Colin Bilek: A player with a positive legacy is honred by the Northeast Generals-Read More

The photo graphic showing the banner hung tonight in Bilek’s honnor is courtesy of the Northeast Generals

The article photo is credited to Army West Point Athletics.

For Colin Bilek, and what he brings to everywhere he plays, Associate Head Coach of Army West Point Zach McKelvie summed up the impact of Bilek, “His compete level and work ethic in games is evident the moment you watch him in games but what people don’t realize is that there is no on/off switch for him. His switch is always on, he has spent hundreds of hours on his own working on every aspect of his game. More importantly though is that his attitude is infectious, he elevates everyone because he genuinely loves the grind of becoming a better athlete and team. So the things that make him so special which often go unnoticed are that his grit is unmatched and he is humble.”

Those special and often overlooked things are just some reasons why no Northeast General will ever wear the number six ever again, as tonight, in a surprise ceremony (the other alums attending knew of the plan to retire Bilek’s number, but not Bilek, his jersey was retired and a banner will hang at New England Sports Village to remind all those who come to Attleboro of who the first model General is, Colin Bilek.

When you think of positive leaders, you tend to think of those that inspire others in their team to be better. Whether on the rink, in the class or in serving our country, Colin Bilek fits all of those things. The former Northeast General had his number retired by an organization that has built on the first two years of legacy Colin helped make. As you see the alums from that group back at Attleboro tonight, remember that the two year timeline for the Generals was one of the most dramatic for an NAHL Expansion team. The group went from single digit wins to the playoffs the following season, and had Colin leading the way.

Despite leading that turnaround, Bilek had one, and only one Division One Offer, Army West Point. He took that offer, and went and consistently worked to improve the Black Knights every day. The legacy of Bilek as a Cadet is not yet finished, but the record of success he has not just on the ice, he’s the leading returning goal scorer, and Captain of the Black Knights is already a remarkable one.

As for Bilek at West Point, McKelvie knew Bilek was in the right spot quickly, saying ” What makes Colin an excellent fit for our program is that he is just a good human being & he pushes everyone around him to be better, coaches included .No doubt a lot of the credit has to go to his parents as they raised a great athlete, leader and person. He is everything we look for in our Cadets.”

On the ice, and beyond for Bilek McKelvie added ” It didn’t take us long to figure out Colin was a good fit for Army.  Every time we watched him he stood out because his compete level and his leadership. It’s easy for us to say now but even in the recruiting process we felt like he was a no brainer for both his ability and who is as a human.”

McKelvie also said of Bilek’s night with the Generals for getting his jersey number retired tonight “It’s huge honor for Colin to have his jersey retired. He was a great player for the Generals but his impact on the organization extends far beyond just his play.”

When talking with him for a story coming soon, as a leader of his group getting ready for Army’s season opener one week from today he took the time to talk about positives not just of his line mates, but of every single element and aspect of his team that he could in the 15 minutes we had to chat with him. He is ready to lead the Black Knights, and his legacy inspires the Generals, Army West Point Hockey, and those whom he will lead after his 47 month time at West Point is done. Whether he leads as a second lieutenant right away, or as a professional hockey player as three Black Knight Alums are, those around him wherever he ends up will be better for it, just as the Generals, and the Black Knights are.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Quick start and fast finish gives Northeast a home opening 5-1 win: Read More

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

In their NAHL Showcase Finale against Amarillo, the Generals had plenty of looks as the game wore on, but could not find the equalizing goal. The team looked better playing from behind for most of the showcase than they did tied or with a lead.

Tonight, they never trailed the Johnstown Tomahawks in their home opener at New England Sports Village.

For the Generals, Ryan Gordon, Douglas Friberg, Ryan Corcoran, Martin Marnauzs, and Brent Keefer all pitched in with goals. Friberg’s was the game winner, and one that pushed the team forward in their three goal first period. For that he was given first star honors.

As Head Coach Bryan Erikson said of what he liked from his group tonight:

” I liked how we protected the lead in the 3rd. We played really smart hockey. Stayed out of the nonsense for the most part and forced them to the outside. It was a solid 20 minutes.”

As to his first goal scorers (first NAHL goal scorers) Erikson said ” Great to see Doug score. Thought he struggled a bit on the puck early in the game and then once he scored he was able to relax and get more into the flow. It’s a huge monkey off the back for him. Same goes for Ryan Corcoran. Played real well. Stepped up when Kolnik got the 15 minutes for fighting and earned a regular shift. Excited for him”

Going forward, Erikson was clear, the third period for this team in how they played a complete game, and added scoring is the example period moving forward.

As he said ” If we can take that into every game I would love for that to be the standard, [with us playing] smart, intelligent, disciplined hockey.”

One General that has stood out more and more each game, as the speed Erikson saw in him at the NAPHL level and is showing more and more of his game breaking potential is Brent Keefer. He took the puck on a partial breakaway, skated into the pass, and then easily deposited the puck in the back of the net to earn the final goal of the night.

Erikson noted that Division One interest in him is picking up, saying ” Yes Keefer and I have spoken to a few D1 schools. Interest is picking up. He will be a huge get for any school. Has a visit coming up and then we are scheduling a few more. Great goal by him today.”

Tomorrow, with around 20 alums from the first Generals team, including Army West Point Captain Colin Bilek in attendance, the spotlight will be on this group. Erikson summed up what he is looking for from them saying of what he wants to see his team be “better on the puck, better F3, better communication. Just be more disciplined in executing our systems. I loved a lot of stuff but we didn’t see the best of Johnstown. They will bring a lot more tomorrow and we need to be ready for it.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Chris Dodero: Developing a business and career with his hockey development

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

AIC fifth year senior Chris Dodero has taken a path to leading the back to back to back Atlantic Hockey Champions that was on the road less traveled. That is, he has gone from routine healthy scratch as a freshman to a complete two way forward with pro ambitions. He has also used the development tools he has gained to start helping others. He does this through his hockey consulting business, Prodero Hockey.

Dodero took his reality of not playing a lot as a freshman and looked to skills. He said that “I was thinking, how can I improve myself and how can I get better?”

The name Prodero came just from being around the team and Dodero’s initial work, his teamates made the nickname, and Dodero ran with it. The goal of Prodero Hockey is to help all players maximize their potential. In addition, the sessions are customized to meet the needs of each client and include things like video breakdown of NHL players’ high end skills in part to give players a model for what Dodero wants to do.

Dodero loves the AIC program, and loves the opportunity he has built. His Head Coach Eric Lang knows Dodero can be a NHL skills coach, and Dodero sees that in his future. For now, he wants to play the sport he loves for as long as he can. Lang’s program and its structure gives time for players to develop at their own speed, and Dodero is racing ahead as he is excited to see fans back in buildings.

As he said of having fans back ” It’ll mean everythng.” Of the culture Lang has built at AIC Dodero was similarlly effusive with praise “We don’t have the amount of resources that early every other Division One College Team has but at the end of the day we find a way to get the job done.. we’re kind of a family, thats the culture we have here.” Dodero hopes to come back as a graduate to an on campus rink one day in the distant future as well. He also had so many positive things to say about all of his teammates, both returning and new that we could not discuss all of them in this interview.

The AIC culture extends to its leader on the media side, Seth Dussault, he wears many hats but is the play-by-play broadcaster and key media contact who always serves as a valuable resource to those looking to learn more about the Yellow Jackets. Dodero shared a story showing what an ” elite human” Seth is. In Arizona at an In-N-Out Out Burger, someone accidentally grabbded two and he made sure the rest of the team had one, at the end of a road trip, giving up the elusive treat (for those who do not know, In-N-Out is a regional delicacy with a worldwide following, they do not have any restaurants in or near Massachusetts, but have them all over the Western United States.) Like Dodero in putting the team first with developing his game to get more playing time, Seth put the needs of the players ahead of his own.

As for Chris, he spends all of his free time “growing the brand” that is Prodero, and he launched this business during the middle of the pandemic. He is excited for the year ahead.

In addition, for a great resource to better understand the game, whether you are a player looking to get better, a fan looking to understand how your favorite NHL player does what they do, or anyone who likes just watching clean hockey skills and drills, we would strongly reccomend that you give his business page on Instagram a look and a follow if you are so inclined.

Here is the link to his page:

https://www.instagram.com/prodero_hockey/?hl=en

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Northeast Generals Player Profile: Carson Limesand

Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Carson Limesand has made quite the impression early on for the Northeast Generals. He has 142 saves on 152 shots faced in four games, and has won three starts. His opening weekend of work against Danbury made him the first East Division Star of the week, and he put up a zero goals allowed in relief for them in their NAHL Showcase finale against Amarillo.

Limesand is a state champion from Orono Minnesota that plays an athletic style of goaltending with a celling at the next level of some college goaltending’s best, like former Lake Superior State Laker, Mareks Mitens. His style and ability to make routine saves with ease, combined with his strong hockey sense have helped him make saves at high volume in danger areas and work to limit rebound chances in dangerous areas. As Head Coach Bryan Erikson said when Limesand was tendered by the Generals “Carson is a very athletic goaltender that we think will have a huge impact on the team in 2021-22. Carson comes from a very good MN High School team where he put up great numbers. This past year Carson went 12-6 with a 2.56gaa and a .912 save percentage. We look forward to him transitioning smoothly to the junior level and working with our goalie coach Steve Mastalerz.”

So far, its safe to say the transition is going quite well. Mastalerz has helped accentuate Limesand’s style and has put him in a position to succeed early on. The team loves what he brings, as he already has two nicknames, ‘Limer’, and ‘Sando’ (Sando is the more popular one of the two). Limesand is a vocal leader, consistently bantering with his skaters, and he is quite vocal during games directing defenders and setting up outlet plays. Limesand’s future is bright, and Erikson and his staff are impressed not only with his skill, but with how he responded in relief after his first tough outing against the Minnesota Magicians. The staff saw more about him at the NAHL Showcase and were impressed.

Player Profile Answers

Why did you decide to play hockey
“I watched my older brothers goalie one game and from there knew I wanted to be a goalie.”


What is your favorite food and why?
“Burgers because there’s always new things you can put on it.”


What is your favorite thing about the Generals?
“Family”


Where are you from ?
“Minnesota”


Tell us about the type of player you are
“Butterfly goalie with quick movements.”


Which NHL player past or present do you model your game after? *
“Carey Price”
What is your best hockey memory?
“Winning the state championship”
What are your goals on and off the ice this year?
Hand eye and becoming stronger
What is your favorite tv show or movie to watch?
“Outer Banks”


Tell us one unique thing about you off the ice
” I love to go fishing”
What is your favorite place to go around the rink in Attleboro?
“Anywhere with food”


What is your favorite video game or thing to do in your spare time?
“Rocket league”


Who do you look up to most in your life and why?
“Dad and brother because they both are smart and successful”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

PHOTOS: Northeast Generals vs Minnesota Magicians

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Check out select photos from the Generals’ third game at the NAHL Showcase against the Minnesota Magicians.

Credit all photos in the gallery and through the full album link below it to Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography , permission must be obtained prior to use.

Check out the link below for the full album from the game.

https://m.facebook.com/pg/VioletTurtlephotography/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1667292116802692

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Dan Wildfong: Leading the Brahmas with details

Hear from AIC Hockey Head Coach Eric Lang on what Lone Star Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong means to College Hockey.

“He is an amazing advocate for his players and if you look at his track record his players are unbelievably successful collegiate hockey players.” Wildfong has developed pro hockey stars, sent players to college hockey and helped prepare them by focusing on details , as Lang went on to say. He noted what he gets when he gets a Wildfong developed player

“They are college ready. He coaches his players hard, has high standards, and has them college ready when they show up on campus.”

As to Wildfong, he has built his program around character and players that strive to learn the details and systems needed to get to the next level. He looks for players with the same competitive drive he had in his decades playing professional hockey.

Off the ice, Wildfong looks for players that understand the value of character and service. The concept is driven home as every week he looks for all of his players to get significant community service time. One phrase that comes out of this is the concept of “petty problems.” That is, Wildfong and his staff make a point to get his players visiting places like local children’s hospitals and shelters in order to put things in a bit of perspective. When the team has adversity on the ice and the staff needs to reel things back in, the phrase petty problems is used a lot. The visits provide the team with a chance to serve the community, and keep things in perspective, both things incredibly valuable in this game.

Wildfong also has built a community of graduates that have gone on to play Division One Hockey for coaches like Lang. One of the transfers for AIC, Alec Calvaruso, helped Wildfong win a Robertson Cup, and Wildfong helped him find a new home.

That is just one example of the many positive relationships Wildfong has built. He noted to look beyond top line numbers for some of his alums as they head to the Division One level. Because of how much good will he has built up in this small hockey world, he knows who to lean on when one of his players need help, or when a player needs to be moved to a place that is a better fit for them.

Looking ahead to the season, Wildfong has a tough team ready to compete for everything. As he said, when asked what he would like a new fan to know about his team. ” We will give you everything we’ve got for 60 minutes or more.” Wildfong’s group opens up at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine this week, where everyone of their players will be seen by Division One scouts from every school, the NHL, and more.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

New beginning, solid start: Northeast Generals earn 3-1 team win-read more

At the beginning of a new season, especially after your team did not make the playoffs, you want to start on the right foot. Tonight, the Northeast Generals did just that. They went on the road and earned a 3-1 win over the Danbury Junior Hat Tricks. Paul Minnehan put home a tough goal in the crease on a hard net front play, Jackson McCarthy got a goal off a defender’s leg and in, and Joe Schubert put home a turnaround wrister that was tough to stop. Carson Limesand made his debut in net for the Generals and did not look out of place. He played a calm game and often looked a step ahead of the shooters he was facing. He made the tough saves looked routine and only conceded a goal on a well placed slot deflection.

Head Coach Bryan Erikson noted that CJ Zezima and Landon Kolnik stood out in their debuts for generating chances and offense while being responsible with how the Generals wanted to play. Zezima comes to the Generals as a USPHL Premier Champion with the Charlotte Rush last year, and both forwards bring speed and energy to the group.

On the goals the Generals scored, Erikson had this to say

” Minnehan is a special player and finished a great play on a nice pass from Zezima. Jackson McCarthy had a monster summer and it was great to see him activate and get a great pass from Schubert who then busted up the ice to get to the net. Then finally a big scrum around the net where nobody quit on the play and Schubert was able to make a sweet turnaround shot for a goal.”

On Limesand’s play, Erikson noted how good he was, saying

“Carson Limesand was outstanding. Just a great debut. Really helped us settle down and keep some big mistakes from going in the net.”

One key turning point of this game came in the second period. Danbury scored their one salvo of the evening, and was pushing for a second before Joe Schubert put home the insurance marker on the night. That play was something the Generals wanted more of last year, and got it at a key moment in game one of this season. Erikson said of that marker and of the final ten minutes of the game :

“It’s huge. Last year we gave up a lot of leads so it was important for this team to make a new identity of becoming a team that bares down on plays. Joe was very good. And it was a huge goal. And in the last 10 minutes I thought we did a great job limiting their opportunities. [It was] a very good team win!”

Going forward, Erikson has said that he views the season in ten game segments. In this first one, the Generals have one more game to play against Danbury before preparing for the NAHL Showcase next week in Blaine where they play four games in four days against four teams from different divisions, the only time they play teams in the regular season outside of their division all year.

On the night, and getting ready for tomorrow, Erikson succinctly said:

“Well we played our lines the way we wanted them today which was a change. But I think guys realized how much faster they needed to make decisions. But the real test will be if they can do it back to back.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Opinion: What Reinstatement of the Seawolves Hockey Program means to College Hockey

Look at the Northeast Generals 2020-2021 2000 born players who needed to find a college hockey home. All of them did, with multiple players in that group earning Division Three Comittments after the 20-21 season ended. Multiple players who went to superb Division Three institutions, would have, in most other years, earned a Division One spot. In two years , players with their same stat lines may once again have another Division One chance because of the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves return to the Division One ranks in Men’s Ice Hockey.

Why are we bringing this up?

Well, as Head Coach of the Generals Bryan Erikson has noted, the suspension of multiple programs for the upcoming season has made his job tougher to find worthy players Division One homes. The Generals are not all all unique in having talents worthy of Division One spots not having room to play at Division One.

The Seawolves coming back, while not getting the men’s game back to where it was in terms of active teams before their suspension at the hands of the Board of Regents, gets us a little closer to the ideal of every Division One player having a spot to play at this level. It also opens up more spots for players at the Division Three and ACHA levels as there will be more upward mobility in the sport than there is now.

In addition, the administration has shown the werewithal to put together a long term plan in conjunction with Save Seawolf Hockey that is flexible enough to not require a conference membership. While of couse the Seawolves want a conference home, their supporters found a way to make independence work. Perhaps other schools looking at joining or looking at coming off suspension should strongly consider what independence would look like and giving their stakeholders a seat at the table in that choice where apt. Newer teams may need to be independent for more than a few years until this sport finds enough parties willing to form a seventh conference.

All of the positive news from Anchorage has provided a ray of sunlight amidst program suspensions. Hopefully one day ths sport will be big enough to expand to scale for all schools that want it. We already know of the intentions of Lindenwood, Augustana University, and have heard rumors of more schools looking to join. The news that you can, with an administration’s support, work to raise enough money and create a sustainable path to play hockey as an independent in Anchorage means that, for those in the lower 48, they now have a road map on how to start or save a program. It of course relies on raising a lot of money, and creating a foundation of support, but the news of the Seawolves’ reinstatement is one that will help in two ways. First, it will ensure a storied program is able to reboot itself and play college hockey, which means 25 more players than this season will have a chance to play this great sport at the Division One level. It also means that, for the first time in the past few seasons, supporters have a clear example of how to start or save their program.

Hopefully the blueprint that Katie Bethard and her group have put in place can serve as a guide moving forward. For now, the fact that 25 more deserving players have a chance at the Division One level next season than this year is a good thing. Think about the leading returning goal scorer, Colin Bilek, of Army West Point. He had one offer at the top level of this game. If not for Bryan Erikson and the Generals promoting him at the right time, in the right way, he may not be at West Point right now.

Now think about all of the Robert Morris players who were only offered by RMU, and so on, how many one offer only players, like Bilek was, have been affected by program suspensions since the Seawolves were suspended?

The news of the Seawolves return in two years is great, and hopefully we hear of more returns and new programs joining soon. For many reasons, this sport needs it.


Donate: 
To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Northeast Generals Player Profile: David Andreychuk

One of the biggest highlights of David Andreychuk’s game is his speed. The forward knows how to get to the high production areas of the ice and put up points. The St Lawrence commit will be a co captain for the Generals this year and hopes to bring the positive roll the team finished last year on ahead to drive this team to a playoff spot.

Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson added

“Dave Andreychuk is an 02 St Lawrence commit who will wear a C for us this year on the NA team. One of the smartest players I have coached. He sees the ice at an elite level. And his patience is great both on the rush and in zone. Great PP and PK guy and we think he has a chance to lead our division in points”.

On the top line for the Generals, like his dad in college hockey before him, David knows how to use his skills to create time and space to score. He compares his game to that of Nikita Kucherov, a player who does a lot of things well and one that can hurt the defense with their sauce passes as much as their shot.

PLAYER PROFILE: Andreychuk’s Answers

Why did you decide to play hockey?
“Because of family history and it was my passion ever since I stepped on the ice.”


What is your favorite food and why?
“Giant 43 no onions or peppers from Jersey Mike’s. Because the chipotle mayo is to die for.”


What is your favorite thing about the Generals?


“The atmosphere at the rink, and the facilities that are provided for the players.

Where are you from ?
” Sarasota FL”

What is your favorite subject and why?
“I like math because I feel it can be used later in life the most.”

Tell us about the type of player you are


“ Shooting playmaker that will usually look for the pass first. Plays on both sides of the puck.”


Which NHL player past or present do you model your game after?


“I like to try to model my game off of kucherov because of the way he uses deception to implement his game so well.”


What is your best hockey memory?


“Winning championships with the boys”


What are your goals on and off the ice this year?


“To be a guy our coaches can rely on, and a leader on and off the ice.”


What is your favorite tv show or movie to watch?


“I love watching America’s got talent on YouTube the most.”


Tell us one unique thing about you off the ice
I’m a duel citizen, both Canadian and American


What is your favorite place to go around the rink in Attleboro?


“The driving range”


Who do you look up to most in your life and why?
“My dad because he is the reason I started hockey and continue to love it to this day.”

Eric Lang: Moving AIC Forward into the 2021-2022 Campaign

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

American International College Hockey Head Coach Eric Lang had a change in his expected roster. A few months ago he was expecting to add one more transfer at most after the commitments of Chris Vanos-Shaw, and Brian Rigali. He went on to add three more transfers, all with the aim of making the Yellow Jackets better. As he said , “It’s solely my job to always make sure we are trying to put the best team on the ice that we can.” Lang acknowledges that his roster is big, at 32 players, with four of them being goaltenders, he knows that players will have to earn playing time. Unlike other teams, while of course being heavily involved in practice planning early on, he lets his assistants run more things early on so Lang can sit and evaluate things more. He is paid to put the best team possible on the ice, and likes to observe things in a different way more early on.

Lang said that his team plays more small area games than most, and he has the roster to do it. His practices are high energy, and he routinely lays out what players not in the lineup need to do in practice to earn a spot. Throughout his time at AIC, he has prided himself on transparency and honesty, and being honest with each player on where they are, the positive, and negative has been a big part of that. Given that his side has won the last three Atlantic Hockey Regular Season Championships, it’s hard to argue with that result. He credits his institution and staff for helping him find the financial backing to add the additional transfers .

As for his additonal transfers, he had some things to say. On Brian Kramer he went on say that, “Brian Kramer may be one of the top defensemen in our league. On, Santeri Hartikainen he noted that his former and future teammate Jake Stella said of him a version of what Aaron Grounds said about Brian Kramer, a former junior hockey teamate. Stella said it best to Lang when he asked for feedback on Hartikainenen saying ” you’ve gotta go get him.”

As for Alec Calvaruso, Lang praised his big game resume. The newest AIC netminder brings veteran experience, two junior hockey championships, and needed insurance in net. With Stefano Durante turning pro, Lang wanted another goaltender he could turn to when in need of quality minutes. He praised all of his netminding group from last year that is returning, and praised Durante’s career at AIC. Lang did not want to let the season head south due to lack of goaltending depth, so he added a player with a solid background to a group of good humans who can all provide an answer for AIC in net.

As for the team , Lang also noted that all but one of his players is fully vaccinated, and before the puck drops in October, he expects all of them to be . As he said, “our guys are serious about the season, we want to play with as little hiccups as possible.. they’ re guys that have always put others ahead of themselves and I think thats part of the deal this season. “

As for one of the leaders of this group, he talked about Chris Dodero. Not many senior or graduate leaders on a college hockey team own their own hockey consulting business. AIC is lucky to have Dodero who also runs a business called Prodero Hockey. His business is helping players train and having fun on the ice while doing so, watching any of the group’s facebook videos shows players from different leagues working to get better consistently, just like Dodero. He took the honest feedback from Lang as a freshman and used that to help grow his game into a lineup regular, and along the way started helping others improve as well. As Lang said of Dodero ” he is one of the greatest stories in college hockey, and everything he does has a purposed.” When Dodero’s pro career is done, Lang was confident in saying, “he will be an NHL Skills coach.”

On the rest of his group, Lang mentioned a number of players poised to surprise people. One player he singled out is Hurricanes prospect Jake Kucharski who played 40 stellar minutes of hockey in net against a North Dakota team that was a favorite to win the national championship. Lang said of Kucharski “he has best goalie in our league potential and top goalie in our country potential.” Kucharski and AIC open the season against Providence College, the team Kucharski transferred from to play for Lang.

Looking at the bigger picture, Lang took the time to praise his conference. With the movement in the transfer portal, he said ” our league got exponentially better” this summer. He expects Canisius to be competitive again, and expects Sacred Heart to compete for the title as well, and thinks every team in the league is competitive. With eight non conference games on the docket for each team he said “I think this could be a good year for Atlantic Hockey to get two teams in (to the NCAA Tournament).”

Lang also mentioned the relationships he still has with his mentor and former boss, Brian Riley. After Riley’s Army West Point group opens their season against Providence, Lang noted that he may, as he often does, chat about the game and a common opponent with his mentor. Lang also took the time to praise the pro potential of Army’s star, Colin Bilek, saying of the need to crowd him on the ice “he has to feel crowded.. if youre not a stick length away from him or less the puck is going off your crossbar and in your net.” He also praised the multidimensional game of Bilek as his complete game makes his goal scoring tougher to defend against. Given his skill he expects the pro ranks to notice him this season.

Back to his group, Lang said bluntly “they pay me here to make sure I put the best team on the ice possible.” He always noted that should a way to make another addition work , as we have seen, he would consider it over the semester break as an example of the continuous work he and his staff do to make that goal a reality. AIC is setup well to compete against an ever tough Atlantic Hockey Association, and, has two extra non conference games to show the rest of the college hockey world what they can do, just like the rest of this conference does.

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Bilek