24 in 24: Jamestown Rebels
August 23, 2018
The 24 in 24 series features a look at all 24 teams in the NAHL for the 2018-19 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 24 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: Joe Coombs (6th Year)
2017-18 record: 41-15-4, 86 pts. (1st in the East Division)
2017-18 leading scorer: Aaron Maguyon (50 pts.)
2018 Playoffs: Lost to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in the East Division Finals, 3 games to 0
2018-19 Division: East
First regular season game: Wednesday, September 19th vs. Chippewa Steel
Home opener: Friday, October 12th vs. New Jersey Titans
It was another very good season last year for the Philadelphia Rebels, who have the dominant team in the NAHL’s East Division since its arrival back in 2015. The Rebels, who had lost in the Robertson Cup Championship Game in 2017, were back with another strong roster and put together 41 wins, another regular season division title and 10 NCAA commitments during the 2017-18 regular season.
However, the Rebels got extended to five games in their opening round playoff series win against the Northeast Generals, and the club ran out of steam and momentum in the East Division Finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, as they were swept in three games.
“I think we had a good year last season. We did a lot of growing and had some good NCAA commitments. Obviously, we would have liked a better result in the playoffs and gone to the Robertson Cup for a third straight year, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be,” said Rebels head coach Joe Coombs.
After the season was over, the opportunity arose for the Rebels to relocate their team and operations to Jamestown, New York, where the team will play out of the Northwest Arena in 2018-19. “We are excited to be in a new area this season and Jamestown is a great place for junior hockey. The venue is awesome and the team facilities are great. The community is excited and there is a lot to build on and grow,” said Coombs.
The move keeps the Rebels in the East Division where they look to continue their winning track record set the past three seasons and the mission for the team remains the same. “We have a responsibility to help our players not only become better on the ice, but also become better people as well. I think a big part of the junior hockey experience is being involved in the community outside the arena and it is a priority of ours to make sure that we as a team are involved. There is a bigger emphasis on that this season because we are in a new location,” said Coombs.
The Rebels will have the big task of fielding almost an entirely new team in 2018-19, which is thanks in large part to the 10 NCAA commitments from this past season. The Rebels have been at the forefront in the rise of NCAA commitments league-wide thanks to almost since dozen commitments since their arrival in the East. “The job that coaches and organizations in the NAHL are doing as a whole is tremendous. I think one of the reasons the number of commitments increases every year is because that is something we all work hard at and focus on. We as a team are also very proud of the type of schools our players are going to because not only are they realizing a dream of playing in the NCAA, but they are getting a quality education as well,” said Coombs.
The Rebels are expected to have only six players from last season’s roster. One of those key returners will be goalie Ryan Keane. The 20-year-old native of Lewisville, Texas, will be entering his third and final junior season. Keane was 2nd in the NAHL last season with a 1.90 goals against average and 3rd in wins with 24. He was also named to the NAHL All-East Division team and was named the East Division Goalie of the Year. Other key players returning to the team from last season include defensemen Carson Moniz and Seth Bergeron. Moniz led all Rebels blueliners last season with 30 points and Bergeron had six points in 50 games.
“We lost a lot of our core roster and we have a lot of spots to fill from last season because we did have a lot of players advance onto the NCAA this season. It is probably the most turnover a team of mine has had in at least three years. I think the leadership qualities we have in those players that are returning are really good and should help with the transition,” said Coombs. “I think we continue to keep doing what we have been doing because we have had success on the ice the last three seasons. The next step is getting over that final help and winning a Robertson Cup.”
Next up in the 24 in 24 series: Janesville Jets