39th NAHL season begins on Friday
September 12, 2014
The 39th season of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) faces off this weekend as ten teams take to the ice to open the 2014-15 regular season.
The 2014-15 regular season begins Friday night, September 12th with three games. In the South Division, the Corpus Christi IceRays travel to Topeka for a pair of games against the RoadRunners on Friday and Sunday. In the Midwest Division, old Alaskan state rivals clash later on Friday night as the Fairbanks Ice Dogs travel south to take on the Kenai River Brown Bears. Also on Friday, the North Division begins their action on the ice with the Janesville Jets traveling to Soo to take on the Eagles in a pair of weekend games.
Finally on Saturday, the Johnstown Tomahawks are on the road in Connellsville, Pennsylvania for the inaugural game and home opener of the Keystone Ice Miners. Also on Saturday, the Odessa Jackalopes visit the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
The remainder NAHL clubs will begin their regular season at the 12th annual NAHL Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota on Wednesday, September 17th.
The NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who were crowned as the 2014 NAHL Robertson Cup National Champions back in May, will open their title defense this weekend in Kenai River.
The NAHL, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league boasting 24 teams from across North America, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey. During the 2013-14 season, a record number of 221 NAHL players committed to NCAA schools. NAHL alumni Justin Williams was named the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs alumni Connor Hellebuyck won the first ever Mike Richter Award in 2014, honoring the top goaltender in the NCAA, eight former NAHL players signed NHL contracts in 2014 and six players with NAHL ties were selected in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The dedication in the development of the players is also demonstrated in the league’s annual exposure events like next week’s NAHL Showcase and the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February, which have evolved into hockey's most prominent and popular of its kind, and are a must for NCAA program and NHL team.