Warriors have experience on their side
With eight 1993 birth-year skaters and 16 veterans in total, the Michigan Warriors were built for this 2013-2014 North American Hockey League season.
Just ask coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo of the Soo Eagles, who are a North Division rival of the Warriors.
“You can tell the guys that have the experience on that team,” Bragagnolo said of the Warriors on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show on ESPN 1400 Radio. “They are stronger on the stick. You see that with the 19- and 20-year-olds who have been around the league for a while. That’s a really good Michigan team with a lot of guys who have experience in our league.”
Of the eight last-year juniors on the Warriors, three are their top scorers -- forwards Zack Szajner, Colin Larkin and Jake Hopfner.
Another 20-year old Warrior is all-purpose forward Connor Lyons, a strong skater who plays bigger than his 5-foot-9, 180 pound size.
Notably, Szajner, Larkin, Hopfner and Lyons are all Michigan products.
Going into play on the Feb. 21 weekend, the Warriors had a 23-14-8 record, good for second-place in the North Division.
Knot in the North
A mere two points are all that stand between three teams fighting for one playoff spot.
As of Feb. 21, Springfield Jr. Blues and Soo Eagles were tied for fourth place in the NAHL North, just two points up on the Janesville Jets.
NA3HL to Jamestown
Junior hockey is poised to return to Jamestown, N.Y. for the 2014-2015 season.
A group of Jamestown businessmen has a deal in place to purchase the Michigan Mountain Cats of the North American 3 Hockey League.
Pending formal NA3HL approval, the Mountain Cats would move to Jamestown for the 2014-2015 season under the new ownership group.
Jamestown, which is located about 75 miles from Buffalo, was home to the Ironmen of the Tier 2, North American Hockey League for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons.
Shortly after winning the NAHL North Division title in 2012-2013 and going to the league’s Robertson Cup tournament, the Ironmen filed for dormancy and despite last-ditch attempts to purchase the franchise from owner Kenji Yamada, Jamestown was left without Junior hockey for this 2013-2014 season.
With a population of about 31,000, Jamestown is home to a $26 million, state-of-the-art facility, the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
As for the Mountain Cats, even with the franchise’s move out of Michigan, the area would still be served by two teams in the East Division: the Waterford-based Metro Jets and the Flint Jr. Generals.