24 in 24 Series: Northeast Generals
September 2, 2016
The 24 in 24 series features a look at all 24 teams in the NAHL for the 2016-17 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 24 in 24 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with all 24 head coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league. It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
Head Coach: Bryan Erikson (1st year)
2015-16 record: Did not play in the NAHL
2015-16 leading scorer: Did not play in the NAHL
2016 playoffs: Did not play in the NAHL
2016-17 Division: East
First regular season game: Friday, September 16th vs. Aston Rebels
Home opener: Friday, September 16th vs. Aston Rebels
The Northeast Generals were accepted into the NAHL on April 1 as a new expansion team and have been working full-bore since then to prepare for their new life as a Tier II junior hockey organization. Last season, the Generals had a Tier III junior team in the NA3EHL and will also continue that team in the NA3HL this upcoming season as a support arm to the new NAHL team.
The Generals will play out of the New England Sports Village located in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and will be the first NAHL team ever to call Boston home. The New England Sports Village is a 53 million dollar project that contains two NHL-sized rinks and a studio rink in the initial phase. The Village includes a 150-room hotel, a 50-meter pool, an indoor turf field house and two outdoor turf fields.
Head coach and general manager, Bryan Erikson, will continue lead the Generals on the ice. Erikson has over 19 years of coaching experience. “We got an early start and did the right things over the summer to be prepared as possible for the start of the season on September 16th. I think you look at the 54 NCAA commitments from just the East Division alone last season and understand that the East Coast has welcomed the NAHL with open arms and it is a tremendous opportunity for the Generals organization to bring this brand of hockey to the Boston area. We know every game is going to be a challenge in the East Division with the quality of talent and coaching of the other four teams, but we are proud to be adding to the NAHL presence in the East,” said Erikson.
Erikson continued… “One of the main reasons that we decided to buy and put the resources and time into an expansion team in this league was its proven ability to continually commit players to the NCAA. The 259 players committed this past year is an astonishing number, but are excited because we feel like it will continue to grow just as the league has in recent seasons. The players that are going onto the next level are arriving in the NCAA and able to contribute right away,” said Erikson. “The league cares about and promotes its players. Their number one goal is player advancement and opportunity.”
The Generals will open the season with their inaugural NAHL home game and weekend series against the Aston Rebels, the defending East Division Champions on September 16-17. Following that, they will travel to Blaine, Minnesota for the NAHL Showcase where they will face Shreveport, Odessa, Janesville and Topeka. The game against Shreveport will be a rare match-up between the two new expansion teams in the NAHL for the 2016-17 season. “Nothing is run like or compares to the NAHL Showcase. Obviously, there is a lot of excitement on our end. It is where you go if you are a scout to see great hockey. Everything about it is professional, from the time you first step into the arena to the scout area, to the way it is decorated. We can’t wait to get there and it is a great opportunity and early test for our players,” said Erikson.
As for the goals that Erikson has for the Generals in Year One in the NAHL, he is keeping things realistic and simple. “I think in our first year we would like to make the playoffs, but we want to be the hardest team in the division to play against. We want to do the dirty work that makes teams successful in this league like blocking shots, forechecking and backchecking. I think most of all, we want to see improvement as the season goes along so that we are playing our best hockey at the end of the season,” said Erikson. “We want to be hard to play against and be relentless night in and night out.”
Making an impact in the community with players is also something Erikson wants to make a good first impression with. “We are lucky not to be competing for fans with other NAHL teams, because we are totally new to the market and the community, but the flip side of that is that we are doing everything we can to introduce people to our brand of hockey and our players. To us, the quality of kid is more important than the quality of hockey player,” said Erikson.