the same thing, but in a more drawn out timeline. They even added a minor pro team, but that addition is not an apparent part of an "advancement" plan. Could just be a placeholder to move one of his junior properties in the future.
     
  8. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    1,604
    Likes Received:
    1,062
    Trophy Points:
    84
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tatooine
    Speculating here, but I think both organizations realized that junior hockey just doesn't draw on the East Coast and the only way to fairly fund tier 2 in the region is to own the rink. Full time tenants at the WBS Revolution Ice Center include King's College, EHL, midgets to mites, men's leagues, high schools, and countless public skates to keep their rink busy all day, year round which eats up the money that their NAHL team inevitably loses due to nonexistence ticket sales and sponsorship revenue. It would be safe to assume that NJ Titans operates in a similar manner. Unsure about the Generals, and I can't see the Black Bears going the ticket revenue route either.

    The Rebels I do not think operate in this manner though as they didn't own either the UPenn rink or the Aston IceWorks. Their attendance was just as bad as the rest of the East Division, although I can't fault them for trying as they made concerted marketing effort. They also don't own their new home in Jamestown, so only time will tell if they can tap that market.
     
  9. JungleJON Registered User

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    46
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    The Johnstown Tomahawks outdrew all the other four East teams combined.
     
  10. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    1,604
    Likes Received:
    1,062
    Trophy Points:
    84
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tatooine
    Sorry, I should have put that Johnstown wasn't included in that statement. To be fair, they should be outdrawing the other teams. They've supported minor pro hockey since the 50s, are a market in the middle of Pennsyltucky - Wikipedia where hockey is the only entertainment draw thanks to Slap Shot, run off-ice like a USHL team, and have a great facility with a favorable lease.

    The other teams in the division can't compete with their Appalachian friend, and shouldn't be expected to. They don't have longtime fanbases dating back decades. They also won't build one because the Northeast mindset of watching hockey doesn't include juniors. It goes NHL, AHL, D1/ECHL, and so on. Watching junior hockey is on Page 72 of an East Coast hockey fans "list of hockey games to see," four sports behind their neighbor's beer league team. They don't have nice big barns, except for Jamestown who just moved to a similar rink to the War Memorial.

    It's also not just as easy as putting a team where there's nothing else and people will come. The Keystone Ice Miners are a testament to that. And then there's the Ironmen too where you have good hockey and good facility but because of off-ice issues people won't show up. Johnstown has had those advantages over everyone else in their division and ought to be putting up much more than their counterparts.
     
  11. buzzworthy Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    91
    Trophy Points:
    71
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    As a big hockey fan who was born and raised in Johnstown, it breaks my heart to see how mediocre the team has become. I love hockey at all levels, and I used to think that minor league hockey was the cat's meow. That is, until I began to attend Erie Otter's games in the OHL. Now, THAT is hockey. It is so superior to anything I have ever seen that there is no comparison. I have been to NAHL games in Johnstown and Jamestown. I have been to AHL games in Hershey, Lehigh Valley, and Wilkes-Barre, and of course many Penguin's games. Quite simply, the OHL provides the most excitement, talent, and bang for the buck of any level. I have watched Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat, and many others play in Erie for less than $15.00 a ticket. I have watched many, many NHL stars play against Erie. Check the roster of any NHL club, and you will find at least 1 former OHL player. It is too bad that more fans have not had the opportunity to see some really good hockey. Minor league hockey is fun, but to be honest with you many of the players have lost the passion for the game. Erie's championship team of 2 years ago could have skated with any AHL club, and probably beaten most of them. Anthony Cirelli, Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat, Taylor Raddysh, Warren Foegle, Darren Raddysh, and Travis Dermott of that Erie squad are either in the NHL or will be soon. Now THAT is hockey.
     
    JMCx4 likes this.
  12. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Leaning back toward the thread topic ...
     
  13. Newfoundland Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Messages:
    893
    Likes Received:
    335
    Trophy Points:
    49
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    How much better is this league then the NA3HL?
     
  14. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    It really depends on each organization. But generally, a lot.
     
    JMCx4 likes this.
  15. Newfoundland Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2016
    Messages:
    893
    Likes Received:
    335
    Trophy Points:
    49
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    My cousin who played in this league tried to say it was just below the OHL. I'll assume it isnt even close.
     
  16. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    1,604
    Likes Received:
    1,062
    Trophy Points:
    84
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tatooine
    The NA is significantly better than the NA3. Almost all NAHL players end up committing to NCAA D1 or high end D3 while the NA3 gets a mix of ACHA and NCAA D3 commits. It's bad enough that at the 2018 NAHL Draft, zero players from the NA3 were selected. NAHL is required to tender a certain number of NA3 players, but the vast majority players who will make the roster are from high school or midgets. Both leagues heavily publicize advancements that have been made, but they are few and far between.
     
    Blue Liner and JMCx4 like this.
  17. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
  18. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    34,376
    Likes Received:
    21,956
    Trophy Points:
    201
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Occupation:
    Now We Fight!!!!!!
    Location:
    Red Dog Nation
    you guys think we ever see a USHL and NAHL combo like the CHL is??? I would really like to see the leagues split up into regions and have two major US junior leagues attracting attention and players...maybe I am in the minority here, but always wanted to see this done as I think both leagues should be helping each other out and not really competing against each other...lose enough kids to the CHL/NCAA routes..share the same pool of talent, just regionalize it like the CHL does...I would like to see something like that, anyone else have thoughts on ever seeing this???
     
  19. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    That won't happen because the USHL and NAHL are on different "tiers" of the USA hockey junior system, with the former at Tier 1 and the latter at Tier 2. That is to say that they're less like the difference between say the WHL and OHL and more like the difference between the OHL and OJHL. While there are probably some teams that could probably jump up or down the leagues, for the most part they operate on vastly different business models: USHL teams play almost entirely in actual arenas, whereas most NAHL teams play in glorified rec rinks; the USHL covers billet fees for all players, whereas the NAHL charges for those costs. It's the same reason why you don't see every Junior A franchise in Canada trying to jump up to the CHL-- it's just not quite the same thing.

    All that being said, I think there is already some pretty good collaboration between the leagues. They both fall under the USA Hockey umbrella, so ultimately have some degree of shared governance. Teams in both leagues work to share players frequently rather than just fighting for the same talent; it's not uncommon to see players get "called up" from the NAHL to the USHL, and some teams even have a bit of an unofficial partnership. It seems to be an increasing relationship, too, as now some USHL teams and NAHL teams are coming under shared ownership.

    So to answer your question: no, they will not become like the CHL.
     
  20. S E P H @SEPH_WHL

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    19,747
    Likes Received:
    6,962
    Trophy Points:
    201
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Occupation:
    WHL
    Location:
    ToruĊ„, PL
    It's way too unstable of a league to actually form a CHL type of league and some of the rinks they play in are regional rinks. Like there is an astronomical difference (yes it requires bold) between the rink the Janesville Jets play in and the Waterloo Blackhawks play in as one example.

    However, there is absolutely one way you can create a CHL-USHL league and that is the combination of central teams from the NAHL with strong financial backing to form the the newly created USHL division, have all the eastern NAHL teams with good backing (ones that have survived the test of time) and put them in the NCHC. After that, take the Western teams with good crowds, finances, and whatnot...combine them with some WSHL and other Junior A tier II and III teams to form a superior western version of the USHL. Then you would have three regional leagues like the CHL has. The problem though is that the Western region of the USA is still not at the hockey level yet and I don't think there would be enough population to create an entire top league consisting of like 15 teams that wouldn't water down the talent.

    Don't get me wrong, there are a million states with cold temperatures for hockey, but either haven't developed strong hockey programmes like Utah and Idaho or have far too little of a population for backyard talent such as Montana and Wyoming are. Colorado is tough one because there are a million things to do in the State and there already are a million hockey programmes. Hockey isn't really strong in New Mexico nor Arizona and Nevada just got their feet wet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
    AmericanDream likes this.
  21. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    1,396
    Trophy Points:
    94
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Standings into Month #2 ... NAHL Game Center | North American Hockey League | NAHL

    Johnstown off to a strong start in the East, as are the Minn. Magicians in the Midwest Division. The Central & South Divisions have tighter races so far, but they're still in the teens for games played. :popcorn:
     
  22. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    As Thanksgiving draws near, Johnstown's dominance looks legitimate. With a pair of wins this weekend, the Tomahawks extended their winning streak to a dozen. They have a sizable lead in the East division and lead the league overall. Not to mention, the top three current points leaders are all from Johnstown: Solensky, Briere, and Hebert. Briere's 14 goals are also tied for first in the league.

    What a turnaround for the Hawks.
     
  23. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Messages:
    1,604
    Likes Received:
    1,062
    Trophy Points:
    84
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tatooine
    How's Jamestown doing their first season out of the big city? They were pretty dominant on-ice during the first few years of the East Coast division but it looks like the rest of the teams caught up with them.

    Haven't checked on attendance numbers, but I was thinking Jamestown might be an ambivalent hockey market with their hockey fans being put through a lot. Their old minor pro team was well-loved but after the league collapsed mid-season the players got drunk and from trashed a couple of buildings before leaving without paying the bill. They then got a low-level junior team in the Jets that they supported well until the NAHL did some shifty business and moved them out overnight. The community, if I remember correctly, turned against the team and didn't show up to spite them. Having a crazy Japanese owner who "allegedly" used to go on the ice to practice with the team and branded the team with a video game looking character probably didn't help either despite the team's good record. But, there's not much else to do in town and that's usually been the recipe for box office success for a junior hockey team.
     
  24. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    The NAHL and USHL have entered into a more structured affiliation/movement agreement.

    From the NAHL's press release:
    Can't say I'm surprised to see this coming, as the partnership between the league's had been trending this direction for a few seasons now. It also reaffirms the recent trend of ownership groups acquiring teams at all three tiers of juniors. The Maryland Black Bears, for example, have been referring to the Youngstown Phantoms as their "USHL affiliate" all season.

    The initial press release doesn't make it clear just how far the agreement goes. Could we soon see the junior equivalent of the NHL and AHL relationship? Will USHL teams have only one formal affiliate? Either way, I'd imagine this would be a selling point for the NAHL; players may be more willing to commit to an NAHL team if they think it means a chance at a call up to the USHL.
     
  25. Captain Crash Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    61
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Looks like we have our first (?) coaching casualty of the season. According to the Chippewa Herald, the newcomers Chippewa Steel have fired head coach Al Rooney. Assistant coach Carter Foguth has been promoted to interim head coach.

    Per Rooney on Twitter:
    The Steel were off to an abysmal start since their relocation from Coulee, with a record of just 5-16-1-1 and dead last in the Midwest Division. Foguth has quite the hole to dig this team out of. While Rooney had quite a bit of coaching experience under his belt, Foguth is an unknown. His stint as assistant coach in Chippewa this season is the only coaching he has ever done, having just finished his NCAA playing career last season. Seems like a lot to throw on a young, inexperienced coach, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of their season plays out.

    This also seems like a good time to check in on the new team's off the ice records. The Steel's attendance is mediocre at best, averaging at just over 600 per game at home. That said, their home opener drew a very respectable 1,112 into the stands, and those numbers have been declining ever since. Not a far stretch of the imagination that the poor record has affected this. If the Steel can turn things around on the ice perhaps the fans will come back.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"