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Esmark Stars

Esmark's Johns Tenders with NAHL's Amarillo Bulls

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U forward Brendan Johns has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The Bulls compete in the NAHL’s South Division.

The 18 year-old native of Greensburg, PA, led the Stars 18U AAA team in NAPHL scoring last season as he netted 17 points (9 goals and 8 assists) in 25 regular season games and added an additional point (1 assist) in four playoff games.

Overall, Johns finished as the U18 Stars second leading scorer as he tallied 48 points (22 goals and 26 assists) in 63 games played.

The 180 lbs., 6' 4" forward, also played for the U16 Stars during the 2014-15 season, recording 17 points in 20 NAPHL regular season games and five points in four NAPHL playoff games.

Johns was named to and played in the 2015-16 NAPHL 18U All-Star game and the 2016 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament.

"Brendan's ability to find the back of the net mixed with his size makes him a legitimate candidate for Junior hockey," said Stars AAA U18 head coach Dave Kosick. "He has a knack and understanding in the offensive zone to find the open space and when given the puck is a dangerous offensive option."

A tender is a contract a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team.

Johns is the second Esmark player to sign a NAHL tender for the upcoming season, as Caleb Ernst previously signed with the Johnstown Tomahawks.

Esmark's Ernst Tendered by Johnstown

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U forward Caleb Ernst has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Tomahawks compete in the NAHL’s Eastern Division.

Ernst, a native of Overland Park, KS, finished fourth in scoring in NAPHL play for the Stars during the 2015-16 season as he netted 14 points (8 goals, and 6 assists) in 25 games played. Overall, he tallied 25 points (8 goals and 17 assists) in 63 games played for the U18 Stars.

"Caleb is a big strong kid that has the size and game to do well as the NAHL level," said Stars AAA U18 head coach Dave Kosick. "Combine his size with his physical game and you have a prototypical power forward."

Ernst has been selected to participate in the 2016 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament, which takes place May 13-15 in Edina, MN.

"Caleb is a big, power forward-type player with big potential,” Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia said. “He is willing to battle for pucks and go to the net for scoring opportunities.”

“Caleb joined Esmark with a purpose … to give himself the best opportunity to make a Junior A club. He was driven and dedicated to that purpose and worked hard," Kosick added.

"He, like others before him, demonstrated that that if you put in the work, stay focused on your goals, and skate for a club that gives you maximum opportunity to be seen … you can make dreams come true."

A tender is a contract  a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team.

Star's Kucharski Drafted by USHL's Chicago Steele

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is proud to announce that goaltender Jacob Kucharski was selected by the Chicago Steele in the 2016 USHL Draft on May 3.

Kucharski, who skated for the U16 AAA Esmark Stars last season, was selected in the ninth round (pick #140) by the Steele.

In 14 regular season NAPHL games, Kucharski finished the NAPHL regular season with a 1.77 GAA and a .917 save percentage, including 3 shut-outs. Overall, in 32 games, he finished with a 89.56% save percentage and a a 2.41 GAA with 5 shut-outs.

"We were proud to hear that Jacob was selected in the USHL draft," said Esmark General Manager and U18 Head Coach Dave Kosick. "He garnered a lot of attention over the course of the season and it is good to see he has received some of the rewards for his work." 

Overall it was a successful season year for the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) at the 2016 USHL Draft, as 18 NAPHL players were drafted. That included six players drafted in Phase I on May 2, and 12 players drafted in Phase II on May 3. Over 40 NAPHL players have been drafted in the past two years of the USHL Draft.

The NAPHL, which will be celebrating its eighth season in 2016-17, is composed of Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the USA Hockey Tier I level. The NAPHL has proved over the years that this league is a great stepping-stone for development and training for young hockey players looking to gain experience and knowledge to work their way up to the National level. 

Phase I of the USHL Draft took consisted of 10 rounds for the “Futures” age players, which are all 2000 birth year players only.  This phase of the draft gives teams a chance to draft these younger players who may not necessarily be ready for the league that following season. This gives the players that have been drafted an opportunity to grow and develop while their respective USHL team still owns their rights as a player. Phase II of the draft, which took the next day, is a chance for all other age eligible players to be drafted with no ties to another USHL team. 

Stars Well Represented at NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) will play host to the 7th Annual NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament, May 13-15, at the Braemar Arena in Edina, MN.

80 of the top players in the NAPHL's U18 level will participate in a round-robin tournament, held in conjunction with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Robertson Cup Championship, which will crown the Junior A league's champion.

At the event, four teams representing four regions of the NAPHL – Central, North, South and West - will each play four games. Each team consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies) as chosen by the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament Selection Committee.  All the players in the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament came from teams that played in the 18U Division this past season.

Seven members of the 2015-16 Esmark Stars U18 AAA team were selected for the event.

Playing on Team South will be defenseman Ken Dee and Hunter Fraser; and forwards Caleb Ernst, Cam Williams, Michael Lamison and Brendan Johns.

Playing on Team West will be goaltender Tre Lowe.

In addition to both the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament and the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, there will also be a new North American Hockey League Future Prospects (NAFP) Combine during the four-day event. The Future Prospects Combine (FPC) is an innovative and unique event designed to provide exposure and education for hockey prospects that strive to play junior hockey in a premier league like the NAHL. The event will be for players born in 2000-2003 that will be introduced to and provided with a weekend that involves the 'NAHL Experience,' which will consist of competitive hockey, education of the future levels of hockey, academic preparation for NCAA hockey and exposure to professional, college, and junior scouts.

“The Top Prospects Tournament is a tremendous opportunity for our NAPHL players to play another high showcase event front of a great variety of scouts and coaches who will be attending this great event," said NAPHL Director Lucas Trombetta.

"We are delighted to once again be well represented in the Top Prospects Tournament," said Dave Kosick, head coach of the U18 AAA Esmark Stars. "This is another great opportunity for the selected players to showcase their skills and impress junior and collegiate scouts."

"Combined with the NAHL’s League Championship and our NAFP Combine, the return of the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament to the Robertson Cup Championships will add to an already exciting event," Trombetta added. "Statistics and history has shown that the majority of players who play in the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament each season end up with an opportunity at the higher levels of junior hockey in leagues like the NAHL.”

2016 NAPHL Top Prospects schedule:
Friday, May 13th: Central vs. North, 12:30 pm; South vs. West, 12:45 pm
Saturday, May 14th: Central vs. South, 10:30 am; North vs. West, 11:00 am; Central vs. West, 5:00 pm; North vs. South, 5:30 pm
Sunday, May 15th: Championship Game, 10:00 am; Consolation Game, 10:15 am

The event will be broadcast live on FASTHockey.

Former Esmark Star Dalesandro Commits to NCAA Div III Lebanon Valley

Former Esmark Stars standout forward Carmen Dalesandro has committed to play NCAA hockey at Lebanon Valley College to continue his academic and hockey development.  While currently an ACHA Division I school, Lebanon Valley will be an NCAA Division III team in 2016-17.

Dalesandro, a 20-year-old from Canonsburg, PA, has flourished under the umbrella of the NAHL.

He spent the past two seasons with the North Iowa Bulls, members of the NA3HL. Prior to coming to the Bulls, he spent three years in the NAPHL with the Esmark Stars / Pittsburgh Viper Stars. After the Stars he also saw some playing time in the NAHL with the Soo Eagles.

While with the Bulls, Dalesandro played 69 regular season games where he tallied 36 goals and 45 assists for 81 points.  In nine playoff games, he scored two goals and added four assists, three of which were at the 2016 NA3HL's Silver Cup National Championship, which North Iowa captured.

"Carmen is a heart and soul kid who plays the game like his hair is on fire, he is gritty but possesses the ability to change games with his offensive prowess too," said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden.

"He is a player we are going to miss ... his energy, tenacity, and love for the game are all things that will keep him on a successful path at Lebanon Valley College."

"Carmen is a high energy guy that instantly becomes a fan favorite," offered Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "We are very proud of him and wish him continued success at Lebanon Valley."

Former Stars help Ferris State to western finals

Former Esmark Stars standouts Trevor Recktenwald (F) and Jacob Hetz (F) helped lead their Ferris State Bulldogs team to within one game of advancing to the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, FL,.

The Bulldogs (20-14-6), who finished fourth in the WCHA's regular season, won the league tournament to claim an automatic spot in the 16-team NCAA field. They were seeded fourth in the Western Regional, held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN, and drew a first-round game against number one seeded St. Cloud State.

The Bulldogs upended St. Cloud State, 5-4, in overtime to claim a spot in the Western Regional finals, as Recktenwald assisted on Ferris State's second goal of the game.

The win advanced Ferris State to the championship game of the Western Regional, where they would face the second-seeded Denver Pioneers, who beat number three seed Boston University, 7-2, in the other Western Regional opening game.

The Pioneers would go on to capture the western Final as they skated to a 6-3 win and earned the western title and a place in the NCAA Frozen Four.

Both Hetz and Recktenwald, who are true freshman, have contributed to Ferris State's winning season, conference championship and their run towards college hockey's Holy Grail.

The Bulldogs played in their fourth regional final and were seeking their second trip to the Frozen Four following a national championship game appearance in 2012.

The Bulldogs fall to 1-3 all-time in regional finals after Sunday's matchup. FSU fell to Minnesota in the final eight in 2003 before topping Cornell in the regional final to advance to the Frozen Four in 2012. Two years ago, in 2014, FSU suffered a heart-breaking double-overtime setback to North Dakota in the regional title game.

Overall, FSU now stands at 2-1 in series history versus the Pioneers and beat DU 2-1 in their last meeting, which came in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Green Bay.

Both Hetz and Recktenwald skated for Dave Kosick's 2011-12 Star's team. Prior to the '11-'12 campaign, Recktenwald had skated for the U18 Stars in 2010-11 and the U16 Stars in 2009-10.

Following the '11-'12 season, Recktenwald tendered with the Johnstown Tomahawks and Hetz with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL. After a two-year sting with their respective NAHL clubs, both forwards committed to playing for Ferris State.

"I am so very proud of both Trevor and Jake and hope their run continues" said Stars founder and head coach Dave Kosick. "They truly exemplify what the Stars program is all about."

Both Hetz and Recktenwald completed their high school and amateur playing careers at home and that represented a unique turn for hockey in western PA.

"Before this, almost all players (excluding former Stars graduate Matt White, University of Vermont), had to leave the area prior to completing high school to get an opportunity to advance to the collegiate or pro level," Kosick offered. "But our model shows it can be done differently,"

Kosick added. "Western PA has had a good run of successfully moving players to the next level. Now we have demonstrated that it can be done from mite to midget in western PA, not just from players who leave the area to mature their games."

"Both Hetz and Recktenwald stayed true to the program motto ... that playing hockey is a journey that requires hard work and focus ... that playing a game is not a destination, but rather a stop on that journey ... and that the blood, sweat and tears they have invested will help lead them to the next step in that journey."

Three U16 Esmark Stars Tabbed for All-Academic Team

Dallas, TX - Three members of the 2015-16 Esmark Stars U16 AAA team have been named to the North American Prospect Hockey League (NAPHL) 16U All-NAPHL Academic Team for the 2015-16 season.

Antonio Binotto (Pine Richland High School), Christian Gorscak (Hempfield Area High School), and Ethan Webb (North Canton High School) were honored for their scholastic accomplishments.

"I am extremely proud of the three players selected,said program director Dave Kosick.

"While league rules only three to be honored, I am proud of all of our student athletes and their academic accomplishments. We nominated multiple players, more than league rules allowed, and I applaud their efforts both on and off the ice."

Players nominated by Esmark to the league for consideration for this award, must exceed a rigorous standard that not only includes accomplishment in the classroom, but also includes commitment to a high level travel program.

"Our players understand the commitment necessary to succeed on and off the ice," Kosick added. "We expect at the very least for them to meet, and honestly exceed, expected standards for their respective schools."   

To qualify for the All-NAPHL Academic Team, student-athletes must achieved certain academic standards, set by each program, during the 2015-16 school year and must have been nominated by a coach.

NAPHL Honors Three U18 Stars

Dallas, TX - Three members of the 2015-16 Esmark Stars U18 AAA team have been named to the North American Prospect Hockey League (NAPHL) 18U All-NAPHL Academic Team for the 2015-16 season.

Ben Friedland (Fox Chapel High School), Michael Lamison (Westmont Hilltop High School), and Max Milan (Baldwin High School) were honored for their scholastic accomplishments.

All three Stars players exceeded a 4.0 GPA and participate in advanced honors classes.

"We nominated more players than league rules allow," said program director Dave Kosick. "and while I am extremely proud of the three selected, I am also proud of all of our student athletes and their academic accomplishments.

"I applaud their efforts both on and off the ice."

Players nominated by Esmark to the league for consideration for this award, must exceed a rigorous standard that not only includes accomplishment in the classroom, but also includes commitment to a high level travel program.

"Our players have never asked for special dispensation," Kosick added. "Rather we expect at the very least for them to meet, and honestly exceed, expected standards for their respective schools."  

To qualify for the All-NAPHL Academic Team, student-athletes must achieved certain academic standards, set by each program, during the 2015-16 school year and must have been nominated by a coach.

Former Stars Goalie Commits to Div III School

If you put the work in, you will be rewarded for it. That’s not just a saying in everyday life, but it can also be used in sports as well. Goaltender Brian Baker told the NAHL's Amarillo Bulls Coaching Staff that he would come down to Amarillo and earn a chance to play. Baker has taken that opportunity and used it to not only play in several games in the seconnd half of the season, but to also springboard to the next level.

The Bulls have announced that goaltender Brian Baker has made his NCAA College Commitment to the University of New England, Division III (NEHC), in Henniker, NH, beginning this fall. 

“I was excited to come down to Amarillo and everything has been amazing,” he said. “I can’t describe how exciting this announcement is and how ready I am to start the next journey.”

Baker said he took the opportunity that was presented to him and has made the most of it. “Coach Nicholson wasn’t guaranteeing me anything down here,” Baker said. “I told him I would come down and work hard to earn a chance to play. From there that was it, I tried to put the work in and for that I got rewarded.”

Baker, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, has been on quite a journey, which began with his development in the NAPHL with the Esmark Stars.

"Brian was a hard working kid who challenged our staff to help him make it to the next level," said Esmark head coach Dave Kosick.

"We discussed how this game is a journey, not a destination. That those who continue to work and prove themselves will get the most out of every opportunity."

Baker was tendered by the Lone Stars Brahmas following his season with the Stars, but did not make the NAHL clubs final roster. So he returned to Pittsburgh and accepted a spot with the NA3HL's Pittsburgh Vengeance.

Following the season, and after discussions with Kosick, he decided to try out for the Kenai River Brown Bears where he secured one of the goaltending spots.

“To go up there and experience Alaska, which was probably the most beautiful place that I’ve been too,” he said.

“Then things didn’t work out there and I went back to Pittsburgh so I could get some ice time, and then the next thing Coach (Matt Nicholson) called and I am on my way to Amarillo.”

Baker has played seven games for the Bulls, including a stretch of four straight. He posted a huge win over the Odessa Jackalopes in his first game in a Bulls uniform. He played well in his other starts including most recently in a game against Wichita Falls.

Bulls Head Coach Matt Nicholson is thrilled for Baker and his commitment.

“It’s huge for Brian because he knows there’s a direction to go in and for sure a plan B where he can go to school and continue his hockey career,” he said. “The most important thing is that he can also get an education.”

Baker is like many young players in the United States that grew up with a dream to go to school and play NCAA hockey. Now that dream is a reality. “It means everything for me,” he said. “You grow up as a kid and everyone wants to play college hockey. For me it’s hard to put into words what the opportunity means to me.”

Esmark to host series of free skates

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, the oldest AAA club in western PA, is sponsoring a series of FREE pre-tryout skates for perspective players at the Bantam AAA (2003 & 2002) and Midget AAA (U15 - 2001; U16 - 2000 & 2001, and U18 - 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001) levels for the 2016-17 Esmark Stars season.

All sessions will be held at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena, located at 700 Craigdell Road, New Kensington, PA 15068.

The free skates will focus on individual skill development drills contoured to help players understand what is needed to make the transition to the next level of play; team drills designed to assist players in understanding team elements expected at each level; small area games; and scrimmages.

On-ice instruction from the Esmark Coaching staff will include: Yuri Krivokhija, Mark Hastings, Eric Tisdale, Derik Gaworski, Si Bishop, Dave Kosick and others.

 At the U13 (2003) level, free skate practices will include checking instruction and full contact instruction and assessment to assist players in identifying what is needed to make the transition from U12 (Pee Wee) to U13 (Bantam) AAA level of play.

At the U14 (2202) level, free skate practices will include instruction and assessment specific to the Bantam Major level, designed to assist players in identifying what is needed to make the transition to the U14 (Bantam Major) AAA level of play.

At the U15 & U16 (2001 & 2000) level, free skate practices will include instruction and assessment specific to the Midget U15 and U16 levels, all designed to assist players in identifying necessary understanding to make the transition to the U15 and U16 Midget AAA level of play.

And at the U18 (1998 - 2002) level, free skate practices will include instruction and assessment specific to the Midget U18 levels, all designed to assist players in identifying necessary understanding to make the transition to the Midget Major AAA level of play.

Sessions will also include off-ice conversation with Dave Kosick, general manager of the Esmark AAA Hockey program.

Founded in 1984, the Stars program has provided AAA opportunities on a local, national and international level for many of the area's top amateur hockey players for over 30 years!

If you are interested in joining the Esmark Stars family of programs or know someone that does, please forward and share information regarding the free skates.

For more information, please contact Dave Kosick (dwk@thekmagroup.com), Yuri Krivokhija (Yurik05@yahoo.com) or Ed Dalesandro (ed@endresultonline.com).

Saturday, March 26
Midgets (1999 - 1998) - 10:30 - 11:50 a.m.
Midgets (2001 - 2000) - 12:00 - 1:20 p.m.
U13s (2003) - 1:30 - 2:50 p.m.
U14s (2002) - 3:00 - 4:20 p.m.

Saturday, April 2
U13s (2003) - 10:30 a.m. - 11:50 p.m.
U14s (2002) - 12:00 - 1:20 p.m.
Midgets (1999 - 1998) - 1:30 - 2:50 p.m.
Midgets (2001 - 2000) - 3:00 - 4:20 p.m.

Sunday, April 3
U13s (2003) - 10:00 - 11:20 a.m.
U14s (2002) - 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m.
Midgets (2001 - 2000) - 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.
Midgets (1999 - 1998) - 2:30 - 3:50 p.m.

Former Star Named NAHL Player of the Week

Former Esmark Stars forward Anthony Parrucci helped his Johnstown Tomahawks club to a weekend split, Feb. 26 - 27, and in doing so was named NAHL East Star of the Week. This is the second time this year that he is been honored by the league with the player of the week award.

The native of Gibsonia, PA, Parucci had three points and was a +2 as he helped his club to a weekend home split with the Aston Rebels.  On Friday, Parrucci (6’1/200) had an assist on the lone Tomahawks goal in a 5-1 loss. On Saturday, he scored a goal and added an assist on the overtime-winner in a 3-2 win. For the season, Parrucci has 19 points in 49 games played.

“I could not be more proud of Anthony for now earning Star of the Week for the second time this season,' said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia. "He is the ultimate team player, as well as, ultimate individual. He has a work ethic that is second to none and brings everything he has to this team day in and day out."

"With the way our division is so tight players like Anthony have the ability to rise up in pressure filled situations because they have such a strong passion and desire for team success. He factored in almost all of our scoring over the weekend, and made a beautiful pass on our team's OT winner Saturday night.  This is a testament to his commitment and I am extremely happy for him.” 

Parrucci skated for the 18U Stars during the 2012-13 season and recorded 42 points (20 goals and 22 assists) in 72 games for the 47-16-5-6 club. Prior to that season, Parrucci skated for the U16 stars club during the 2011-12 season.

Dalesandro Receives NA3HL Honor

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) announced the Divisional Stars of the Week, as presented by Easton Hockey, for the week ending Feb. 14, 2016, and former Esmark Stars standout Carmen Dalesandro was selected as the Central Division Star of the Week.

Dalesandro, who skates for the first place North Iowa Bulls, helped his team to two more wins this past week as the Bulls closed in on the Central Division title. The veteran 20 year-old native of Canonsburg, PA, played well in road wins over La Crosse. In the Saturday game, an 11-0 win, Dalesandro recorded a hat-trick, added three assists and finished with a +4 rating. For the season, the former Esmark player, has accounted for 35 points in 32 games with the Bulls.

“Carmen is a player who has the ability to make plays and also is a physical presence for our team. He is a player we will need to be on top of his game for success during the remainder of the regular season and during the stretch run and during the playoffs,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden.

Dalesandro spent four seasons in the Stars program (U16 & U18) and was tendered by the then Soo Eagles of the NAHL.

The divisional stars of the week is an award given each week of the regular season to the top performing players in each of the six divisions of the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.

Ekberg Moves onto Youngstown of the USHL

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - The Youngstown Phantoms have acquired defenseman Carter Ekberg from the Janesville Jets (NAHL) in exchange for defenseman Sean Petrie. The deal was completed Saturday, Feb. 6, before the USA Hockey trade deadline for all American-based Junior leagues.

Ekberg, a McMurray, PA native, is a 1997 born right-shot defenseman. He played last season for the Esmark Stars U18 AAA team in the NAPHL and is currently uncommitted to a college hockey program. He started this season with the Des Moines Buccaneers and joined Janesville in late October.

“Carter is a regional kid coming from Pittsburgh, he is someone our staff has seen and knows well. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to draft him last year, but an opportunity presented itself to bring him in and hopefully develop him for the future,” Youngstown General Manager Jason Koehler said.

Ekberg skated two seasons with Esmark, 2013-14 with the 16U Stars and 2014-15 with the 18U Stars.  He was selected by the Johnstown Tomahawks during the 2014 NAHL season and then tendered by the Janesville Jets after the 2015 season. The Des Moines Buccaneers selected Ekberg during the third round (38rd overall) of the annual USHL Draft, that was held in May 2015.

Stars Shine at High School All-Stars Games

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program once again played a major part in the PIHL All-Star games as 19 members of the current U18 and U16 Esmark Stars clubs were selected to participate in their respective class All-Star games, played Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Brady's Run Ice Arena in Beaver, PA.

Members of the Stars 18U and 16U clubs selected at their various classes of high school play (AAA, AA and A Divisions) to participate, included; Class AAA - William "Tre" Lowe, Bethel Park, goaltender; Austin Martz, Shaler Area, forward; Joe Heubert, North Allegheny, goaltender; Jake McClelland, Canon- McMillian, forward; Zach Gielarowski, Peters Township, defenseman; Dawson Richard, North Allegheny, forward; Matt Amelio, Peters Township, forward; Class AA - Max Milan, Baldwin, forward; Ken Dee, Baldwin, defenseman; Brendan Johns, Greater Latrobe, forward; Noah Raymundo, Mars Area, defenseman; Beau Heakins, Mars Area, forward; Justin Adamski, Hampton, forward; Andrew Koziara, Hempfiled, defenseman; Ben Friedland, Fox Chapel, forward; Class A - Nick Carretta, Franklin Regional, forward; Michael Lamison, Westmont, forward; Billy Rapone, Greensburg Salem, defenseman; and Tanner Orr, South Park, forward.

In the Class A game, Esmark 18U's Tanner Orr scored Team Gold's second goal, as Team Gold and Team Black skated to a 3-3 overtime tie.

In the Class AA game, Stars 18U forward Ben Friedland had a game to remember as he scored 5 goals, including the game winning goal with two seconds remaining in regulation play, and added 1 assist, as Team Black skated to a 8-7 win. Fellow Team Black members Brendan Johns,18U forward, who earned assists on all five of Friedland's goals, Max Milan, 18U forward, 1 goal and 1 assist; Ken Dee, 18U defenseman, 1 goal; and Noah Raymundo, 16U defenseman, 1 assist, also registered points in the win. Andrew Koziara, 18U forward, and Justin Adamski, 16U forward, each picked up an assist for Team Gold.

In the night's final game, the class AAA game, Jake McClelland, 16U forward, recorded four points (1G, 3A) as Team Gold won 11-5. Also registering points for Team Gold were Matt Amelio, 18U forward, who scored a goal and added an assist, and Zach Gielarowski, who recorded an assist. Goaltender Joe Heubert played the final period for Team Gold. Team Black was paced by Austin Martz, U18 forward, who scored twice. Goaltender Tre Lowe played the final period for Team Black.

"The Esmark program is proud of the accomplishments of our players selected to participate," said Esmark Stars program coordinator and founder Dave Kosick.

"From the day I created this program, we have proudly stood behind the fact that our players have been free to participate with their various high school teams ... without repercussions and threats."

"We understand that our players who participate at the high school level get a chance to play in front of peers, family and friends, while wearing the crest of their high school ... and that is something we have never tried to prevent or take away."

Kucharski Selected as NAPHL Second Star - Goaltender

FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of January.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the fifth, and final regular season NAPHL event of the season, which took place at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI, Jan. 7 - 10.

Esmark Stars 16U AAA goaltender Jake Kucharski was selected as "second star - goaltender" in the 16U AAA Division at the event.

The 16-year-old native of Erie, PA, shined for Esmark during the event in Troy, as the Stars posted a 4-1-0 record and locked-up a playoff berth for the upcoming NAPHL Playoffs.

Kucharski, a 6’3", 187 lbs., netminder, got the start in three of the five 16U AAA Esmark games in Troy and allowed just two goals during that span. He stopped 53 of 55 shots he faced, good for a 96.36% save percentage, and picked-up two shutouts and one overtime shootout win.

He opened the event with a shutout against the New York Aviators, stopping all 13 shots he faced in a 7-0 win. The next day, he made 25 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over the Madison Capitols, to clinch a playoff berth for the Stars.  In overtime, Jake stopped the first three shooters he faced in a five-man shootout, allowing only a single goal, as the Stars scored three goals with their first four shooters to clinch the shootout win. In his third start at the event, Kucharski turned aside all 15 shots he faced to earn the shut-out and 9-0 win over the Philadelphia Little Flyers.

Kucharski, who split goaltending duties with Ty Barkley this season, appeared in 14 NAPHL league games, starting 12, and had a league record of 6-6-0-1, with three shut-outs. He finished the NAPHL regular season with the 7th best goals against average (GAA), 1.77, and the 8th best save percentage, 91.7%. 

"Jake played well in Troy ," said Esmark 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija. "He did his job and gave us a chance to win each game in which he played. The overtime win against Madison was huge and Jake came up big in the shoot-out."

Now in its 7th season, the NAPHL is composed of Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the Tier I level.  The NAPHL has established itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure. Not only have players in the NAPHL received recognition from NHL Central Scouting, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams. The NAPHL, which is sanctioned by USA Hockey, utilizes the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and is designed to maximize the exposure of all the participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events that attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.

Three U18 Esmark Stars Shine in NAPHL All-Star Game

Frisco, TX - The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) conducted their third annual NAPHL 18U All-Star Game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 8:15 pm, at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI.

The Esmark Stars 18U AAA club had three players selected and who participated in the event: forwards Jacob Friedland, Brendon Johns and defenseman Ken Dee.

The trio combined to score a goal during the game as Ben Friedland picked up a goal, with assists from both Brendon Johns and Ken Dee, that helped propel Team OT Sports to a 7-3 win.

Friedland, a 5'9", 160 lbs., senior at Fox Chapel High School, finished the NAPHL regular season tied for second in scoring for the Stars in NAPHL play with 16 points (3 goals, 13 assists) in 25 games. Overall he is currently the leading scorer for Esmark with 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 45 games played.

Johns, a 6'4", 180 lbs., senior at Greater Latrobe High School, finished the NAPHL regular season as the leading scorer for Esmark with 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) in 25 NAPHL league games. Overall, he is currently tied for second in scoring for the Stars with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 47 games played.

Dee, a 6'2", 215 lbs., senior at Baldwin High School, is a defensive specialist finished the NAPHL regular season with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 25 NAPHL league games. Overall, he currently has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in 43 Esmark games played.

The 18U All-Star Game was part of the NAPHL’s fifth and final regular season event of the season, which featured all 38 NAPHL teams, each playing their five final regular season games, Jan. 7-10, in Troy.

The All-Stars teams were named Team Easton and Team OT Sports, with each team consisting of 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders. Final roster decisions were based on a combination of the current NAPHL 18U standings, along with NAHL Central Scouting staff input based on nominations by coaches and scouting evaluations throughout the first three NAPHL league events.  Players that were considered for the 18U All-Star Game selection process were part of a group of players nominated by each of the NAPHL 18U head coaches in the league.

"We are proud of and happy for the three players selected," said Dave Kosick, head coach of the Esmark U18 club and Esmark Stars AAA Hockey General Manager. "I had hoped for a few more players, as we nominated several players who we thought deserved strong consideration, but I am sure each team in the league could say the same."

"Of the 40 players who played in last season's 18U All-Star Game, 28 were drafted, tendered or signed out of camp by NAHL teams," said NAPHL Director Lucas Trombetta. "Not only is the 18U All-Stars Game an opportunity for individual players to showcase their talents, but the game also brings our sense of camaraderie to the NAPHL by having the vast majority of our team represented in the game."

"Narrowing selection down to 40 players was incredibly difficult. At the end of the process, we at the NAPHL feel as though we selected an excellent group of players who will undoubtedly represent their teams and our league at a very high level."

All games at the event in Troy, including the NAPHL 18U All-Star Game, were broadcasted live over the Internet through FASTHockey.

Three U16 Esmark Players Tabbed for NAPHL All-Star Game

Frisco, TX - The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced the rosters for the third annual NAPHL 16U All-Star Game, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, 8:00 pm, at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

The Esmark Stars 16U AAA club had three players selected to participate in the event: forwards Christian Gorscak, Jacob McClelland and Alex Singley.

Gorscak, a 5'9", 155 lbs., 10th grader at Hempfield High School, is currently the leading scorer for the Stars in NAPHL play with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 15 games.

McClelland, a 5'10", 165 lbs., 11th grader at Canon McMillian High School, is currently the number two scorer for the Stars with 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 15 NAPHL league games.

Singley, a 6'2", 195 lbs., a 10th grader at Latrobe High School, is currently tied for third in team scoring in NAPHL league play with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 15 games

The 16U All-Star Game is a part of the NAPHL’s fourth regular season event of the season, which will feature all 38 NAPHL teams, each playing in five regular season games from Dec. 4-7 in Blaine.

The All-Stars teams will be named Team Easton and Team OT Sports, with each team consisting of 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders. Final roster decisions were based on a combination of the current NAPHL 16U standings, along with NAHL Central Scouting staff input based on nominations by coaches and scouting evaluations throughout the first three NAPHL league events.  Players that were considered for the 16U All-Star Game selection process were part of a group of players nominated by each of the NAPHL 16U head coaches in the league.

"I am very happy for all three players," offered Yuri Krivokhija, head coach of the Esmark U16 club.

"We nominated several players for consideration and were delighted to hear that three had been selected to participate in the game."

The NAPHL also announced that the two head coaches for the game will come from the ranks of NAHL teams, as Corey Millen, Minnesota Wilderness, and Kyle Grabowski, Austin Bruins, will each work a bench.

“The 16U NAPHL All Star Game is always a great event and the highlight of the weekend. The NAHL Central Scouting team of scouts has done a tremendous job tracking the league throughout the season and writing reports on our top NAPHL players,” said NAPHL Director Lucas Trombetta.

“Narrowing our All-Star Game selections to 24 forwards, 12 defensemen and four goaltenders was no easy task considering we have roughly 225 forwards, 110 defensemen and 38 goaltenders playing in the NAPHL 16U division.”

All games at the event in Blaine, including the NAPHL 16U All-Star Game, will be broadcast live over the Internet through FASTHockey.

Like it has the past three NAPHL events, NAHL Central Scouting is preparing to evaluate NAPHL players with a team of 8-10 scouts. NAHL Director of Player Personnel Craig Barnett will have a team of scouts with NHL, NCAA, and Junior hockey coaching and scouting experience in the stands evaluating and submitting reports that Barnett will organize and disburse to all NAHL teams as well as NHL teams and NCAA schools.

Esmark Goaltender Honored by NAPHL

FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of November.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the third NAPHL event of the season, which took place at the Iceworks Arena in Aston, PA, Nov, 13 - 16.

Esmark Stars 18U AAA goaltender William (Tre) Lowe III was selected as the top goaltender in the 18U AAA Division at the event.

"In their history with the NAPHL, Esmark has had a long line of goalies who have stood out, shined and gone on to advance to the next level. Current 18U netminder William Lowe III appears next in line," said league spokesman Alex Kyrias.

The 17-year-old native of Bethel Park, PA, shined for Esmark during the event in Aston, as the Stars posted a 3-1-1 record at the event to remain in solid playoff positioning.

Lowe, a 5’10, 170 lbs., netminder, got the start in three of the five Esmark games in Aston and allowed just three goals during that span. He stopped 62 of 65 shots he faced, good for a 95.38% save percentage.

He opened the event with a shutout against Wenatchee Wild, stopping all 12 shots he faced. The next day, he made 21 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over the Madison Capitols, who currently sit atop the 18U NAPHL Standings.  In overtime, Tre stopped the first three shooters he faced in a five-man shootout, allowing only a goal to the fourth shooter, as the Stars scored three goals with their first four shooters to clinch the shootout win. His final game, on Monday, may have been his best as he turned aside 29 of 30 shots he faced in a 1-0 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights.

Lowe currently ranks 3rd in the NAPHL 18U Division with a 1.36 goals against average (GAA) and is tied for 5th in save percentage with a 93.1% mark. Through three NAPHL events, his league record stands at 6-2-0-0.

Overall, Lowe's numbers are equally impressive. He carries a 12-4-2-0 record in 19 games played, with a 1.57 GAA and a 92.35% save percentage.

"Tre was highly recommended to me by his high school coach," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick, "who, like myself, has had his fair share of top flight goalies. The recommendation he gave Tre was sparkling, but perhaps more important ... spot on. Tre has played his backside off for us and given us a chance to emerge with a win in every game he has played."

"Going into the season, our number one question was whether our new goaltenders could continue the tradition we have built in the goalie position." Kosick said. "Both Tre and his playing partner, Joe Heubert, have stepped up and answered the challenge." 

Now in its 7th season, the NAPHL is composed of Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the Tier I level.  The NAPHL has established itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure. Not only have players in the NAPHL received recognition from NHL Central Scouting, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams. The NAPHL, which is sanctioned by USA Hockey, utilizes the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and is designed to maximize the exposure of all the participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events that attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.

Esmark Defenseman Honored by NAPHL

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of October.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the second NAPHL event of the season, which took place at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota from October 16-19, 2015.

Esmark Stars Defenseman Hunter Fraser was selected as the 18U AAA Defensive Third Star for his work at the Blaine Showcase.

Fraser scored one point in each game at the five-game event. tallying 2 goals and 3 assists, plus scoring the decisive goal in a overtime shootout victory.

A native of Grafton, MA, Fraser picked up an assist in each of Esmark's first three games at the league event, wins over Philadelphia Little Flyers (5-0), Thunder Bay Kings (5-1), and HC Dallas (4-2). He then scored a regulation goal in both the Stars fourth and fifth games, an overtime shootout loss to the St. Louis Selects (2-1) and an overtime shootout win over the New Jersey Titans (4-3), in which he also notched the game winning shootout goal for the Stars.

Overall in 10 NAPHL league games, Fraser has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists).

Former Esmark Defenseman Honored by USPHL

Congratulations to former Esmark Stars defenseman Brendon Zack who was named USPHL Elite defensive player of the week, Oct. 26, for his work with the Hampton Roads Junior Whalers.

Zack has helped guide Hampton Roads to an early season run (13-1-0) that has them at the top of the USPHL Elite South Division.  Zack has tallied 5 goals and 13 assists in 14 games so far this season.

Former Star Named NAHL Player of the Week

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending Oct. 11, 2015.  The Easton Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2015-16 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.

Former Esmark Stars AAA Midget 16U defenseman, and current Johnstown Tomahawk member, Adam Pilewicz, was selected as the East Division Star of the Week.

Pilewicz, 19, helped his club take three of a possible six points during a weekend road trip. The native of Sewickly, PA, had seven shots on goal and recorded four points during the three games against the Aston Rebels and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.

After being held off the scoreboard in a Friday night loss in Aston, Pilewicz (6’1/195) recorded an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Knights on Saturday. His best game of the weekend came on Sunday, when he had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 overtime win in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“Adam really came alive this weekend for us. As a first year d-man he has progressed each week improving his game and becoming more adjusted to this league. With some different situations occurring to our d-men, his role increased heavily this weekend and he ran with it. I am very proud of the way he elevated his game and I look forward to watching him continue to progress for us all season,” said Johnstown head coach Mike Letizia.

Pilewicz was a member of the 2012-13 Stars 16U team.

Stars Mourn Loss of Robin Trellis

The Esmark Stars AAA program is mourning the very sudden loss of Robin Berdahl Trellis, team manager of the 18U Esmark Stars team for the 2014-15 season and 16U Pittsburgh Viper Stars American team for the 2011-12 season, who passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Oct. 8.

She is survived by her husband, Dan, daughter, Claire, and son, Scott, who served as a goaltender on both the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Viper Stars Midget 16U American and the 2014-15 Esmark Stars 18U teams.  

Robin had also previously served as a board member of the former Pittsburgh Hornets Amateur Hockey organization and organized two USA Hockey National Championships held in Pittsburgh.  She had also served as team manager for several teams.

"Robin was a gracious women who served as a den mother to many players, coaches, and administrators over the course of the years," said Dave Kosick, program founder and AAA Coordinator of the Esmark Stars. "We are stunned and saddened by her sudden passing. The hockey community in western Pennsylvania has lost a bright light."

Services for Robin will be held at the Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside on Monday at 1:00 p.m. Visitation is scheduled for two hours prior to services, (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.).  Interment is private.

The family requests that contributions  in Robin's memory may be made to Planned Parenthood, 933 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or Doctors without Borders, 333 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001-5004.

Esmark Stars Mourn Passing of Pee Wee Stars Parent

The Esmark Stars AAA program is mourning the passing of Pee Wee Stars parent, Mary "Jennifer" VanSumeren who succumbed after a long battle with cancer on Monday, Sept. 28

Jennifer, as her friends and family called her, was the mother of Pee Wee Stars player William VanSumeren.

To honor both her life and her battle with leiomyosarcoma, all four Esmark Stars AAA teams will wear purple ribbons of support, the designated ribbon color for leiomyosarcoma, with her initials "MJV" for the remainder of the season.

"We want to share both our condolences and support for the VanSumeren family," said Stars Founder and Program Director Dave Kosick, "as well as share our continued support and prayers for those who continue to battle this horrible disease and those who have loss a brave fight against it."

The U18 Esmark Stars will honor Mrs. VanSumeren this weekend with a moment of silence prior to their game on Saturday, Oct. 10 against the Buffalo Saints and the unveiling of the helmet ribbons.

The family asks that any donations in memory of this amazing women be sent to the St. Gragory School, 115 Pine Street, Zelienople, PA  16063.

NAHL Recognizes two Former Esmark Stars

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced Divisional Stars of the Week, presented by Easton Hockey, for the week ending September 20, 2015 and two former Esmark Stars standouts, Brian Baker and Anthony Parrucci ,were each selected to represent their divisions.

East Division Star of the Week: Anthony Parrucci, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks

The Johnstown Tomahawks opened up their season with a pair of road games in the NAHL's new East Division. 20-year-old forward Anthony Parrucci helped the Tomahawks earn in a split in the two games and played well in both.

On Friday, Sept. 18, the native of Gibsonia, PA, tallied two goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist in a 7-3 win in Wilkes-Barre against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Knights. On Saturday, Sept. 19, Parrucci (6’1" / 200 lbs.) had one of the Tomahawk's two goals in a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Titans in New Jersey. Parrucci finished the weekend with a +3 rating.

“Anthony is a very good power forward. He has great size, great speed, but his compete level is what stands out to me. This weekend he showed he could play at this level and be a big time player,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.

Parrucci skated for both the U16 (2011-12) and U18 (2012-13) Esmark Stars.  He played last season for the Michigan Warriors of the NAHL.  He signed as a free agent with Johnstown after a strong showing at a Tomahawks Regional camp.

Midwest Division Star of the Week: Brian Baker, goaltender, Kenai River Brown Bears

The Kenai River Brown Bears picked up their first win of the season in a very tough place to win, Janesville, Wisconsin. Goalie Brian Baker, 20, was outstanding in both games as he faced a total of 77 shots and stopped 73 of them.

On Friday night, Sept. 18, the native of McMurray, PA, made 37 saves in a 4-3 overtime win. On Saturday, Sept. 19, Baker (5’10 / 152 lbs.) made 36 saves and allowed just a single goal in a 2-0 loss (empty-net). For the season, Baker has a save percentage of 92.5%.

“Brian has done an outstanding job throughout our training camp process and into the start of the regular season. He is playing with confidence and it showed this past weekend in Janesville as he gave us an opportunity to win each game. That is what we expect from our number one goalie,” said Kenai River head coach Geoff Beauparlant.

Baker manned the nets for the Stars during the 2013-14 season. He tendered with Lone Stars of the NAHL following that season and skated in the NA3HL (Pittsburgh Vengeance) last season. He signed with Kenai following a strong showing at a Brown Bears camp . 

The Easton Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2015-16 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.

Esmark Stars U18 AAA Announce 2015-16 Schedule

The Esmark Stars AAA club has released the 2015-16 schedule for the Esmark Stars U18 AAA Midget Major team.

The U18 AAA Stars ’15-’16 schedule is highlighted by their 25-game North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) League schedule.  The NAPHL schedule has the U18 Stars playing five games in each of five NAPHL showcases.  The top ten teams in the 19-team league will qualify for the league playoffs in Ann Arbor, MI, at the new USA Hockey rink (formerly Compuware Arena), Feb. 12 – 15, 2016.

The NAPHL league showcases include:

- NAPHL Showcase #1, Blaine, MN, Sept. 24 – 27, 2015
(New Jersey Titans, San Diego Jr. Gulls, Pursuit of Excellence, HoneyBaked, Rocky Mountain Roughriders)
- NAPHL Showcase #2, Blaine, MN, Oct. 16 – 19, 2015
(Philadelphia Little Flyers, Thunder Bay Kings, HC Dallas, St. Louis Selects, New Jersey Titans)
- NAPHL Showcase #3, Aston, PA, Nov. 13 – 16, 2015
(Wenatchee Wolves, California Titans, Madison Capitols, Long Island Gulls, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights)
- NAPHL Showcase #4, Blaine, MN, Dec. 4 – 7, 2015
(San Diego Jr. Gulls, Lockport Express, Washington Little Capitals, Omaha AAA, Pursuit of Excellence)
- NAPHL Showcase #5, Troy, MI, Jan. 7 – 10, 2016
(Rocky Mountain Roughriders, Pikes Peak Miners, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, Meijer AAA, Arizona Bobcats)
- NAPHL Playoffs/Championships, Ann Arbor, MI, Feb. 12 – 15, 2016

The U18 AAA Stars ’15-’16 schedule also includes three additional high profile tournaments/showcases.  These events include:

- Motor City Cup, Detroit. MI, Sept. 11 – 13, 2015
- Honeybaked / Compuware AAA Tournament, Detroit, MI, Oct. 2 – 4, 2015
- Mid-Winter Classic, Detroit, MI, Jan. 29 – 31, 2016

In addition to 23 regular season games against NAPHL teams, the U18 Stars will also face HPHL powerhouse Honeybaked AAA in the opening showcase in Blaine, and the Long Island Gulls, out of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League, at the Nov. 13 – 16 showcase in Aston, PA, in NAPHL league games.

The U18 Stars open their home schedule with a pair of games against the Wheatfield Blades, on Sept. 19 & 20 at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.  Opening face-offs are set for Saturday, Sept. 19, 8:10 p.m. & Sunday, Sept. 20, 9:50 a.m.

Additional home games include two-game visits from the Buffalo Saints, Oct. 10 & 11; Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Oct. 31 & Nov. 1; and Cleveland Barons, Feb. 27 & 28; as well as home game against the Pittsburgh Predators, Saturday, Jan. 2.

The Stars open both their overall schedule and their road schedule with a two-game weekend series against the Buffalo Saints, Aug. 24 & 25.

Additional away games include two-game weekends against the Wheatfield Blades, Oct. 24 & 25; the Cleveland Barons, Dec. 12 & 13; the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Jan. 23 & 24; and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, Feb. 20 & 21; and a single game against the Pittsburgh Predators at the Ice Castle Arena in Castle Shannon, PA, Jan. 3.

The coaching staff for the U18 Stars includes head coach Dave Kosick, assistant coach Yuri Krivokhija and goaltending coach, Derik Gaworski.  The team business manager is Wesley Chumney.

Game times, opponents and locations are subject to change.  For game times and additional information, please check the Stars webpage (www.pittsburghvipers.com).

Esmark Stars U16 AAA Announce 2015-16 Schedule

The Esmark Stars AAA club has released the 2015-16 schedule for the Esmark Stars U16 AAA Midget Minor team.

The U16 AAA Stars ’15-’16 schedule is highlighted by their 25-game North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) League schedule.  The NAPHL schedule has the U16 Stars playing five games in each of five NAPHL showcases.  The top ten teams in the 19-team league will qualify for the league playoffs in Ann Arbor, MI, at the new USA Hockey rink (formerly Compuware Arena), Feb. 12 – 15, 2016.

The NAPHL league showcases include:
- NAPHL Showcase #1, Blaine, MN, Sept. 24 – 27, 2015
(HC Dallas, Compuware, Thunder Bay Kings, Team Illinois, New Jersey Titans)
- NAPHL Showcase #2, Blaine, MN, Oct. 16 – 19, 2015
(NY Aviators, Pikes Peak Miners, HC Dallas, California Titans, St. Louis Selects)
- NAPHL Showcase #3, Aston, PA, Nov. 13 – 16, 2015
(Washington Little Caps, Arizona Bobcats, Rocky Mountain Roughriders, Everett Silvertips, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights)
- NAPHL Showcase #4, Blaine, MN, Dec. 4 – 7, 2015
(Rocky Mountain Roughriders, Meijer AAA, San Diego Jr. Gulls, TBD, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights)
- NAPHL Showcase #5, Troy, MI, Jan. 7 – 10, 2016
(NY Aviators, Pursuit of Excellence, Madison Capitols, Omaha AAA, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers)
- NAPHL Playoffs/Championships, Ann Arbor, MI, Feb. 12 – 15, 2016

The U16 AAA Stars ’15-’16 schedule also includes four additional high profile tournaments/showcases.  These events include:

- Motor City Cup, Detroit. MI, Sept. 11 – 13, 2015
- Honeybaked / Compuware AAA Tournament, Detroit, MI, Oct. 2 – 4, 2015
- World Hockey Invitational, Chicago, IL, Nov. 6 – 8, 2015
- Mid-Winter Classic, Detroit, MI, Jan. 29 – 31, 2016

In addition to 22 regular season games against NAPHL teams, the U16 Stars will also face two HPHL teams in the opening showcase in Blaine, as they square-off with both Team Illinois and Compuware, and a yet to be announced opponent at the Dec. 4 – 7 showcase in Blaine, MN.

The U16 Stars open their home schedule with a pair of games against the Wheatfield Blades, on Sept. 19 & 20 at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.  Opening face-offs are set for Saturday, Sept. 19, 11:00 a.m. & Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:10 p.m.

Additional home games include a two-game visit from the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Oct. 31 & Nov. 1; a single game against the Pittsburgh Predators, Jan. 2, 8:10 p.m.; and a two-game series against the Rochester Monarchs, on Sunday, Feb. 28.  All home games are at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

The Stars open their road schedule with a three game weekend into western New York Aug. 29 & 30 with a pair of games against the Rochester Monarchs, Aug. 24 (5:00 p.m.) & 25 (1:15 p.m.), and a single game slot against the Rochester Americans, Aug. 30, 9:15 a.m.

Additional away games include a three game weekend into western New York Oct. 24 & 25 to face the West Seneca Wings in a single game and the Wheatfield Blades for a pair of games; a single game against the Pittsburgh Predators at the Ice Castle Arena in Castle Shannon, PA, Jan. 3; a two game set against the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets in Columbus, OH, Jan. 23 & 24; and a two-game set in Philadelphia, PA, Feb. 20 & 21 against the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers.

Additional home and away games will be announced.

The coaching staff for the U16 Stars includes head coach Yuri Kroivokhija, assistant coach Dave Kosick and goaltending coach, Derik Gaworski.  The team business manager is Gary Gorscak.

Game times, opponents and locations are subject to change.  For game times and additional information, please check the Stars webpage (www.pittsburghvipers.com).

Esmark Stars U15 AAA Announce 2015-16 Schedule

The Esmark Stars AAA club has released the 2015-16 schedule for the U15 AAA Midget Esmark Stars team.

The U15 AAA Stars ’15-’16 schedule is highlighted with participation in eight tournaments/showcases.  These events include:

- SuperSeries AAA – Miami of Ohio Showcase, Oxford, OH, Sept. 5 – 7, 2015
- Motor City Cup, Detroit. MI, Sept. 11 – 13, 2015
- SuperSeries AAA – Prospects Showcase, Buffalo, NY, Sept. 25 – 27, 2015
- Honeybaked / Compuware AAA Tournament, Detroit, MI, Oct. 2 – 4, 2015
- Warrior AAA Tournament, Rochester, NY, Oct. 16 – 18, 2015
- World Hockey Invitational, Chicago, IL, Nov. 6 – 8, 2015
- Pittsburgh Viper Thanksgiving Tournament, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 27 – 29, 2015
- Mid-Winter Classic, Detroit, MI, Jan. 29 – 31, 2016

The U15 Stars open their home schedule with a pair of games against the Wheatfield Blades, on Sept. 19 & 20 at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena. Opening face-offs are set for Saturday, Sept. 19, 6:20 p.m. & Sunday, Sept. 20, 8:00 a.m.

Additional home games include two-game visits from the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Oct. 31 & Nov. 1; and the Cleveland Barons, Dec. 5 & 6; a round robin series Jan. 23 & 24 with the Potomac Patriots, Team Carolina and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite; and a single game against the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite on Feb. 6. All home games are at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

The Stars open their road schedule with a two game set against Wheatfield in Buffalo, NY, Oct. 24 & 25.  Game times are set for 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 25.

Additional away games include a four game round robin in Woodbridge, VA, Nov. 21 & 22 with games against the Skipjacks Hockey Club, Team Carolina and Potomac Patriots; and two game sets against the Cleveland Barons, Jan. 9-10; and Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Feb. 27 & 28.

The coaching staff for the U15 Stars includes head coach Mark Hastings, assistant coaches Zach Hepler and goaltending coach, Derik Gaworski.  The team business manager is Heather Ruffner.

Game times, opponents and locations are subject to change.  For game times and additional information, please check the Stars webpage (www.pittsburghvipers.com).

'03 Esmark Stars Announce Schedule

The Esmark Stars AAA club has released the 2015-16 schedule for the U12 AAA Pee Wee Major (2003) team.

The ’03 Stars ’15-’16 schedule is highlighted with participation in seven tournaments/showcases.  These events include:

- Honeybaked / Compuware AAA Tournament, Detroit, MI, Sept. 18 – 20, 2015
- Rochester Youth Hockey AAA Tournament, Rochester, NY, Sept. 25 – 27, 2015
- World Hockey Invitational, Chicago, IL, Nov. 6 – 8, 2015
- Pittsburgh Viper Thanksgiving Tournament, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 27 – 29, 2015
- Mid-Winter Classic, Pittsburgh, PA, Dec. 18 – 20, 2015
- SuperSeries AAA – Hershey Showcase, Hershey, PA, Feb. 14 – 16, 2016
- SuperSeries AAA – Shamrock Showcase, South Bend, IN, March 11 – 13, 2016

The ’03 Stars open their home schedule with a pair of games against the Amherst Knights, Saturday, Sept. 12, 6:20 p.m. faceoff & Sunday, Sept. 13, 12:15 p.m. faceoff, at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.

Additional home games include two-game visits from the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Oct. 31; Cleveland Jr. Jacks, Nov. 21, West Seneca (NY) Wings, Feb. 20, and Cleveland Barons, Feb. 27. All home games are at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

The Stars open their road schedule with a two game set against rival Cleveland Barons in Cleveland, OH, on Saturday, Oct. 3.  Game times are set for 9:10 a.m. at the Winterhurst Arena and 2:15 p.m. at the Barons Arena.

Additional away games include two game sets against the Syracuse Nationals, Oct. 24-25; Cleveland Jr. Jacks, Jan. 3; Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Jan. 9 & 10; Amherst Knights, Jan. 16 & 17; Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Jan. 30; West Seneca Wings, Jan. 31; and Sylvania Northstars, Feb. 6.

The coaching staff for the ’03 Stars includes head coach Ed Dalesandro, assistant coaches Alex Baskakov and Mario Dalesandro, and goaltending coach, Derik Gaworski.  The team business manager is Rachel Zupanc.

Game times, opponents and locations are subject to change.  For game times and additional information, please check the Stars webpage (www.pittsburghvipers.com).

Rickabauagh Drafted by Johnstown

The Johnstown Tomahawks selected Ty Rickabaugh, defenseman, Esmark Stars U16 AAA, during the fifth round (97rd overall) of the annual NAHL Draft, held on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Rickabaugh appeared in 22 regular season and playoff North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games for the 16U Stars during the 2014-15 season, recording 8 points (2 goals and 6 assists)  including 4 power play assists ... and 90 penalty minutes.

A senior to be at Westmont Hilltop High School, Rickabaugh will join Esmark U18 forward Jon Dagnal, who was tendered by the Tomahawks, and several other current and former Esmark players in battling for a roster spot with the Tomahawks at Johnstown's main camp.

A native of Sidman, PA, Rickabaugh was the final selection of Tomahawks during the league's annual draft.

"He's a tough, hard-nosed, gritty defenseman," Tomahawks head coach Mike Letitizia said of Rickabauagh.  "He has shown that he has the ability to compete at this level.'

"Ty has attracted attention from all of the top Junior leagues in North America," said 18U Stars head coach Dave Kosick.  "He has impressed both scouts and coaches in the OHL, USHL and NAHL.  His style of play not only opens the eyes of opponents, but also those of decision makers." 

Recktenwald Signs NAHL Tender with Aston Rebels

The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) have announced that goaltender Joseph Recktenwald has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Aston Rebels. The Rebels, who will take to the ice in the NAHL for the 2015-16 season, skated as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees this past season.

Recktenwald, 19, saw action in the NAPHL over the course of three seasons with the Stars organization. This past season, the native of South Park, PA, appeared in 13 NAPHL games, posting a record of 11-1-0-1 with a 2.15 goals against average, a 93% save percentage and one shutout.  He was named the 18U Peak Performer for goalies following his performance at the NAPHL leagues showcase in Troy, MI in January.  Overall, he played in 32 games and posted a 20-9-1-2 record with a 2.56 goals against average, a 91.53% save percentage, and two shutouts.

During the 2013-14 season, Recktenwald played in 14 NAPHL games, posting a record of 11-2-0-1 with a 1.80 goals against average, a 91% save percentage, and two shutouts.  Overall, he appeared in 37 games and posted a 26-7-2-3 record with a 2.06 goals against average, a 91.12% save percentage, and six shutouts.

For his NAPHL career, Recktenwald (155 lbs., 5’11") appeared in 30 career regular season games, posting a career record of 24-3-2 with a 1.86 goals against average and a 92.3% save percentage.

“Joey is a great pick-up for Aston," offered 18U Esmark Head Coach Dave Kosick. "Very much like his teammate David Polinski, Joey returned post grad to give himself the best opportunity to make a NAHL squad and has been rewarded for his dedication and determination."

"We built our Midget 18U team the past two season from the goaltender position out, and Joe has been a staple of both teams.  He teamed with Brian Baker two seasons ago and Scott Trellis this past season to give us as strong a goaltending tandem as you could find under USA Hockey's umbrella,” Kosick added.

“Joe has the perfect make-up for the goaltender position.  He does not get rattled, is a true student of the game and position, and believes and understands that the best "style" a goalie can bring to his team is simple … "do whatever is necessary to stop the puck."

"Joe's signing is another validation of the NAPHL and its purpose.  He is a young man who returned for another season of Midget AAA play in the NAPHL to afford himself the best opportunity to move on and play a high level of junior hockey. He truly deserved and earned the opportunity!” continued Kosick.

Recktenwald is the fifth player from the 2014-15 Esmark 18U team to sign an NAHL tender for this upcoming season, joining David Polinski (Minot Minotauros), Jon Dagnal (Johnstown Tomahawks), Carter Ekberg (Janesville Jets) and Adam Alavi (Wenatchee Wild).

Polinski Signs with Minot (NAHL)

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U forward David Polinski has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Minot Minotauros. The Minotauros compete in the NAHL’s Central Division.

Polinski, a native of Moundsville, West Virginia, collected 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 65 games for the Stars during the 2014-15 season, his second year skating for Esmark's 18U AAA club.  This included 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) in 27 NAPHL league games.

Polinski was also selected to and participated in the 2015 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament, held in Ann Arbor, MI in February. During that showcase event for the top players in the NAPHL, as selected by the league's scouting service, Polinski played very well for Team East and recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in three games as Team East completed the three game showcase undefeated.

During the 2013-14 season, Polinski recorded collected 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 57 games for Esmark.  This included 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 28 NAPHL league games.

“David is a great kid," said Esmark head coach Dave Kosick. "He returned to our club as a post grad this past season to give himself the best opportunity to make a NAHL squad.”

“He came back focused with a purpose … to make a Junior A club.  He was driven and dedicated to that purpose and worked his tail off. His work ethic and approach were simple in purpose … work twice as hard as anyone else and leave all you have on the ice."

"David has demonstrated that that if you put in the work, stay focused on your goals, skate for a club that gives you maximum opportunity to be seen … you can make dreams come true."

Polinski is the fourth player from the 2014-15 Esmark 18U team to sign an NAHL tender for this upcoming season, joining Jon Dagnal (Johnstown Tomahawks), Carter Ekberg (Janesville) and Adam Alavi (Wenatchee).

Des Moines Selects Ekberg in USHL Draft

The Des Moines Buccaneers selected Carter Ekberg, defenseman, Esmark Stars U18 AAA, during the third round (38rd overall) of the annual USHL Draft, held on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

Ekberg appeared in 24 regular season and playoff North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games for the Stars during the 2014-15 season, recording 26 points (6 goals and 20 assists), including 2 power play goals, 10 power play assists, 1 shorthanded assist and 2 game winning goals in those contests.

Overall for the 2014-15 season, Ekberg tallied 48 points (8 goals and 40 assists) in 65 games, including 2 power play goals, and finished the season with a +/- rating of +26 for Esmark, helping lead the Stars to an overall record of 40-19-3-5.

During the 2013-14 season, Ekberg, appeared in 24 regular and post season North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games for the Stars U16 team and recorded 17 points (7 goals and 10 assists), including 2 power play goals, 4 power play assists, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 game winning goals in those contests.

A senior at Peters Township High School, Ekberg was recognized by and received several honors from the NAPHL this past season.  These included: being named to the 2014-15 All-NAPHL midget major second team; named to the 2014-15 NAPHL All-Academic team (requiring student-athletes who must have achieved a minimum 3.75 GPA and certain academic standards for the 2014-15 school year); selected, along with Esmark teammates Adam Alavi and Scott Trellis, to participate in the league's Inaugural NAPHL 18U All-Star Game, held during the league's 18U Showcase in Troy, MI in January, where he recorded an assist for Team Blue; honored by the NAPHL as the first star, 18U Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's league showcases in Blaine, MN, Sept. 2014 and Romeoville, IL, in Oct, 2014; and selected to participate in the 2015 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he had three assists in helping lead Team East to the Tournament Championship.

During the 2013-14 season, Ekberg was named to the All-NAPHL midget minor third team; was named to the 2013-14 NAPHL All-Academic team (requiring student-athletes who must have achieved a minimum 3.75 GPA and certain academic standards for the 2013-14 school year); was honored by the NAPHL as the second star, 16U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's opening league showcase in Blaine, MN, in September; selected, along with Esmark teammate Kenny Dee, to participate in the league's Inaugural NAPHL All-Star Game, held during the league's third 16U Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN in December, where he recorded an assist in helping his Team Easton to a 6-3 win.

During the 2014 NAHL draft, Ekberg was selected by the Johnstown Tomahawks in the fourth round,  This past season, he was tendered by the Janesville Jets (NAHL).

Ekberg was of four Pittsburgh area players selected in the 2015 USHL draft.  Other Pittsburgh area players taken, included: Austin Lemieux, 9th round, 138th pick, Omaha Lancers; Luke Lynch, 15th round, 243 pick, Youngstown Phantoms; and Joe Dragonjack, 19th round, 307th pick, Youngstown Phantoms.

Esmark's Dagnal Signs NAHL Tender

The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Jonathan Dagnal has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks. The Tomahawks competed in the NAHL’s North Division this past season.

Dagnal, 19, has spent the better part of the last three seasons playing in the NAPHL, most recently for the Esmark Stars 18U team. The native of McMurray, PA, spent limited time with the Stars this past season, joining the team during the second half of the year.

In five regular NAPHL season games, Dagnal (6’1/190) recorded four points.  At the NAPHL Championship Series, he had three points in four playoff games.

Dagnal spent the other half of the 2014-15 season playing junior hockey, which included a short stint with the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks in the NA3HL. While with Cleveland, Dagnal had four goals in five games.

Dagnal spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 season with the Stars organization playing in the NAPHL. Dagnal played in the 2014 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament in Geneva, IL, for Team North, which won the event, and recorded two goals.  During the 2013-14 season, Dagnal skated for the Esmark 18U team in the NAPHL, where he had 14 points in 23 games played and recorded five points in five playoff games.

During the 2012-13 season, Dagnal played for the Stars 16U team in the NAPHL, recording 10 points in 18 games and four points in five playoff games.

Dagnal is the third player from the Esmark 18U team to sign an NAHL tender this season joining Carter Ekberg (Janesville) and Adam Alavi (Wenatchee).

Esmark Stars Announce Coaches for 2015-16 Season

Esmark Coaching Staff Announced

CLICK HERE for 2015-2016 Esmark Stars COACHING STAFF BIOS

 

Three 18U Esmark Stars Honored

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced All-NAPHL First, Second and Third Teams in the 18U division for the 2014-15 season.

Esmark Stars AAA U18 players Adam Alavi, Carter Ekberg, and Scott Trellis, were each named to the North American Prospects Hockey League 18U All-NAPHL second team.

Alavi, forward, appeared in 18 regular and 4 post season NAPHL games and recorded 35 points (13 goals and 22 assists), including 2 power play goals, 10 power play assists, and 1 game winning goal.  He finished the regular season as the eighth highest scorer amongst all players in the NAPHL, despite playing six less regular season games than the other leading scorers.  A resident of Peters Township, Alavi is a senior at Peters Township High School.  He has signed a tender to play for the Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) next season.

Ekberg, defenseman, appeared in 24 regular and 4 post season NAPHL games and recorded 26 points (6 goals and 20 assists), including 2 power play goals, 10 power play assists, 1 shorthanded assist and 2 game winning goals. He finished the regular season as the second highest scorer amongst defenseman in the NAPHL. A resident of Peters Township, Ekberg is a senior at Peters Township High School. He has signed a tender to play for the Janesville Jets (NAHL) next season.

Trellis, goaltender, appeared in 13 regular and 2 post season NAPHL games and finished the season with a record of 8-4-0-3, a save percentage of .943 in regular season play and .906 in post season play, a combined goals against average of 1.46 for both regular season and post season play and recorded 2 shutouts during the regular season. He finished the regular season with the second lowest goals against average and third highest save percentage in the NAPHL. A resident of Fox Chapel, Trellis is a senior at Fox Chapel High School.

Ekberg, was previously honored by the NAPHL as the First Star 18U Apex Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's opening showcase in Minneapolis, MN, in September and again for the league's showcase in Romeoville, IL, in October.  Alavi was honored by the NAPHL as the Third Star 18U Apex Peak Performer (Offense), for his performance in the NAPHL's league showcase in Omaha, NE, in November.  Likewise, Trellis was also honored for his performance in the NAPHL's league showcase in Omaha, NE, in November, as he was selected by the NAPHL as the Second Star 18U Apex Peak Performer (Goaltender).

All three players were also selected to participate in the inaugural NAPHL 18U All-Star game.

Consideration and selection was based on player performance in all NAPHL regular season and playoff games throughout the 2014-15 season.

"To be recognized as among the very best in a league of the NAPHL's stature," said Esmark Stars 18U head coach Dave Kosick, "is quite an honor." 

“I congratulate all three Esmark Stars players, as well as all other players selected, who were recognized for their efforts this past season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.

Now six years into their history, the NAPHL continues to raise the bar each season with more exposure for their players as they continue to strive to be the best Tier I youth league under the USA Hockey umbrella.

16U's Barney Honored by NAPHL

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced All-NAPHL First, Second and Third Teams for the 16U AAA level for the 2014-15 season.

Cole Barney, defenseman, from the U16 AAA Esmark Stars was named to the 16U All-NAPHL first team.  He appeared in 24 regular and post season NAPHL games and recorded 22 points (5 goals and 17 assists), including 2 power play goals, 5 power play assists, 1 shorthanded assist and 2 game winning goals.

A native of Fort Wayne, IN, Barney was a junior at Mars Area High School in Mars, PA.

He was previously honored by the NAPHL as the First Star 16U Apex Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's league showcase in Romeoville, IL, in October, and Third Star 16U Apex Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's league's second showcase in Blaine, MN, in December.  He was also selected to participate in the league's 16U NAPHL All-Star Game, held during the league's second showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN in December.

Consideration and selection was based on player performance in all NAPHL regular season and playoff games throughout the 2014-15 season.

"Cole deserved this honor," said Esmark Stars 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija.  "His attitude and play in each game was definable to all who watched our team,"

“I congratulate Cole and all those who were recognized for their efforts this past season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.

Now six years into their history, the NAPHL continues to raise the bar each season with more exposure for their players as they continue to strive to be the best Tier I youth league under the USA Hockey umbrella.

Six Esmark Stars Named to 2014-15 NAPHL All-Academic Teams

The Esmark Stars had three players from both its 16U and 18U teams selected by the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) for the league's All-Academic Teams for the 2014-15 season.

To qualify for the All-NAPHL Academic Team, student-athletes must have achieved high academic standards for the 2014-15 school year. Each member team was allowed to recognize a maximum of three players.

Esmark Stars selected to the NAPHL All-Academic 16U team, included: Ben Friedland, Fox Chapel High School; Max Milan, Baldwin High School; and Alex Singley, Latrobe High School.

Selected to the NAPHL All-Academic 18U team from the Stars 18U squad were a trio from Peters Township High School: Adam Alavi, Sam Barnes, and Carter Ekberg.

“The NAPHL and its member teams have continued to raise the standard of excellence and competition and this year was no exception,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.  “The players that we recognized have worked long and hard to achieve excellence and recognition both on and off the ice.

While the maximum number of players to be awarded per team was capped at three players per team, Esmark nominated  several more players at each level.

"I am proud of the fact that we was able to nominate so many players for recognition for this award," said Esmark program director Dave Kosick. "All of our nominated players have achieved in the classroom. This included several players who are carrying a 4.0 GPA or higher."

To qualify for the All-NAPHL Academic Team, student-athletes must have achieved high academic standards for the 2014-15 school year and must have been nominated by a coach.

Esmark Stars Tryouts - On-Line Registration is Open

On-Line registration for the Esmark Stars AAA Tier I program upcoming tryouts is now open.

To register for tryouts ... please click here

The Stars will hold tryouts at the U18, U16, U15, U14, U13 and U12 levels, beginning on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. All tryouts will be conducted at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.

The Midget Major and Midget Minor teams will again participate in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) and the Bantam (U14) team will again participate in the NAHL's Bantam Tournament Series (BTS)  designed to showcase today's stars for tomorrow's opportunity's.

In addition, all Esmark teams will continue to participate in the nation's top tournaments and showcases  all with "an eye" towards showcasing tomorrow's "Stars."

The Esmark Stars, Pittsburgh's oldest AAA program, will celebrate their 31st year of operation during the 2015-16 season.

Under the direction of Dave Kosick, who helped pioneer AAA hockey in the western Pennsylvania region ... from the original Pittsburgh Stars, to the Steel City Stars, to the Pittsburgh Viper Stars, to the current Esmark Stars  a nationally recognized program that is a member of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), the Esmark Stars will continue to provide the elite AAA hockey player the opportunity to compete on a national stage against the top Tier I teams in both the United States and Canada.

The NAPHL has quickly become one of the nation's top providers of elite hockey players to both the junior and collegiate ranks and the Stars have been proud to add to that legacy again this past season as two former Stars, Jake Hetz (Fairbanks Ice Dogs) and Trevor Recktenwald (Johnstown Tomahawks), both made commitments to attend and play for Ferris State University (NCAA Div. I).

Recktenwald and Hetz join several former Stars, including Matt White (University of Vermont and Indy Fuel of the ECHL) and Miles Liberati (drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013 NHL draft), who recently have successfully transitioned from the Stars AAA hockey program to the world of Junior A and Collegiate hockey.

This past season, both Adam Alavi (Wenatchee Wild) and Carter Ekberg (Janesville Jets) signed tender agreements with NAHL teams.

Could you be next?

For more information on tryouts, including dates and times, please click here or contact Ed Dalesandro at (ed@endresultonline.com).

Esmark Announces 2015-16 Tryout Dates

The Esmark Stars AAA Tier I program have released dates for tryouts for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The Stars will hold tryouts at the U18, U16, U15, U14, U13 and U12 levels, beginning on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. All tryouts will be conducted at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.

The Midget Major and Midget Minor teams will again participate in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) and the Bantam (U14) team will participate in the NAHL's Bantam Tournament Series (BTS), designed to showcase today's stars for tomorrow's opportunity's.

In addition, all Esmark teams will continue to participate in many of the nation's top tournaments and showcases, all with "an eye" towards showcasing tomorrow's "Stars."

Entering their 31st year of operation, the Esmark Stars, under the direction of Dave Kosick, continue to provide the elite AAA hockey player the opportunity to compete on a national stage against the top Tier I teams in both the United States and Canada.

Kosick helped pioneer AAA hockey in the western Pennsylvania region, from the original Pittsburgh Stars, to the Steel City Stars, to the Pittsburgh Viper Stars, to the current Esmark Stars  a nationally recognized program that is a member of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL).

The NAPHL has quickly become one of the nation's top providers of elite hockey players to both the junior and collegiate ranks and the Stars have been proud to add to that legacy again this past season as two former Stars, Jake Hetz (Fairbanks Ice Dogs) and Trevor Recktenwald (Johnstown Tomahawks), both made commitments to attend and play for Ferris State University (NCAA Div. I).

Recktenwald and Hetz join several former Stars, including Matt White (University of Vermont and Indy Fuel of the ECHL) and Miles Liberati (drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013 NHL draft), who recently have successfully transitioned from the Stars AAA hockey program to the world of Junior A, Collegiate and Professional hockey.

Could you be next?

For more information on tryouts, including dates and times, please click here or contact Ed Dalesandro at (ed@endresultonline.com).

 

Recktenwald Commits to Ferris State

The Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and the Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) have announced that forward Trevor Recktenwald has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Ferris State University in the WCHA, beginning next season.

Recktenwald, 20, is one of the Tomahawks leading scorers this season with 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in 44 games. His 24 assists are tied for the team lead, while his 14 goals and 38 points rank third on the team.

He was also selected for the 2015 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, but was unable to participate due to injury.

“I am extremely excited,” said Recktenwald, a native of Venetia, Pennsylvania.  “My whole goal of playing junior hockey was to be able to advance to playing D-1 hockey.  To see all that hard work pay off and to now have that opportunity is a surreal feeling.”

Recktenwald has nearly doubled his numbers from last season, when he scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 50 games.

Prior to joining the Tomahawks, Recktenwald played three seasons (2010-13) for the Pittsburgh Viper Stars (predecessor to the Esmark Stars) in the NAPHL.  He also played in the 2013 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament in 2013.

Recktenwald tendered with Johnstown during the 2012-13 season and joined the Tomahawks for the 2013-14 season..

“Trevor’s development over two seasons has been fantastic and he really deserves the credit. His preparation and intensity for both games and practices is second to none so it is no surprise that he has found success this year and garnered interest from multiple programs before choosing Ferris,” said Mike Letizia, head coach of the Tomahawks.

Recktenwald will join a Ferris State program that finished first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association last season.  The Bulldogs played in two of the last four NCAA Frozen Four tournaments, reaching the national championship game in 2011-12.

Coached by Bob Daniels (an NAHL alum himself) since 1992, the Ferris State program counts two-time Stanley Cup Champion and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Chris Kunitz  among its alumni.

“For them to have such a strong history and winning tradition there, that played a major factor in my decision.  The discussions I had with Coach Famulak and how much interest they showed in me help a lot, too,” Recktenwald said.

“The Bulldog staff and Ferris State University is not only getting a great hockey player, but also a fantastic citizen for their entire school. I am anxious to see how he finishes this season and what the future has in store for him,” said Letizia.

"I am so very proud of Trevor," offered Stars head coach Dave Kosick.  "He worked his tail off to get this opportunity.  Trevor has always had the raw skills and size, but he needed to dedicate himself to the day-to-day grind necessary to succeed at the AAA and Junior A level … and he has."

Recktenwald will join Stars teammate and alumni Jacob Hetz, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, at Ferris. Earlier this season, Hetz announced his commitment to the Bulldogs.

"Having both Recktenwald and Hetz committed to the Bulldogs team is a great accomplishment for both players and the Stars program as a whole.  These were not early commits offered on a hope and see approach.  They were earned by the work that both players have invested into their game at the junior level," Kosick said.

Six Esmark Stars Named to NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament

The 2015 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton, begins on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Six members of the 2014-15 U18 Esmark Stars were selected to participate in the two-day tournament, which will feature 80 total players from the NAPHL's 16 member teams.

Esmark Stars selected to participate in the 2015 Top Prospects event, include: Adam Alavi, forward; Brian Dee, forward; Carter Ekberg, defenseman; David Polinski, forward; Scott Trellis, goaltender; and Brendon Zack, defenseman.

Participants will be spread amongst four teams that represent the four regions in the NAPHL (Central, East, Great Lakes and West) and will each play three games during the showcase event.  The six Esmark Stars will all participate on the East team.

Each team consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies) as selected by the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament Selection Committee.

This season, for the first time, the 2015 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament will be played in conjunction with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament and the North American 3 Hockey League's (NA3HL) Top Prospects Tournament.

The event has quickly become one of the most highly-scouted events of its kind, with hundreds of junior, NCAA and NHL scouts and representatives expected in attendance this season.  With all three leagues under the NAHL umbrella showcasing their top prospects, it will make for an exciting week of hockey and provides a great opportunity for scouts and coaches alike to get a close look at many of the top talents in the three leagues.

For more information on the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament, including rosters and schedules, please visit (www.naphl.com/events/).

16 Stars Selected to PIHL All-Star Games

Sixteen members of the 2014-15 Esmark Stars program were selected to participate in the 2015 Pittsburgh Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) All-Star Games.

The games, which were played on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 at the RMU Island Sports Center, pitted top players form western PA high school rosters as selected by Varsity head coaches within the PIHL.

Esmark Stars selected to participate in the 2015 PIHL All-Star games included: Class AAA - Christian Louria, defenseman, junior, North Allegheny High School; Alex Crilley, forward, junior, Seneca Valley High School; Adam Alavi, forward, senior, Peters Township High School; Carter Ekberg, defenseman, senior, Peters Township High School; Class AA - Brian Dee, forward, senior, Baldwin High School; Max Milan, forward, junior, Baldwin High School; Ethan Homitz, forward, senior, Hampton High School; Austin Martz, forward, junior, Shaler High School; Brendan Johns, forward, junior, Greater Latrobe High School; Ben Friedland, forward, junior, Fox Chapel High School; Jonny Rice, forward, junior, Fox Chapel High School; Class A - Beau Heakins, forward, junior, Mars High School; Thomas Kimmick, forward, senior, Thomas Jefferson High School; Vincent Casale, forward, senior, Deer Lakes High School; Andrew Koziara, forward, junior, Hempfield High School; Division 2 - James Unger, defenseman, senior, Carrick High School.

"We congratulate all the Esmark, and non-Esmark players, selected to participate in the high school All-Star games," said Dave Kosick, coordinator of the Esmark Stars AAA program.

"The Stars have a proud tradition over the past 30 plus years, of not preventing member players to participate in high school play while playing AAA hockey," Kosick continued.  "The opportunity to pull on a school sweater and play in front of fellow classmates is something we have chosen to not deny,"

Recktenwald Selected NAPHL Peak Performer

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) announced that Esmark Stars 18U goaltender Joe Recktenwald, has been named the 18U Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer - Goaltender for the month of January.  The league's Peak Performers (offense, defense and goaltender) were selected based on the their performance at the NAPHL's fifth and final regular season event of the season, which took place at the Troy Sports  Center in Troy, MI, Jan. 16 - 19, 2015.

A big part of the Star's number #1 ranked defense in the 18U division is their goaltending tandem and that was the case again at the Troy event thanks in large part to Recktenwald.  The native of South Park, PA, played in three of Esmark's five games during the event and won all three, allowing just four goals in the process.  Recktenwald (5'11" / 155 lbs.) turned aside 90 of the 94 shots he faced at the event, good for a 95.7% save percentage and a 1.33 goals against average.

Recktenwald began the event by recording 23 saves in a 5-1 win over HC Dallas.  The following day he made 31 saves in a 3-2 win over the 18U division-leading Madison Capitols.  He closed out the showcase on the final day with a NAPHL season-high 36 saves in a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.

Recktenwald's performance helped the Stars secure a tie for second place in the final league standings.  He and fellow goaltender Scott Trellis backstopped the Stars to a league best 44 goals against in 24 NAPHL games (1.83 GAA) during the regular season.

“He had an outstanding weekend," offered Esmark U18 Head Coach Dave Kosick.  "This was nothing new for Joey.  For two seasons, he has provided the 18U team with a comfort level knowing that we have one of the best goalies in the country in between the pipes for us."

NAHL Event Scouting Report on Recktenwald: “A very agile goalie who plays the angles well and competes hard.  Plays with confidence and his team builds off that.  Gave his team a chance each game he played in during the weekend.”

Esmark 16U defenseman Matts Thielemann was selected as the 16U Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer - Defense second star for the Troy event.  The newcomer from Highland Ranch, CO, didn't have to wait long to add to the Star's defensive legacy as he helped the Stars to a 4-1-0-0 showing and helped them secure fourth place and a spot in the NAPHL's Championship Series scoring 5 points (3G, 2A) in five games.

The NAPHL is comprised of five regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top eight teams in each division compete for a league championship. The sixth and final NAPHL event of the 2014-15 season is the NAPHL Championship Series which will take place from Feb. 13-16, 2015 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan. The event will feature all 32 NAPHL teams (16 U16 and 16 U18 squads).

Baker Named to NA3HL's Top Prospects Field

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced rosters for next month’s NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton.

Former Esmark Stars standout goaltender Brian Baker was selected as one of two goaltenders for the Team East roster.  The 6'0", 155 lbs. goalie from McMurray, PA, helped lead the Esmark Stars to the NAPHL's Championship game last season before signing a tender agreement with the Lone Stars Brahmas of the NAHL.

This season, Baker has backstopped the Pittsburgh Vengeance to first place in the NA3HL East Division, posting a 15-2-0-1 record in 18 games with a 2.03 GAA and a .920 save percentage

120 players from the NA3HL were selected for the Top Prospects Tournament and spread amongst six teams, who will play in two games each during the event.  The event will feature teams that represent the five divisions in the NA3HL: Central, East, Frontier South and West, along with a league-wide NA3HL 18U Selects Team.

The number of players each NA3HL team is sending to the tournament to field the five teams representing each of the leagues five NA3HL divisions: Central, East, Frontier, South and West, were based on each team’s winning percentage within their division as of Jan. 22, 2015.  In addition, a sixth team, NA3HL 18U Selects, will participate in the event.

Each of the Top Prospects teams consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies) as chosen by the NA3HL Competition Committee and the NAHL’s Central Scouting Department and as nominated by the league's 31 head coaches. All junior eligible NA3HL players were eligible for selection to the Top Prospects Tournament.

The final roster was selected by the League Office in consultation with the NA3HL Competition Committee and the NAHL’s Central Scouting Department.  NAHL Coaches will be assigned to coach the 18U Selects.

The NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament will be played in conjunction with the North American Hockey League's (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament, and the North American Prospects Hockey League's (NAPHL) Top Prospects Tournament.

The Top Prospects Tournament event has quickly become one of the most highly-scouted events of its kind, with hundreds of junior, NCAA and NHL teams expected in attendance this season. Combined with the NAHL and NAPHL Top Prospects Tournaments, this year's event promises to provide an exciting week of hockey and a great opportunity for scouts and coaches from the NHL, NCAA and  other leagues.

For more information on the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, please visit: (www.na3hl.com/tpt).

Recktenwald Named to NAHL's Top Prospects Field

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the rosters for next month’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, presented by Easton.

Former Esmark Stars standout forward Trevor Recktenwald was selected as a member of the North Division roster.  The 6'2", 205 lbs. power forward from Venetia, PA, skated for the Stars from 2009-2012.  He signed a tender offer with the Tomahwks following his second season with the Stars midget major 18U team.

This season, Recktenwald is tied for the scoring lead with the Tomahwks with 32 points (13 G, 18 A) in 38 games played.

The number of players each NAHL team is sending to the event, in which four teams from the four NAHL divisions: Central, Midwest, North and South and a special fifth NAHL Selects team, will each play in two game games, was based on each team’s winning percentage within their group as of Jan. 18, 2015.

Only those NAHL players without an NCAA commitment at the time of selection are eligible to participate in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, with the exception of those who will be playing on the NAHL Selects team.  Each of the teams consists of a 20-man roster (12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goaltenders).

In a very short period of time, the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament has become one of the most highly-scouted events of its kind.  Last season, over 180 scouts attended the event, which featured almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school.  Over a third of the players that competed in last year’s event ended up with an NCAA Division I opportunity.

This year's event promises to provide an exciting week of hockey and a great opportunity for scouts and coaches from the NHL, NCAA and  other leagues, as all three member leagues of the NAHL family (NAHL, NAPHL and NA3HL) hold their Top Prospects Tournaments.

For more information on the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, visit (www.nahl.com/tpt).

14U Esmark Stars Capture NAPHL Futures Tournament

Go Undefeated at Troy Showcase

The 14U AAA Esmark Stars emerged as champions of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Bantam Tournament Series (BTS) going 5-0-0 at the "Futures Tournament" in Troy, MI, Jan. 16 - 18, 2015.

The Stars opened play with a 9-2 win over the Texas Jr. Brahma's as Billy Rapone (2G, 2A) and Gavin Morrison (2G) each scored twice.  Matt Weber (1G, 2A), Jared Schmizzi (1G, 1A), Andrew Wells, Nick Koziara, and Christian Gorscak each added a goal.  Dawson Sciarrino (2), Nicholas Carretta (2), Brendan Crousey, Giovanni Romeo, Samuel Stites and Chazz Knoche all picked up assists.  Zach Welker earned the win in goal turning aside 8 of 10 Texas shots.

In the second game of the tournament, the Stars hooked up with Hockey Club Dallas for their forth meeting of the season.  The Stars and HC Dallas previously met twice at the NAPHL Futures Tournament in Blaine, MN, splitting the two games, which ultimately prevented the Stars from playing for the championship in the Blaine event.  In Troy, another hard fought game was not finalized until the last two
seconds of the game, as Giovanni Romeo found the net, unassisted, with two ticks left on the clock to give the Stars a 2-1 win.  Matthew Weber had staked the Stars to a 1-0 lead with a power play goal early in the first.  The Stars defense played an outstanding game and goaltender Nolen Feree stopped 14 of 15 shots to earn the win in goal.

The Stars clinched a spot in the tournament championship game with a convincing 11-0 win over the West Coast Renegades in game three of the event.  Christian Gorscak (3G) led the way offensively as he tallied a hat-trick.  Nicholas Solema (2G), Nocholas Caretta (1G, 3A), Justin Adamski (1G, 1A), Andrew Wells (1G, 1A), Dawson Sciarrino, Nick Koziara, Chazz Knoche also scored.  Jared Schimizzi (4A), Billy Rapone (2A), Sam Stites (2A), Matthew Weber and Dylan Culbertson earned assists.  Zach Welker earned his second win of the tournament in goal.

Game four of round-robin play saw the Stars square off with a tough Omaha AAA team in a preview of the championship game to come.  The Stars skated to a 2-0 lead after two periods as Justin Adamski scored a power play goal late in the first period, with assists from Blake Rossi and Nicholas Solema, and Brendan Crousey scored an unassisted goal six minutes into the second period.  Omaha mounted a furious comeback in the third period and knotted the score with a power play goal with a little over three minutes remaining in regulation.  The game ended in a tie and went to a shootout. A tense back and forth shootout ensued with both goaltenders making save after save until the Stars Billy Rapone iced the game, 3-2, with a final tally.  Zach Welker earned his third win of the tournament in goal.

The NAPHL BTS Series Championship game was a rematch of the Stars and Omaha AAA.  After a scoreless first period, the Stars exploded for four unanswered goals in the second period.  Justin Adamski opened the scoring with a power play goal, 19 seconds into period 2, as Sam Stites and Blake Rossi picked up assists.  Rossi, picked up a power play goal of his own at the 10:45 mark of period 2 to push the lead to 2-0.  Jared Schmizzi earned the lone assist.  A little over a minute later (11:48 of period 2), Christian Gorscak stretched the lead to 3-0 with assists from Nicholas Carretta and Andrew Wells.  Nicholas Solema closed the scoring in the second period and extended the Stars lead to 4-0 with a goal at 14:43.  Schmizzi earned his second assist of the game.  Omaha scored two goals a little over two minutes apart early in the third period (3:01 and 5:07) to cut the Stars lead to 4-2.  But Oldrich Virag fired home a empty net goal to push the Stars lead to 5-2 at 15:05 of the third.  Brendan Crousey closed out the scoring, 6-2, as he collected an unassisted, empty net, short-handed goal at 15;44.  Nolen Ferree turned aside 23 of the 25 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.

 

Stars Alavi Tenders with NAHL's Wenatchee

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U forward Adam Alavi has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Wenatchee Wild.  The Wild compete in the NAHL’s South Division.

Alavi, 18, has played in the NAPHL for the past three seasons and the past two years for the 18U Stars team.  He just wrapped up the 2014-15 NAPHL regular season, which statistically was his best as the native of McMurray, PA, scored 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in just 18 league games played.

During the last NAPHL regular season event, which was just completed in Troy, Alavi racked up six points (all assists) as the Stars went 4-1. He also played in the inaugural 2015 NAPHL All-Star Game for Team Blue.

Alavi (6’0" and 180 lbs.) helped the Stars to a regular season tie for 2nd place in the 18U Division this season with 38 points.

In 64 career NAPHL regular season games, Alavi has 82 points. He was one of the standout players during the 2014 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament as he recorded six points in the four games played.

Alavi is the second player from the Esmark Stars to sign an NAHL tender this season, joining teammate Carter Ekberg (Janesville Jets).

Former Star Hetz Commits to NCAA Division I Ferris State

Danny Martin, Fairbanks News Miner

It just took a conversation with a Ferris State University assistant coach for former Esmark Stars and current Fairbanks Ice Dogs (NAHL) Jacob Hetz to verbally commit to the NCAA Division I program and member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

“As soon as I talked to him, I knew that I really wanted to go to that school,’’ the 19-year-old left wing, said of Ferris State, located in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Hetz was offered a scholarship on a Sunday night from Ferris State. He discussed it Monday morning with his parents before making his decision about 15 minutes before a Ice Dogs’ practice at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks.

The 6-foot-1 and 195-pound native of Pittsburgh, graduate of Shaler Area High School, also was impressed with the recent history of the Bulldogs program.

Ferris State played in the Division I national championship game in 2012, when it was a member of the old Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The Bulldogs captured the WCHA regular-season title last season and reached the championship game of the WCHA Final Five tournament.

“It’s obviously a great program,’’ Hetz said, “and it’s got a great culture behind it.”

Hetz has 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 points in 37 games this season for the Ice Dogs, ranking him as the team’s third-leading scorer and putting him in a five-way tie for fourth place among the NAHL’s leading scorers.

“He’s a bigger body as a forward; he skates hard; and he has a knack for being around the net,’’ Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart, during a cellphone interview Tuesday, said of reasons that Ferris State was attracted to Hetz.

“I think he’s going to be a good fit for them moving forward,’’ Stewart added.

Hetz joins the hundreds of success stories in the now six-year history of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) of players who developed in the NAPHL, moved onto the NAHL and ultimately ended up with an NCAA Division I opportunity.

In Hetz’s case, he followed a familiar path to this success. Hetz played for the Pittsburgh-based Esmark Stars 18U team in the NAPHL during the 2011-12 season. He had a standout season that year for the Stars, who finished first overall in the 18U Division that season and saw their top six scorers all end up playing in the NAHL.

Hetz also played in the 2012 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament in Frisco, TX, which was followed-up by Hetz signing an NAHL tender with Fairbanks.

NAPHL Announces 18U All-Stars

Three U18 Esmark Stars Selected

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announce the rosters for the inaugural NAPHL 18U All-Star Game to be held on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, 7:15pm, at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan.

Esmark's Adam Alavi, forward, Carter Ekberg, defenseman, and Scott Trellis, goaltender, were selected by the NAPHL to represent Esmark in the game.

The number of players represented by each NAPHL 18U team was based on each team’s winning percentage in the NAPHL 18U standings as of Dec. 9, 2014.  The Madison Capitols and Anaheim Ducks were each awarded four players; while the Esmark Stars, Omaha AAA, New Jersey Jr. Titans, Lansing Capitals, HC Dallas and California Titans each had three players tabbed; the St. Louis Selects, San Jose Jr. Sharks, Pursuit of Excellence, Pikes Peak Miners, West Michigan Hounds and Arizona Bobcats, each received two players; and the Minnesota Revolution and Philadelphia Little Flyers each had one player named.

The 18U All-Star Game is a part of the NAPHL’s fifth and final regular season event of the season, which will feature all 32 NAPHL teams, each playing in five regular season games from Jan. 16-19 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI. The event will also see the continuation of the Bantam Tournament Series (BTS), which features the Esmark Stars U14 team.

Players that were considered for the 18U All-Star Game selection process were nominated by each of the NAPHL's 18U head coaches. The NAPHL staff then selected the teams, with additional input and consultation from Coordinator of Player Personnel Craig Barnett and the NAPHL Event Scouting System.

“We have had an overwhelming and positive response from the 16U All-Star Game the past two seasons from everyone involved, which made the decision to add an 18U All-Star Game an easy one,” said NAHL and NAPHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The game will showcase some of the best 18 and under hockey talent in the Nation and we continue to maintain our commitment to our teams that each club has fair representation at the event based upon their performance to date.”

All games at the event in Troy, including the NAPHL 18U All-Star Game, will be broadcast live over the Internet through FASTHockey.

Like it has the past four NAPHL events, the NAHL Event Scouting System will continue in Troy. The Event Scouting System is lead by Craig Barnett, Coordinator of Player of Personnel for both the NA3HL and NAPHL. Barnett’s primary role is to coordinate the scouting at all NA3HL and NAPHL events, and to promote player advancement and to supply information to NAHL, NCAA and other junior and collegiate coaches.

Stars Defenseman Honored for Play in Blane, MN

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of December.  The players were selected based on the their performance at the NAPHL's forth event of the season, which took place in Blaine, MN, Dec. 5 - 8, 2014.

Esmark Stars defenseman Nic Allen, was named the 16U Apex Peak Performer - Defenseman for the event.

Fellow Esmark defenseman Cole Barney was selected  as the third star - defenseman for the same showcase.  Barney was selected first star for his performance at the league's showcase in Romeoville, IL, Oct. 17-20, 2014.

“Nic had a nice opening weekend with us in Blaine," offered Esmark U16 Head Coach Yuri Krivokhija.  "As a team we focused on playing stronger on the defensive side of the ice and Nic and the rest of the defensive group helped us to a successful event."

Seeing his first action of the season for the Esmark 16U team, Allen, 16, a junior at Warren High School in Warren, PA, made an immediate impact on the club in Blaine as the Stars kept pace with the leaders in the 16U playoff race with a 4-1-0-0 record.

The native of Russell, PA, managed to register at least a point in four of the five games and totaled six points, including one goal and five assists. Allen (165 lbs., 5’9") began the event with a goal and an assist in a 8-3 win over San Jose.  Later that day, he recorded two assists in a 7-2 win over Pikes Peak.  He did not register a point in Esmark’s lone loss, a 3-2 decision to Pursuit of Excellence.  He finished the event by picking up assists in wins over both Arizona and Green Bay. 

NAHL Event Scouting Report on Allen: “Played well in his first event and showed a lot of poise with the puck. Able to contribute offensively and adds depth to an already strong defensive line-up.”

The NAPHL is comprised of five regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top teams in each division compete for a league championship. The fifth NAPHL event of the 2014-15 season will take place from Jan. 16-19, 2015 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan. The event will feature all 32 NAPHL teams (16 U16 and 16 U18 squads).

NAPHL Announces U16 All-Star Teams

Three Esmark Stars U16 Selected

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced rosters for the second annual NAPHL 16U All-Star Game to be held on Sunday, Dec 7, at 7:15 p.m. at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

The 16U All-Star Game is a part of the NAPHL’s fourth regular season event of the season, which will feature all 32 NAPHL teams (U18 and U16) playing five regular season games.  The event will also see the debut of the Bantam Tournament Series (BTS), which includes the Esmark Stars U14 AAA team.

The number of players selected by the NAPHL to represent each NAPHL 16U team was based on each team’s winning percentage in NAPHL standings as of Oct. 21.  Omaha AAA and the Anaheim Ducks were each awarded four players, while the Arizona Bobcats, Pursuit of Excellence, Lansing Capitals, St. Louis Selects, Madison Capitols and Esmark were each awarded three selections; while San Jose, New Jersey, Everett, HC Dallas, California, Pikes Peak and West Michigan each had two players selected from their respective rosters.

Esmark defenseman Cole Barney, and Forwards Ben Friedland and Cam Williams, were selected by the NAPHL to participate for Team Blue in the event.

Players considered for the 16U All-Star Game selection process were nominated by each of the NAPHL 16U head coaches. The NAPHL staff then selected the teams, with additional input and consultation from Coordinator of Player Personnel Craig Barnett and the NAPHL Event Scouting System.

“We had an overwhelming and positive response from last year’s inaugural All-Star Game from everyone involved, which made the decision to continue it this season an easy one,” said NAHL and NAPHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld.  “The game will showcase some of the best 16 and under hockey talent in the Nation and we continue to maintain our commitment to our teams that each club has fair representation at the event based upon their performance to date.”

The NAPHL is also pleased to announce that two head coaches from the NAHL will be behind the benches for the 16U All-Star Game. Coaching Team Blue will be Geoff Beauparlant, head coach of the NAHL’s Kenai River Brown Bears. Coaching Team White will be AJ Degenhardt, head coach of the NAHL’s Coulee Region Chill.

Polinski Selected Top Performer

NAPHL Honors Esmark Forward

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of November.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the third NAPHL event of the season, which took place at Moylan Iceplex in Omaha, NE, Nov. 13-16, 2014.

Esmark Stars David Polinski, was named the 18U Apex Peak Performer - Forward for the event.

In recent years, the Esmark Stars have done their winning with defense, but at the event in Omaha their offense sparked them to a perfect 4-0 record as they scored 18 goals in four games. Helping lead the way was 18-year-old Polinski.

The native of Moundsville, WV, was one of the offensive leaders as he recorded seven points (2 G, 5 A) in the four wins and he managed to record at least one point in each game.

In the Stars opening game at the Omaha Showcase, the 6’0”, 190 lbs. forward, registered an assist in a 5-2 win over New Jersey. Later that day, he recorded the game-winning goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over HC Dallas. The following day, Polinski had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 shootout win over St. Louis. On the final day of the event, he picked up another assist in a 3-0 shutout of the Minnesota Revolution. 

For the season, Polinski ranks third in league game scoring with 14 points (6 G , 8 A). He also leads the Stars with three game-winning NAPHL goals.

“David had a great weekend in Omaha and it was nice to see his hard work pay off. His success is predicated on being a true power forward. He has the body and the strength to play at the next level and if he uses that to his advantage in the NAPHL, he is very effective,” said Esmark head coach Dave Kosick.

Overall, Polinski is the leading scorer for the Stars, recording 45 points (19 G, 26 A).  He is tied for the lead in goals (19) with Adam Alavi and leads the club in assists (26) through the club’s first 39 games.

In addition to honoring Polinski, the league also selected Esmark forward Adam Alavi, who tallied six points (4G, 2A) in Omaha as the the third star - forward, and Esmark goaltender Scott Trellis, who recorded two wins, including a shutout, and stopped 49 of 50 shots he faced, as second star - goaltender for the Omaha Showcase.

Hetz Named NAHL Star of the Week

Former Star Honored

Veteran Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Jacob Hetz, 20, was named the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Midwest Division Star of the Week after Fairbanks completed a home sweep of the Minnesota Magicians to maintain their comfortable lead atop the Midwest Division.

Hetz, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and former member of the Esmark Stars of the NAPHL, totaled six points in the two wins.

In the opener of the two game series, a 7-2 win, Hetz had a goal and two assists. In game two, a 4-2 win, he banged in two goals and assisted on another goal. For the weekend he finished with a +3 ranking.

Hetz’s 15 goals has him tied for the lead in goals in the NAHL, while his 29 points (15 G, 14 A) has him tied for third in league scoring.

“Jacob played with great leadership over the weekend. He went to the hard areas of the ice and committed to winning battles,” said Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart.

Hetz skated for the Esmark Stars U18 AAA team during the 2011-12 season. He tallied 76 points (36 G, 40 A) in 75 games that season and led the Stars to the Championship game of the Mid-American District Playoffs.  He tendered with Fairbanks during the 11-12 season and has spent the past three seasons with the Ice Dogs.

Esmark 18U defenseman Ekberg signs NAHL tender

Signs Tender with Janesville

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Carter Ekberg has signed an North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Janesville Jets.  Janesville competes in the NAHL’s North Division.

Ekberg, 17, currently in his third NAPHL season with the Stars organization, has had an outstanding league season to date, as he leads the Stars 18U team in scoring with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 14 NAPHL games played. His 16 points is also tops for all NAPHL 18U defensemen.
 
The native of McMurray, PA, has been named as the Apex Peak Performer for 18U defensemen in both September and October. While in Omaha, NE, at the NAPHL's third showcase weekend, Nov. 14-16, Ekberg (6’2/185 lbs.) chipped in three more points helping Esmark to a perfect 4-0-0-0 record at the event.
 
Last season, Ekberg was named to the All-NAPHL 16U 3rd Team and he also played in the inaugural NAPHL 16U All-Star Game.  He was also named to the All-NAPHL Academic Team.
 
"Carter has certainly established himself as among the elite defenseman in our league," offered Esmark head coach Dave Kosick.  "He has had tender offers and inquiries from several NAHL programs this season and generated quite a bit of interest."
 
A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders, which include two (2) tenders exclusively used on players from the NAPHL - plus or minus any trades - which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft, which will be held in June of 2015.

Barney Named NAPHL 16U Defensive Peak Performer

Esmark Defenseman Honored for Play in League Showcase

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of October.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the NAPHL's second event of the season, which took place at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, IL, Oct. 17 - 20, 2014.

For the Romeoville event, the league selected Esmark Stars defenseman Cole Barney, 16, as the Defensive Peak Performer In the 16U division.

"The Esmark Stars have developed a rich history of producing top quality defenseman and it appears that Barney may be another of the young stars being groomed by the Stars coaching staff," offered the NAPHL's Alex Kyrias.

"Cole works hard at his craft," said 16U Stars head coach Yuri Krivokhija.  " He brings a good attitude and invests the sweat equity required to succeed at this game each time he hits the ice."

Barney enjoyed a breakout weekend in Romeoville as he helped the Stars to a 4-1-0 record at the league's second event of the season.  He recorded at least a point in each of the five games and recorded eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) overall during the showcase.

The Fort Wayne, IN, native began the event with the lone goal in a 1-0 win over San Jose.   The next day, Barney recorded three assists in a 6-5 win over the California Titans.  In his third game, he picked up two assists in a 7-1 win over New Jersey.  Later that day, Barney scored two goals, including the game-winning goal, and added an assist in a 5-1 win over Pursuit of Excellence.  He added an assist in the Stars final game of the Showcase, a 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Through 10 NAPHL league games, Barney leads the Stars with 11 points.

NAPHL Honors Ekberg

Stars Defenseman Named Peak Performer

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of October.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the NAPHL's second event of the season, which took place at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, IL, Oct. 17 - 20, 2014.

For the Romeoville event, the league selected Esmark Stars defenseman Carter Ekberg, 17, as the Defensive Peak Performer In the 18U division.

This is the league's second consecutive honoring of Ekberg, as he was also named as the Defensive Peak Performer In the 18U division at the NAPHL's opening event in Blaine, MN.

"This award clearly helps establish Ekberg as among the top of the class for defenseman in the NAPHL 18U Division," offered Stars head coach Dave Kosick.

The Peters Township senior lead all NAPHL 18U defensemen in scoring in Romeoville, recording seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in five games as the Stars put together a 3-1-1 record to remain one of the top teams in the 18U division.

Ekberg began the event with the lone goal (and the lone shootout goal) for Esmark in a 2-1 shootout loss against San Jose.   He followed that with the game-winning goal and two assists in a 7-0 win over Arizona.  In game three, Ekberg scored his second consecutive game-winning goal and added an assist in a 4-1 win over Pikes Peak.  In the Stars fourth game, he picked up an assist in a 4-1 win over the Pursuit of Excellence. 

“Carter and our entire defensive corp stepped up at Romeoville," Kosick said.  "We were working on a short bench defensively and those guys met all challenges. On an individual level, each week Carter continues to demonstrate a skill set and an overall level of consistency that will help him succeed at the next level."

Former Esmark Stars Forward Hepler Named NOJHL Player of the Month

Elliot Lake’s Hepler named Gongshow Gear player of the month

11/03/2014, 9:00am EST
By NOJHL Communications

SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced today that Elliot Lake Wildcats forward Cole Hepler has been named the Gongshow Gear Inc. player of the month for October.

In nine games last month, the 19-year-old native of Pittsburgh, PA, averaged two points per contest for the first-year Wildcats.

In that span Hepler had eight goals and doled out 10 assists for Elliot Lake in accumulating 18 points.

Seven of those points came in three match-ups vs. the top two teams in the league standings, the Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
He also etched his name on the score sheet in eight of the nine overall contests he skated in.

The Wildcats forward is also currently riding a four-game point streak and his 25 total points lead his club and tie him for sixth in NOJHL scoring.

For his efforts Hepler will receive a prize pack courtesy of Gongshow Gear, the official lifestyle hockey apparel of the NOJHL.

Hepler, who skated the past two seasons for the Pittsburgh-based Esmark Stars Midget Major AAA Club, led the 2013-14 Stars in scoring with 90 points (46 goals and 44 assists) and tallied 56 points (28 goals and 28 assists) in 57 games for the Stars during the 2012-13 season.

Dalesandro Named West Star of the Week in NA3HL Play

Former Star Honored

Former Esmark Stars forward Carmen Dalesandro, now a member of the North Iowa Bulls, was selected as the NA3HL West Division Star of the week for his play against the St. Louis Jr. Blues, Oct. 24 - 25.

It was certainly a weekend for the record books for both the North Iowa Bulls and the 19-year-old forward from Cannonsburg, PA, as Dalesandro posted 10 points.

The 155 lbs., 5’7" newly acquired froward played a big part in the Bulls wins over the Blues, tallying five goals and five assists, and an amazing plus 10 rating in the two-game home sweep.

On Friday, Dalesandro registered a goal and four assists in a 10-1 win. He followed that up on Saturday, tallying four goals and one assist in a 12-1 win.

"Carmen instantly brought energy into our lineup.  He plays the game like his hair is on fire, competing hard every shift.  We are very fortunate to have him on our team right now,” said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden.

Dalesandro spent four seasons in the Stars program (U16 & U18) and was tendered this past season by the Soo Eagles of the NAHL.

Esmark 18U defenseman honored by NAPHL

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has named Carter Ekberg, defenseman, U18 AAA Esmark Stars as the 18U Defensive Apex Learning Peak Performer for his performance at the NAPHL's opening showcase in Blaine, MN.
 
Ekberg (6'2", 185 lbs), a senior at Peters Township High School, finished the league showcase tied for the scoring lead among defenseman as he registered 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in five games, helping lead the Stars to a 3-1-0-1 record at the event.
 
The 17 year-old defenseman from McMurray, PA, picked up at his first U18 NAPHL league showcase right where he left off last season in the U16 division, where he was named an All-NAPHL 16U 3rd Team selection. He also appeared in the league's inaugural 16U All-Star Game last season.
 
“Carter had a strong showing in Blaine," said Esmark Head Coach Dave Kosick.  "He demonstrated that he has quickly made the transition to the midget major level."

Esmark Stars U13 Player Earns MVP

Esmark Stars Hockey Player wins Keystone Games MVP

By Kevin Lohman

Aiden Edwards wasn't even going to tryout for the Keystone State Games. That is, until a friend told the Hempfield 13-year-old about the games and recommended Edwards give it a shot.

“My friend Darick played in the games last year and said it was a lot of fun,” Edwards said. “So we thought we'd try out with some friends, and everything went well.”

Saying everything went well for Edwards at the Keystone State Games would be an understatement. Edwards, who attends Harrold Middle School and plays for the Hempfield Middle School team, stood out among his competition in the 13-and-under Pee Wee division by scoring four goals and four assists in three games on his way to being named tournament MVP.

Edwards, who played mostly at the center position for the West team, said his success in the games was a product of playing with great teammates.

“I played on a really good line, which definitely helped,” Edwards said. “I've played with one of the wingers that was on my line before, and that made things a little easier.”

Although the teams in the Keystone State Games are composed of hockey players from across the state, Edwards knew many of the players participating from his time with the U13 Esmark Stars AAA team. His familiarity with the other players served as a comfort and a motivator.

“There was a bunch of players that I've played against before, and it was great to get to play against them again,” Edwards said. “The first game we played was against a few players from a team that's one of our rivals. That helped get me ready.”

The extra motivation certainly helped Edwards and his West team as they defeated the South team in their first KSG matchup 6-3. Edwards made his presence felt early, by assisting on the first goal and then scoring one himself in the second period.

Next, the West dropped a close game against the East, 6-5. Edwards scored a goal in the third period to help lead a late offensive flurry, but it would fall short as the East team emerged victorious.

In his team's final game, Edwards spearheaded an offensive onslaught by scoring two goals and tallying two assists in an 11-0 win against the Central team. The West team finished second in the Keystone State Games. Edwards was pleased with the results, and says he is excited to keep working hard to get ready for tougher competition once he graduates the eighth grade next year

“I think I played well,” Edwards said. “I'm going to keep my hands full with hockey. I just want to keep doing my best and let everything else play out.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

Ekberg Selected in NAHL Draft

The Johnstown Tomahawks selected Carter Ekberg, defenseman, from the AAA Esmark Stars, during the fourth round (81st overall) of the annual NAHL Draft, held on Tuesday, June 3.

Ekberg, who appeared in 24 regular and post season North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games during the 2013-14 season, recorded 17 points (7 goals and 10 assists), including 2 power play goals, 4 power play assists, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 game winning goals in those contests.

A senior to be from Peters Township High School, Ekberg had previously been recognized by and received several honors from the NAPHL.  He was named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL midget minor third team; he was named to the 2013-14 NAPHL All-Academic team (requiring student-athletes who must have achieved a minimum 3.75 GPA and certain academic standards for the 2013-14 school year and must have been nominated by a coach); was honored by the NAPHL as the second star, 16U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's opening league showcase in Blaine, MN, in September; selected, along with Esmark teammate Kenny Dee, to participate in the league's Inaugural NAPHL All-Star Game, held during the league's third 16U Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN in December, where he recorded an assist in helping his Team Easton to a 6-3 win.

"Carter's continued performance over the past two seasons certainly has captured the attention of several NAHL and USHL teams," said Esmark Stars 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija.  "I didn't think it was ever a matter of when, but rather a matter of where he would be selected."

In Johnstown, Ekberg will have an opportunity to make the squad and skate for new Tomahawk's head coach Mike Letizia.  The Tomahawks finished fourth in the North Division this past season and advanced to the NAHL Playoffs for their second consecutive season.

Having just completed its fifth season, the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), continuee the tradition of player development towards the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

In the draft, five more NAPHL players were selected in addition to the 51 NAPHL players who signed NAHL tenders leading up to the draft. In total, 56 NAPHL players who played in the NAPHL during this past season now have their rights protected by NAHL teams for the 2014-15 season.

“The partnership between the NAPHL and the NAHL is like no other partnership currently in existence,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “With a guaranteed scouting exposure at all events, which is also inclusive of our exclusive Event Scouting System, it provides an opportunity for the NAPHL players that are unique to the league’s structure and relationship with the NAHL.”

Year after year, the NAPHL takes part in the highest-profile events that the NAHL has to offer where scouting exposure is at its highest like the NAHL Showcase and the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.  These events are specifically designed to maximize the exposure of all the participants at all age levels thanks to not only the NAHL scouts and coaches, but the hundreds more of NCAA and NHL scouts that are in attendance at the biggest events.

The success of teams on the National stage, as well as, the success of NAPHL players at the next levels of hockey, is further proof that the NAPHL is redefining exposure and has elevated itself to one of the premier training grounds for development and opportunity.

Esmark Stars Honored for High Academic Achievement

The Esmark Stars have received post-season honors from the North American Prospect Hockey League (NAPHL), with 14 players (six from the U16 AAA and eight from the U18 AAA team) named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL Academic team.

To qualify for the honor, student-athletes must have achieved a minimum 3.75 GPA and certain academic standards for the 2013-14 school year and must have been nominated by a coach.

Named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL 16U AAA Academic Team from the Esmark Stars: Sam Barnes (Peters Township), Alec Bosnic (Bishop Canevin), Carter Ekberg (Peters Township), Beau Heakins (Mars Area), Jake Tepe (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and Jordan Timmons (South Fayette).

Named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL 18U AAA Academic Team from the Esmark Stars: Adam Alavi (Peters Township), Jonathan Dagnal (Peters Township), Cole Hepler (Freeport Area), Josef Kittelberger (Peters Township), Ryan Lottes (Quaker VAlley), Tristan Ramage (Peters Township), Jacob Worcester (Bethel Park) and Brendan Zack (Freeport Area).

"All of these young men deserve a standing ovation for being able to manage the rigors of a challenging AAA schedule while maintaing high academic achievement in the classroom," said Esmark Stars AAA Coordinator Dave Kosick.  "They not only managed to earn a high GPA, they did it without asking for special treatment or consideration.  They achieved in spite of the additional burdens that a AAA schedule can present."

"The Stars program has always stressed the need for our student athletes to maintain academic standards," Kosick added.  "Playing hockey should never be an excuse for failing in the classroom."

Baker and Alavi Honored by NAPHL

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced All-NAPHL First, Second and Third Teams for the 18U AAA level for the 2013-14 season.  Esmark Stars 18U goaltender Brian Baker, and center, Adam Alavi, were both honored.

Baker was named to the 18U All-NAPHL first team.  He appeared in 16 regular and post season games and statisically finished as the league's number one goaltender, finishing with a 11-3-0-1 record, as he allowed only 18 goals.  His GAA (goals against average) was 1.19 and his save percentage was 93.73 percent.  He recorded seven shutouts and one assist over the course of the season and helped lead the Stars to the NAPHL Championship game.

A senior from Peters Township High School, Baker was previously honored by the NAPHL as the defensive first star, 18U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's 18U fifth showcase in Troy, MI, in Jan. 2014.  Baker was on top of his game during the final league showcase, as he allowed just one goal in three starts, recording two shutouts and three wins.

He was also honored by the NAPHL as defensive second star, 18U Franklin Virtual High School Peak Performer second star (defense), for his performance in the league's third 18U showcase in Romeoville, IL, in Nov. 2013.  Baker appeared in two of the Stars games and earned shutouts in both contests as he stopped all 31 shots he faced in the two games.   He has earned three shut-outs in in seven NAPHL appearances.

Baker, who has been tendered by the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), was also named to the NAPHL's Top Performers Tournament, which featured 80 of the league's top players.  At that all-star event, he recorded two wins in three apperances, finishing with a goals against average of 1.00 and helping to lead Team North to the Tournament Championship.

Alavi was named to the 18U All-NAPHL third team as a forward.  He appeared in 28 regular and post season games and recorded 32 points (11 goals and 21 assists) finshing tied for ninth in regular season scoring.  He recorded four game winning goals during the regular season, finsing teid for first in that category.

A junior from Peters Township High School, Alavi was previously honored by the NAPHL as the offensive first star, 18U Franklin Peak Performer (Offense), for his performance in the NAPHL's 18U fourth showcase in Blaine MN, in Dec. 2013.  Alavi helped the Stars to a perfect 5-0-0-0 record at the event as he recorded 12 points (two goals and 10 assists).

Alavi, who has been tendered by the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), was also named to the NAPHL's Top Performers Tournament in March, which featured 80 of the league's top players.  At that all-star event, he finished tied for the lead in the scoring race, recording six points (three goals and three assists) in four games as he helped lead Team North to the Tournament Championship.

In order to be considered for selection, players must have been nominated by their respective coaches.  After that, selection is based on player performance in all NAPHL regular season and playoff games throughout the 2013-14 season.

"Baker and Alavi both had great seasons," said Esmark Stars 18U head coach Dave Kosick.  "They both earned the recognition that the league has bestowed upon them by their play."

“We congratulate all those who were recognized for their efforts this past season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.  “Now five years into our history, the NAPHL continues to raise the bar each season with more exposure for the players as we continue to be one of the best Tier I youth leagues under the USA Hockey umbrella. It is thanks in large part to the commitment to excellence that is shared by the hard work of the players and the dedication of the coaching staffs and parents.”

Esmark Stars Honored for High Academic Achievement

The Esmark Stars have received post-season honors from the North American Prospect Hockey League (NAPHL), with 14 players (six from the U16 AAA and eight from the U18 AAA team) named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL Academic team.

To qualify for the honor, student-athletes must have achieved a minimum 3.75 GPA and certain academic standards for the 2013-14 school year and must have been nominated by a coach.

Named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL 16U AAA Academic Team from the Esmark Stars: Sam Barnes (Peters Township), Alec Bosnic (Bishop Canevin), Carter Ekberg (Peters Township), Beau Heakins (Mars Area), Jake Tepe (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and Jordan Timmons (South Fayette).

Named to the 2013-14 All-NAPHL 18U AAA Academic Team from the Esmark Stars: Adam Alavi (Peters Township), Jonathan Dagnal (Peters Township), Cole Hepler (Freeport Area), Josef Kittelberger (Peters Township), Ryan Lottes (Quaker VAlley), Tristan Ramage (Peters Township), Jacob Worcester (Bethel Park) and Brendan Zack (Freeport Area).

"All of these young men deserve a standing ovation for being able to manage the rigors of a challenging AAA schedule while maintaing high academic achievement in the classroom," said Esmark Stars AAA Coordinator Dave Kosick.  "They not only managed to earn a high GPA, they did it without asking for special treatment or consideration.  They achieved in spite of the additional burdens that a AAA schedule can present."

"The Stars program has always stressed the need for our student athletes to maintain academic standards," Kosick added.  "Playing hockey should never be an excuse for failing in the classroom."

16U's Ekberg Honored by NAPHL

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced All-NAPHL First, Second and Third Teams for the 16U AAA level for the 2013-14 season.

Carter Ekberg, defenseman, from the U16 AAA Esmark Stars was named to the All-NAPHL third team.  He appeared in 24 regular and post season games and recorded 17 points (7 goals and 10 assists), including 2 power play goals, 4 power play assists, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 game winning goals.

A junior from Peters Township High School, Ekberg was previously honored by the NAPHL as the second star, 16U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense), for his performance in the NAPHL's opening league showcase in Blaine, MN, in September.  He was also selected, along with Esmark teammate Kenny Dee, to participate in the league's Inaugural NAPHL All-Star Game, held during the league's third 16U Showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN in December.  At that game, Ekberg recorded an assist in helping his Team Easton to a 6-3 win.

In order to be considered for selection, players must have been nominated by their respective coaches.  After that, selection is based on player performance in all NAPHL regular season and playoff games throughout the 2013-14 season.

"Carter's performance all season long has impressed me," said Esmark Stars 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija.  "He certainly deserves recognition as one of the nations' truly elite players,"

“We congratulate all those who were recognized for their efforts this past season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.  “Now five years into our history, the NAPHL continues to raise the bar each season with more exposure for the players as we continue to be one of the best Tier I youth leagues under the USA Hockey umbrella. It is thanks in large part to the commitment to excellence that is shared by the hard work of the players and the dedication of the coaching staffs and parents.”

Esmark Stars shine in NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament

Pittsburgh, PA – The Esmark Stars 18U AAA Tier I amateur hockey club had nine of its players named to the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held March 28 – 30, 2014, at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL.

At the event, four “Top Prospects” teams, each comprised of 20 of the top midget major players from the 16-team league, participated in a three-day tournament held in conjunction with the North American 3 Hockey League’s (NA3HL) Junior A Silver Cup Championship Tournament.  The three-day event was attended by over 50 scouts representing Junior A and NCAA teams.

Selected to represent the U18 AAA Pittsburgh Viper Stars were: post-grad forward Tanner Gilliliand, Butler Area; senior defenseman Tristan Ramage, Pittsburgh Central Catholic; senior defenseman Ryan Lottes, Quaker Valley High School; senior forward, Jonathan Dagnal, Peters Township High School; junior forward, Adam Alavi, Peters Township High School; senior goaltender, Brian Baker, Peters Township High School; defenseman, Josef Kittelberger, Peters Township High School; post-grad forward, Carmen Dalesandro, Canon McMillian High School; and senior forward, Cole Hepler, Freeport Area High School.  Hepler (previous commitment) and Dalesandro (injury) were unable to participate.

Head 18U coach Dave Kosick was tabbed to coach Team North in the event, the fourth straight season Kosick has been named as a coach for this NAPHL All-Star event.  Kosick had six of the seven Stars playing in the tournament on his Team North squad, as they captured the tournament championship with a perfect 4-0-0-0 record ... allowing only two goals against in four games. Alavi, Gilliland, Ramage, Lottes, Baker and Dagnal all were tabbed for Team North, while Josepf Kittelberger was selected for the West squad.  Other teams represented on Team North included players from the New Jersey Jr. Titans, Omaha AAA and the St. Louis Selects.

Team North opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Team Great Lakes (Lansing Warriors, West Michigan Hounds, Cleveland Jr. Jacks and Detroit Falcons).  Jonathan Dagnal scored a goal and Adam Alavi picked up an assist in the win.

In game two, Team North picked up a 5-2 win over Team West (Anaheim Jr. Ducks, San Jose Jr. Sharks, California Titans and Pursuit of Excellence).  Dagnal scored his second goal of the tournament and Alavi picked up his second assist.  Tanner Gilliland also earned an assist.  Goaltender Brian Baker turned aside 25 of the 27 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.

In game three, Team North closed out round-robin play with a 3-0 shutout of Team South (Atlanta Fire, Pikes Peak Miners, Phoenix Firebirds and Texas Tornado).  Tristna Ramage scored his first goal of the tournament and Alavi earned an assist (his third of the tournament).  Baker, stopped all 14 of the shots he faced and earned the win in goal after coming on to play in a 0-0 tie midway through the game.  He teamed with fellow Team North golaie Justin Ketola (Omaha AAA) to turn aside all 25 Team South shots in the shut-out win.

In the Championship game, Team North was again matched up with Team Great Lakes and just as in the opening game, they skated to a 5-0 win, and the tournament championship.  Adam Alavi scored two goals to pace the way for his Team North.  Ramage picked up his second goal of the tournament and added an assist to give him three points for the tournament, tops among defenseman.  Gilliland added an assist, his second of the tournament.  Baker came on to play the second half of  the game in goal for Team North, turning aside all nine shots he faced, and again joining with Ketola to earn a shut-out as they stopped all 17 Team South shots on goal.

Baker finished the tournament with two more wins under his belt.  Kittelberger finished with one assist as Team West skated to thrid place. As a side note, it was Kosick's second consecutive Top Prospect Tournament Championship.

“We were excited to have again placed so many of our players in the NAPHL’s Top Prospects game,” says Dave Kosick, AAA Coordinator for the Esmark Stars and head coach of the program’s 18U AAA team. The Stars led the league with nine players selected to participate.  "All seven Stars players had outstanding events and increased their awareness and exposure level to several additional teams."

“There is no other league that offers so many opportunities for players to be showcased for collegiate and junior level programs,” Kosick continued.  "Each player participating in this event was given an additional level of exposure to those making decisions on who will play junior hockey next season."

Held in conjunction with the NA3HL's Silver Cup Championship Tournament, the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament consists of a three-game round robin tournament followed by gold and bronze medal games.  The event has quickly become one of the most highly scouted events of its kind.  Last season, dozens of junior, NCAA and NHL scouts attended the event.  This season, players were again selected for participation by the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament Selection Committee.

The NAPHL, which will begin its sixth season in 2014-15, is a 16-team league with member clubs from across North America.  The league has established itself as the premier Midget (18U and 16U) league in North America and provides heavy junior, college and professional scouting presence at all of its events.  Coupled with a first-class organizational staff, the NAPHL offers unparalleled exposure and opportunity for every participating program.

The Esmark Stars, a member of the North Hills Amateur Hockey Association (NHAHA), western Pennsylvania’s premier amateur ice hockey organization, have provided a memorable hockey experience to hundreds of area youths since 1984.  Devoted to promoting the growth of amateur ice hockey on a local and national level, the Stars are a proud member of the NAPHL (North American Prospect Hockey League) and USA Hockey and offer competition at the Tier I (AAA) level.

ESMARK STARS Announce Head Coaches for 2014-15 Season

The Esamrk Stars Tier I AAA program, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) and a member of the Pittsburgh Viper Hockey Family, have announced their head coaching positions for the 2014-15 season.

Founded in 1984, the Stars, celebrating their 30th year, have offered many of the region’s top amateur ice hockey players an opportunity to showcase their skills on a national and international level over the past 29 years.

Drawing players primarily from throughout the Tri-State Area of providing memorable hockey experiences to elite players under a the direction of a veteran and highly recognized coaching staff during the 2014-15 season.

18U - Dave Kosick
16U - Yuri Krivokhija
14U - Si Bishop
13U - Mark Hastings  / Terry Virtue
12U - Yuri Krivokhija

Esmark 18U forward Hepler signs NAHL tender with Kenai River

The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Cole Hepler has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Hepler, 18, is the leading scorer on this year’s Esmark Stars 18U squad, as he has posted 90 points (46 goals and 44 assists) in 61 games played.  In NAPHL action,  he recorded 28 points, 10 goals and 18 assists, in 24 league games played during the NAPHL regular season.

A senior at Freeport Area High School, Hepler (165 lbs., 5’11") helped lead the Stars to a 19-3-2 record during the NAPHL regular season, good for third place during the regular season midget major division and a spot in the NAPHL's Championship Series.  The Stars advanced through round-robin and semi-final play to the league's Championship game.

Last season, Hepler tallied 56 points (28 goals and 28 assists) in 57 overall games for the Stars 18U team, including 22 poinst (14 goals and 8 assists) in 16 NAPHL games, leading them to the NAPHL's Championship Series 18U semi-finals. During the 2011-12 season, Hepler recorded 58 points (29 goals and 29 assists) in 58 overall games for the 16U Stars, including 18 points (8 goals and 10 assists) in 22 NAPHL games.
 
Hepler was named the NAPHL 18U third offensive star from the NAPHL Showcase in Blaine, MN, Dec. 6-9, as helped the Stars to a perfect 5-0-0-0 record at the event.
 
Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick offered high praise for Hepler and future potential.

“Cole is a player you can build a program around.  He thrives in all aspects of the game, be it penalty kill, power play, fore checking, offensive and defensive zone play, etc.  He brings a high competitive drive to every practice and game and never rests on the success he has earned," said Kosick.  "When Cole hits the ice for Kenai, their fans and coaching staff will love this kid.”

“Cole is not only a solid two-way player, he understands and sees the game at a level few miidegt major players can comprehend.”

Hepler is the fifth member of the Esmark 18U team to sign a tender this season, joining teammates Brian Baker (Lone Star), Tristan Ramage (Johnstown), Carmen Dalesandro (Soo) and Adam Alavi (Soo).

Esmark 18U forward Alavi signs NAHL tender

The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Adam Alavi has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Soo Eagles. The Eagles compete in the NAHL’s North Division.

Alavi, 17, was the leading scorer on this year’s Esmark Stars 18U squad in NAPHL action, as he posted 28 points, 10 goals and 18 assists, in 24 league games played during the NAPHL regular season.

A native of McMurray, PA, Alavi (5’10/170) recorded four game-winning goals during the 2013-14 NAPHL regular season, which tied for the NAPHL lead in the 18U Division, and led the Stars to a 19-3-2 record during the NAPHL regular season, good for third place in the midget major division.  Overall, he has recorded 72 points (23 goals and 49 assists) in 60 games to date.

Last season, Alavi tallied 25 points in 22 games for the Stars 16U team, leading them all the way to the NAPHL 16U Championship game.  He also recorded 8 points in five playoff games during the 2012-13 season
 
Alavi was named the NAPHL 18U offensive Franklin Peak Performer from the NAPHL Showcase in Blaine, MN, Dec. 6-9, as helped the Stars to a perfect 5-0-0-0 record at the event.  He led all 18U scorers in Blaine with 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in five games played, and had multi-point games in four of his five outings.
 
Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick says despite being a younger 18U player, Alavi has tremendous upside and potential.

“Adam is a hard-working and focused player, who has worked diligently to improve each aspect of his game since the first day of camp," said Kosick.  "And now he is reaping the first of hopefully many benefits for his hard work.”

“Adam is a solid two-way player, who I believe will be successful at the next levels of hockey.”

Alavi is the fourth member of the Esmark 18U team to sign a tender this season, joining teammates Brian Baker (Lone Star), Tristan Ramage (Johnstown) and Carmen Dalesandro (Soo).

16U and 18U Esmark Stars Capture Steel City Cup Tournament Championships

The 18U and 16U Esmark Stars AAA teams each enjoyed a strong showing at the 2014 Steel City Cup Tournament and skated away with championships in the U18 and U16 AAA divisions.

In round-robin play, the 16U Stars skated to a 4-0-0 record, shuting out the Pittsburgh Selects American (1-0), Team Maryland (2-0), and Mission AZ Ice Red (5-0) in their first three games, and posting a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Knights in their final preliminary game.

The 18U Stars matched the 16U squad in round-robin play, as they also skated to a 4-0-0 record.  The midget major club open with a 6-0 shutout of the Ashburn Xtreme; defeated Team Maryland, 7-3, in game two; posted a 7-0 shutout of crosstown rival the Pittsburgh Predators in game three; and closed out round-robin play with a 4-1 win over the Mission AZ Ice.

In the 16U semi-finals, the Stars skated to a 3-1 win over the Butler Valley Dawgs (second seeded team from the opposite division in the 15-team 16U midget minor division).  At the 18U level, the midget major Stars skated to a 7-0 shut-out win over the SHAHA Panthers (the second seed from the opposite division in the 10-team 18U division).

In the 16U Championship game, the Stars skated to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Predators (who had qualified for the semi-finals as the second team in the same bracket as the Stars and who had defeated the Pittsburgh Selects Nationals in an overtime shootout to get into the Championship game).

In the 18U Championship game, the midget major Stars skated to a 6-0 win over the Cleveland Hockey Alliance (the number one seed from the opposite division in the midget major field).

Esmark Stars 18U Baker Honored by NAPHL

Brian Baker, goaltender for the U18 Esmark Stars has been selected by the North American Prospects Hockey League as the first star - 18U Franklin Virtual High School 18U Defensive Peak Performer for his performance in the NAPHL's final league showcase in Troy, MI in January.

The 18-year-old native of McMurray, PA, was statistically the top goaltender in the NAPHL’s 18U Division during the 2013-14 regular season.  Baker’s 1.00 goals against average, his 94.9% save percentage and his six shutouts led the 18U Division this season.  Baker finished the season with a 10-1-0-1 record in 12 appearances and allowed just 12 goals in NAPHL action all season long. 

Baker was on top of his game during the final league showcase, as he allowed just one goal in three starts to help the 18U Stars finished in third place in the 18U Division with a 19-3-0-2 record.  He recorded shutouts came against St. Louis and Atlanta during the Showcase before being touched up for a single goal in a win over New Jersey.

To date this season, Baker (5’10"/155 lbs.), has posted a 1.15 goals against average, his 92,53% save percentage, recorded 11 shutouts and posted an overall record of 21-4-1-1 to date.

“We have great depth in goal and it is one of the strengths of the team,” said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. “Brian spends a lot of time studying the goaltending position and he is a better goalie for it. When he combines that with his physical ability, it makes him a really effective goaltender and one that will be successful at the next level.”

The NAPHL which celebrated its fifth season during the 2013-14, is composed of 16 teams Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the Tier I level.  The league schedule is comprised of six regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top eight teams at each level compete for a league championship.  The NAPHL Championship Series, which will take place from February 14-18 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan.

The NAPHL has established itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure.  Not only have players in the NAPHL received recognition from NHL Central Scouting, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams.  The NAPHL, which is sanctioned by USA Hockey, utilizes the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and is designed to maximize the exposure of all participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events that attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.  The NAPHL provides an organizaed and competitive experience with an unrivaled scouting presence, guarenteed to benefit all of the participating student-athletes and programs.  For more information on the NAPHL, please visit www.naphl.com.

Esmark Stars 18U Duo Signs Tenders

The Esmark Stars, members of the Pittsburgh Viper Hockey family and the North American Prospects Hockey League, are pleased to announce that two players from the 18U team have signed NAHL tender agreements.
 
Goaltender Brian Baker has signed an NAHL tender with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL’s South Division and forward Carmen Dalesandro has signed an NAHL tender with the Soo Eagles of the NAHL’s North Division.
 
In his first year with the Esmark 18U team, Baker, 18, a senior at Peters Township High School, has had quite the memorable first season in the NAPHL. The native of McMurray, PA was statistically the top goaltender in the NAPHL’s 18U Division during the 2013-14 regular season.  Baker posted a 1.00 goals against average, 94.9% save percentage and recorded six shutouts to lead all goaltenders in the the NAPHL's 18U Division this season.

Baker (155 lbs., 5'10") finished the NAPHL regular season with a 10-1-1 record in 12 appearances and allowed just 12 goals in NAPHL action all season.  He was named the #2 defensive star from the NAPHL 18U event in Romeoville and helped the Esmark Stars finish the NAPHL regular season in third place in the 18U Division, with a 19-3-2 record, and qualify for the league's playoffs.

Baker's overall numbers include a 21-4-1-1-record, 1.15 goals against average, 92.53% save percentage, and 11 shutouts to help lead the Stars to an overall 39-9-3-2 record to date this season.
 
"Brian Baker is a true student of the game.  He brings a very analytic approach to playing goaltender and mixes it with great athleticism and honed reflexes.  His numbers truly represent how well his performance has been to date," said Esmark 18U coach Dave Kosick.
 
Dalesandro, 18, is in his third season with the Esmark organization.  In 21 games played this season, he finished tied for fourth in team scoring with 19 points.  Last season, the native of Canonburg, PA, and Canon McMillian High School graduate, had 28 points in 22 games to tie for the team lead in scoring. He was also second in playoff scoring with nine points in four games for the Stars who were eliminated from the NAPHL Playoffs in an overtime shootout contest in the Semi-Finals in 2012-13.
 
During the 2011-12 season, Dalesandro (165 lbs., 5’10") played for the Stars 16U team where he had 14 points in 17 games played.  In 61 career NAPHL regular season games, Dalesandro has 61 career points (17 goals and 44 assists).

Overall this season, Dalesandro has posted 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) in 47 games, including 5 power play goals and 1 short-handed goal.  During the 2012-13 campaign, Dalesandro tallied 102 points (32 goals and 70 assists) in 68 games played, including 35 points (7 goals, 25 assists) in 26 NAPHL games played.
 
"Carmen Dalesandro is an exciting player with explosive speed.  His world-class speed, mixed with his grit and his ability to find ice, allow him to be an elite level player.  He will quickly become a fan favorite for the Soo fans," said Kosick
 
The Esmark Stars 18U team will be the #3 seed in the Gold Division of the upcoming 2014 NAPHL Championship series next month, Feb. 15-18, in Troy, MI.

Alavi and Bosnic Featured in NAPHL Highlight Reel

Esmark Stars 18U forward Adam Alavi and Esmark Stars 16U forward Alec Bosnic are featured on the highlight reel of the North American Prospects Hockey League's showcase in Blaine, MN, Dec. 6 - 9, 2013.

All 32 teams from the NAPHL were in play during the five-game, five day event.  The 18U Stars skated to a 5-0-0-0 record, while the 16U Stars recorded a 4-1-0-0 record.

Former Viper Star Named NAHL Easton Star of the Week

Jacob Hetz, former member of the Pittsburgh Viper Stars, 2011-12, has been named as the Easton Mid-West Star of the Week, for the week of Dec. 7 - 15.

Hetz has helped the Fairbanks Ice Dogs back atop the Midwest Division of the NAHL and back to having the best record in the league, thanks to their weekend road sweep of in-state rival Kenai River.

The Ice Dogs won two, one-goal games and were bolstered by the play of 19-year-old forward from Shaler, who factored in on three of the five Ice Dogs goals during the weekend sweep.

On Friday, Hetz (195 lbs., 6’1") had the game-winning goal in the second period as Fairbanks edged the Brown Bears, 2-1.  The next night, he picked up two assists, including one on the game-winning goal as the Ice Dogs again edged the Brown Bears, 3-2.  Fairbanks has won 11 of their last 12 games.  To date, Hetz has 16 points in 27 games played this season.

“Jacob had a great weekend for us. He brought a lot of energy to both games and he really skates hard when he is out there,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart.  “He was in on three of the five goals this weekend and really made an impact when we needed it.”

Former Viper Star Named EHL All-Star

Former Pittsburgh Viper Star, Michael Amelio, has been named as a "Mid-Season Second Team All-Star" by the Eastern Hockey League (EHL).

Amelio, who played for the Viper Stars, 16U and 18U, during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, currently serves as the captain of the Washington Jr. Nationals.

Congratulations to Mike!

Three Esmark Stars Honored for Play in Blaine

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Franklin Virtual High School Peak Performers from the NAPHL Showcase held at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN, Dec. 6 - 9.

Three offensive and defensive players were selected at both the U16 and U18 levels based upon their performance at the fourth NAPHL event of the season.

Three members of the Esmark Stars program were among the honorees as Adam Alavi, forward, Esmark Stars 18U, was named 18U first star Franklin Peak Performer (Offense), Cole Hepler, forward, Esmark Stars 18U, was named 18U third star Franklin Peak Performer (Offense), and Jonah Winnier, goaltender, Esmark Stars 16U, was named 16U third star Franklin Peak Performer (Defense).

A native of McMurray, PA,, helped the Stars to a perfect 5-0-0-0 record at the event and has his team in second place overall in the 18U Division with a 15-3-0-1 record.  Alavi, who will turn 17 on Dec. 18, led all 18U scorers in Blaine with 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in five games played.  Alavi (5’10" and 170 lbs.) had multi-point games in four of his five outings.  Esmark faced two tough opponents on Day 1 and Alavi rose to the challenge as he recorded four assists in a 7-1 win over San Jose and had a goal in a 4-2 win over Pursuit of Excellence. On Saturday, Alavi assisted twice in a 6-1 win over the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. On Sunday, he picked up three assists in a 6-0 shutout of Phoenix and on Monday, Alavi had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Pikes Peak Miners. For the season, Alavi leads the Esmark 18U team in scoring with 24 points in 19 NAPHL games played and he ranks fifth in NAPHL 18U scoring.

Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick says despite being a younger 18U player, Alavi has tremendous upside and potential. “Adam is a hard-working and focused player.  He has improved every day since his first day of camp and now is seeing the benefit of all his hard work pay off,” said Kosick. “He is a solid two-way player, who I believe will be successful at the next level of hockey.”

Hepler, recorded ten points in five games (one goal and nine assists).  While at the U16 level, Winnier recorded three wins between the pies, stopping 22 of 24 shots he faced and picking up two shut-out wins.

At the 18U level, on offense, Devin Pierce, forward, Atlanta Fire, was named second star; and at the U16 level on defense, Brad Budman, defenseman, Anaheim Jr. Ducks, was named first star, while Brandon Rozzi, goaltender, New Jersey Titans, was selected as third star.

Alavi, Hepler and Winnier become the fourth, fifth and sixth Esmark Stars players to be honored so far this season.

The 18U Esmark Stars are currently in second place in the NAPHL'S U18 division with a record of 15-3-0-1.  Overall, the 18U Esmark Stars have a 33-7-3-1 record.

The 16U Esmark Stars currently have a record of 9-6-0-0 in the NAPHL'S U16 division.  Overall, the 16U Esmark Stars have a 19-15-4-0 record.

The NAPHL is comprised of six regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top teams at each level compete for a league championship. The fourth NAPHL event of the 2013-14 season will take place from December 6-9 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN. It will feature all 32 NAPHL teams, each playing in five regular season games. The event will also feature eight 14U teams playing in part of the ongoing Bantam Tournament Series (BTS).

Two Esmark Stars Selected to Participate in NAPHL 16U All-Star game

Ken Dee and Carter Ekberg, both defenseman on the 16U AAA Esmark Stars team, have been selected to participate in the NAPHL's inaugural 16U All-Star Game, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 6:00 p.m., Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.

The 16U All-Star Game is a part of the NAPHL’s fourth regular season event of the season, which will feature all 32 NAPHL teams, each playing in five regular season games, Dec. 6 - 9, in Blaine.

“We are very excited for the inaugural NAPHL 16U All-Star Game and believe it is going to showcase some of the best 16 and under hockey talent in the Nation,” said NAPHL Director Denny Scanlon.

Players considered for the 16U All-Star Game selection process were initially nominated by each of the NAPHL's 16U head coaches.  The NAPHL staff then selected the teams, with additional input and consultation from Coordinator of Player Personnel Craig Barnett and the NAPHL Event Scouting System.

The game will be broadcasted live, as are all NAPHL games, over the Internet through FASTHockey.

Congratulations to both Carter and Kenny!

Esmark's Ramage Signs Tender With NAHL's Tomahawks

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Tristan Ramage has signed an NAHL tender with the Johnstown Tomahawks.  The Tomahawks are members of the NAHL’s North Division.
 
Ramage, 17, is in his third season in the NAPHL with the Esmark Stars / Pittsburgh Viper Stars program.  The native of Evan City, PA, helps anchor a Stars defense that is second in the 18U Division in least goals allowed per game at just 1.6.
 
Through 14 NAPHL games this season, Ramage (6’2/195) has seven points (1 goal, 6 assists).  Six of seven points this season in NAPHL action have come on the power play.  Overall he has cored 18 points (4 goals and 14 assists) in 33 games.
 
This past summer, Ramage played on Team East at the 2013 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament in Frisco, TX.  Ramage had three points in four games and helped Team East to the Top Prospects title.
 
During the 2012-13 season, he spent time on both the Pittsburgh 18U and 16U squads.  While with the 18U team, Ramage had 11 points in 17 games and played in four playoff games, recording two points.  He also appeared in 15 games with the 16U team.  During the 2011-12 season, Ramage played in 15 games for the 16U team, recording six assists.  He played in four playoff games, recording one point.
 
Ramage is the first player from the Esmark Stars 18U team to sign an NAHL tender this season.

Esmark Stars 18U Baker Honored by NAPHL

Brian Baker, goaltender for the 18U Esmark Stars, has been selected by the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) as the 18U Franklin Virtual High School Peak Performers second star (defense) - for the month of November.

Three offensive and defensive players were selected based upon their performance at the third NAPHL event of the season, the NAPHL 18U Showcase at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, IL, Nov. 8-10, 2013.

On defense, along with Baker, David Dziezawiec, defenseman, Pikes Peak Miners (CO), was selected as first star and Alex Gross, goaltender, Texas Tornado, was selected as third star.

Baker appeared in two of the Stars games and earned shutouts in both contests as he blanked the Detroit Falcons (4-0) and the Texas Tornado (1-0), stopping all 31 shots he faced in the two games.  Overall, Baker is 5-1-0-1 in NAPHL play and has the second lowest Goal Against Average in the 18U division with a 1.29 GAA and is second is save percentage with a .935 save percentage.  He has earned three shut-outs in in seven NAPHL appearances.

Baker is the third Esmark Stars player to be honored so far this season.  Carter Eckberg, defenseman, was named second star, 16U defense, for his performance at the league's opening showcase in Blaine, MN, and Joe Recktenwald, goaltender, was named first star, 18U defense, for his performance at the league's second showcase in San Jose, CA.

The Esmark Stars are currently in second place in the NAPHL'S U18 division with a record of 10-3-0-1.  Overall, the 18U Esmark Stars have a 27-6-2-1 record.

The NAPHL is comprised of six regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top teams at each level compete for a league championship. The fourth NAPHL event of the 2013-14 season will take place from December 6-9 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN. It will feature all 32 NAPHL teams, each playing in five regular season games. The event will also feature eight 14U teams playing in part of the ongoing Bantam Tournament Series (BTS).
 

Troy Double earns spot in NAPHL League Highlight Reel

Esmark Stars 18U player Troy Double is featured on the highlight reel of the North American Prospects Hockey League's third showcase in Romeoville, IL.

All sixteen teams from the U18 division were in action during thr four-game three day event.  The Esmark Stars skated to a 3-1-0-0 record to improve their overall NAPHL record to 10-3-0-1.

18U ESMARK STARS RECKTENWALD HONORED

Joe Recktenwald, goaltender for the U18 Esmark Stars has been selected by the North American Prospects Hockey League as the first star - 18U Franklin Virtual High School 18U Defensive Peak Performer for his performance in the NAPHL's second league showcase in San Jose, CA in early October.

The 2,300-mile trip to San Jose was well worth it for Recktenwald and his teammates, as the Stars were the only team in the 18U Division to post a perfect 5-0-0 record at the event.  A 17-year-old native of South Park, Recktenwald was honored for his solid work in San Jose.  During the league showcase he went 3-0-0, with a 1.33 goals against average and a 92.7% save percentage.

He began the event with a 17-save performance in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Jr. Sharks. Recktenwald was even better two days later as he allowed just a single goal in a 3-1 win over the Pikes Peak Miners, where he  made 21 saves.  On the final day, Recktenwald made 13 saves in a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks.

To date, Recktenwald has a 4-1-1 record his season in NAPHL play with a 2.00 goals against average and a 90.2% save percentage.

“Joe did a real good job of maintaining focus during the event,” said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. “He is very sound technically and matches that with great reflexes, combined they make him an elite goaltender at this level.”

The NAPHL, which celebrates its fifth season in 2013-14, is composed of 16 teams Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the Tier I level.  The NAPHL has established itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure.  Not only have players in the NAPHL received recognition from NHL Central Scouting, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams.  The NAPHL, which is sanctioned by USA Hockey, utilizes the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and is designed to maximize the exposure of all participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events that attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.  The NAPHL provides an organizaed and competitive experience with an unrivaled scouting presence, guarenteed to benefit all of the participating student-athletes and programs.  For more information on the NAPHL, please visit www.naphl.com.

Esmark Stars Recognize Esmark Corp.

Prior to their game on Saturday, Oct. 26, vs. the Cleveland Hockey Alliance, the Esmark Stars U18 team honored their new corporate partner Esmark Corp., with a presentation of a jersey to former alumni Clayton Bouchard, standing in for Esmark CEO Jim Bouchard.

Returning Stars players and former teammates of Bouchard's, including Mike Klena, Alex Pulekines, Ryan Lottes, Jacob Worcester, Tanner Gilliland, Tristan Ramage, Cole Hepler and Carmen Dalesandro, made the presentation.

Esmark Stars 18U win Buffalo Saints Tournament

Esmark Stars logo

The Esmark Stars 18U AAA team captured the 2013 Buffalo Saints Tournament in Buffalo, NY, Oct. 11 - 13, 2013.

The Pittsburgh-based team skated to a 3-0-0 record in round-robin play and captured the top seed for their division with wins over the Amherst Knights (4-2), Shady Side Academy (3–0), and the host Buffalo Saints (4–3).

In an opening 4-2 win over Amherst, Troy Double scored a pair of goals and added an assist to pace the Stars.  Cole Hepler and Brian Dee also tallied goals. Adam Alavi (two), Alex Pullekines, and Tanner Gilliland added assists.  Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal. The Stars outshot Amherst 31-18 for the game.

In the 3-0 win over Shady Side Academy, Brian Dee scored a goal and added an assist to pace the Stars. Also tallying goals were Adam Alavi and Cole Hepler.  Alex Pullekines, Kyle Cunningham, and Troy Double added assists.  Brian Baker picked up an assist and turned aside 12 shots to earn the shut-out and win in goal.  The Stars outshot Shady Side 44-12 for the game.

In the round-robin 4-3 win over the Buffalo Saints, Brian Dee again paced the Stars as he picked up two goals.  Mike Klena and Cole Hepler also scored for Esmark.  Adam Alavi and Troy Double each picked up two assists, while Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal as the Stars outshot the Saints 32-24.

In the semi-finals, Esmark skated by the Cleveland Hockey Alliance 4-1.  Troy Double (two goals and two assists) and Adam Alavi (two goals and one assist) again paced the Stars.   Brian Dee added three assists and Ryan Lottes and Tristan Ramage each added one assist.  Brian Baker earned the win in goal as Esmark outshot Cleveland 36-21.

In the Championship game, after a brief two-hour respite, the Stars again met up with the host Buffalo Saints and skated away with an impressive 5-1 win.  Tanner Gilliland tallied a natural hat-trick to lead the offense for the Stars.  Carmen Dalesandro added a goal and two assists and David Polinski chipped in a goal for the Stars.  Cole Hepler recorded three assists, while Jake Worcester, Kyle Cunningham and Alex Pullekines each added an assist.  Joey Recktenwald earned the win in goal, and co-MVP honors in the Championship game with Tanner Gilliland, by recording 37 saves.

The 18U Stars championship run at Buffalo Saints Tournament follows strong performances in the Massachusetts Tier I Labor Day Tournament in Boston and at the Motor City Cup in Detroit, MI.

NAPHL San Jose, CA Highlights

Esmark Stars players Jordan Timmons (16U) and Tanner Gilliland (18U) are featured in the highlight reel from the North Amercian Prospects Hockey League's (NAPHL) second league showcase in San Jose, CA.

The west showcase featured NAPHL members: Anaheim Ducks, California Titans, Cleveland Jr. Jacks, Esmark Stars, Phoenix Firebirds, Pikes Peak Miners (CO), Pursuit of Excellence (Kelowna, BC), and the San Jose Jr. Sharks.

NAPHL Blaine, MN Highlights

Esmark Stars players Connor Eckberg (16U) and Tanner Gilliland (18U) make the cut on the highlight reel of opening league event for the North Amercian Hockey League in Blaine, MN.

Over 340 scouts, including representatives from all NHL, almost all Division I and III NCAA teams, most USHL and all NAHL Jr. A teams, several Canadian Junior A and U.S. ACHL collegiate teams, were in attendance at North America's premier midget AAA league showcase event.

Esmark Stars 16U Carter Eckberg Honored by NAPHL

Carter Eckberg, defenseman for the 16U Esmark Stars, has been selected by the North American Prospects Hockey League as the second star - 16U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense) for his performance in the NAPHL's opening league showcase in Blaine, MN in September.

Jacob Acton, goaltender, San Jose Jr. Sharks was selected first star and Max Quartermua, goaltender, Lansing Capitals, was selected as thrid star.

The NAPHL U16 division is comprised of four regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series, in February 2014, in which the top teams will compete for a league championship.  Last season, the Esmark Stars U16 club (Pittsburgh Viper Stars) advanced to the league championship game before falling to Omaha AAA.

The second NAPHL event of the 2013-14 season will take place from October 18 - 21 at the Shark's Ice in in San Jose, California.

The NAPHL, which celebrates its fifth season in 2013-14, is composed of 16 teams Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from across North America that compete at the Tier I level.  The NAPHL has established itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure.  Not only have players in the NAPHL received recognition from NHL Central Scouting, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams.  The NAPHL, which is sanctioned by USA Hockey, utilizes the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and is designed to maximize the exposure of all participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events that attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.  The NAPHL provides an organizaed and competitive experience with an unrivaled scouting presence, guarenteed to benefit all of the participating student-athletes and programs.  For more information on the NAPHL, please visit www.naphl.com.

First NAPHL Event of the Season Sets New Standard

The final day of competition of the first NAPHL event of the season, the 11th annual NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, concluded on Sunday, Sept. 22.  By all accounts, the showcase, which featured over 80 teams competing in the five-day event, was the best to date.

An all-time record of 347 scouts checked-in at the Showcase, including Junior A, NCAA Division I, NCAA Division III and NHL ranks.

Many of the scouts remarked that the competition in the NAPHL is at an all-time high. Now in its fifth season the NAPHL has established itself as one of the premiere training grounds for development in North America and is designed to maximize the exposure of all the participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events like this past week’s NAHL Showcase.

All 32 teams in the NAPHL played five regular season games at the NAHL Showcase. As a testament to the early parity that exists in the league for this season, only two teams at each age division made it through the five games undefeated.  Here is a summary of the event:

18U Division
After the first five games, two teams remain with perfect 5-0-0 records, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and the Lansing Capitals. Both picked up five wins in their first five games thanks to a steady offense and a stingy defense, and both have nearly the same goals for as goals against. The Ducks are being led by second-year forward Riley Hummitsch, who has eight points in five games. The Capitals got contributions from just about everyone this past weekend. Ronald Hein leads the team with nine points and forward Zach Roberts had two of the five game-winning goals this past weekend.

Right behind the Ducks and Capitals are a trio of teams with 4-1-0 records including the Texas Tornado, Omaha AAA Hockey Club and Pursuit of Excellence.  Texas is under the direction of two new coaches, Landon Wilson and Jon Klemm, both of who are former NHL players. Defenseman Colin Whitt is second among 18U defensemen in scoring with six points. Omaha, who is coached this season by 16U coach and former NHL’er David Wilkie, boasts the 18U Division’s top scorer in Nathan Medeiros (10 pts.) and the 18U’s top goalie in Justin Ketola (.83 GAA).  Pursuit is lead by 15-year-old scoring sensation Tyler Benson, who had nine points in his first five games and who also had the scouts buzzing at the event.

The Pikes Peak Miners had a good event, finishing with a 3-1-1 record and who boast the 18U’s top scoring defenseman in David Dziezawiec. Behind Pikes Peak sits West Michigan and California with 3-2 records and the Esmark Stars, who are at 2-2-1. After that, St. Louis and Cleveland are at 2-3-0, followed by New Jersey at 1-2-2.  San Jose and Phoenix are both at 1-4-0, Atlanta sits at 0-4-1 and Detroit is 0-5-0.

16U Division
In the 16U Division, no one was surprised as last year’s Champion Omaha jumped out to another undefeated event.  When the Midget Minor 16U national rankings come out later this month, Omaha is expected to be a Top 3 team in the country.  Forward Tarek Baker registered 18 points in five games and is on an early assault to break the single-season NAPHL scoring record. However, the Lansing Capitals gained a lot of interest with their play over the weekend. The Capitals outscored their opponents by a combined 26-1 score in the five games, surrendering just a single goal during the event.  Defensively, Lansing was as solid as any team at the event and both goalies, Max Quertermus and Colt Hanks posted two shutouts while in Blaine.

Three 16U teams finished the Showcase with 4-1-0 records including the New Jersey Jr. Titans, the San Jose Jr. Sharks and the Pikes Peak Miners. San Jose was led by goalie Jacob Acton who posted three shutouts at the event and didn’t surrender a single goal in 153 minutes of action. Forward Ryan Walker’s 13 points and defenseman Brad Becker’s eight points led New Jersey. Pikes Peak did it with goaltending as both David Fessenden and Ty Bever finished the event with identical 94.1% save percentages.

The Anaheim Jr. Ducks had a solid event, finishing with a 3-1-1 record.  Also on the winning side of things were the California Titans, Esmark Stars and Texas Tornado, who all finished the event with 3-2-0 records.  St. Louis is the lone team at 2-3-0.  Four teams are 1-4-0 including Atlanta, Pursuit of Excellence, Phoenix and West Michigan. Detroit and Cleveland are both 0-5-0.

Pittsburgh Viper Stars Become Esmark Stars

The Pittsburgh Viper Stars AAA Tier I amateur hockey club has announced it has reached agreement with Pittsburgh-based Esmark, Inc., to serve as primary sponsor for the club’s Tier I AAA amateur hockey teams for the next five years.

“We are honored to be associated with a partner of Esmark’s stature,” said Viper Stars founder Dave Kosick. “We have enjoyed a close working atmosphere with Esmark for the past few years and look forward to an even stronger relationship for many years to come.”

Esmark is a diversified, privately-held family company with a portfolio of industrial companies with strong roots in the steel industry. Over the years, Esmark has diversified its interests and operations into a number of businesses engaged in the industrial and commodity sectors.

Since its reemergence on the public scene, Esmark has invested both considerable time and resources with a number of community, philanthropic and youth development initiatives.

“We are delighted to enhance our relationship with the Viper Stars program. Not only have they provided ice hockey playing opportunities to many of the top young players from the western PA region for the past 30 years, they have mentored these young men and helped them with the transition into adulthood.” said Esmark CEO James Bouchard.

“As a family-owned and managed enterprise, Esmark has been an active and committed member of the communities in which it operates,” said Esmark president Greg Pilewicz. “We believe strongly in supporting selective partners who share the same philosophical goals of youth development through education, recreation, and human services as well as provide families with access to critical programs and humanitarian services,”

As part of the agreement, the Viper Stars, who are members of the NorthAmerican Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), will now play under a new name, Esmark Stars, with a new logo.

The Viper Stars AAA program has offered many of the region’s top amateur ice hockey players an opportunity to showcase their skills on a national and
international level over the past 29 years under the names Pittsburgh Stars, Steel City Stars and most recently Pittsburgh Viper Stars. Drawing players primarily from western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio, the newly named Esmark Stars program is an elite travel level program designed to showcase players for junior and collegiate opportunities. 

The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) and USA Hockey, offer western Pennsylvania and the tri state area the only Tier I AAA full season travel ice hockey program that encourages participation on both the travel and interscholastic levels. The NAPHL, composed of 32 Midget Major (18U) and Midget Minor (16U) teams from 16 programs across North America that compete at the USA Hockey Tier I AAA level, begins its fifth season in 2013-14.

The NAPHL continues to establish itself as the premiere training ground for development and exposure. Participants in the league have been have been selected in the NHL Draft, recognized by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, dozens have received scholarships to NCAA Division I schools, and hundreds more have been drafted and tendered by the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) teams.

Pittsburgh Viper Hockey, parent organization for the Esmark Stars and western Pennsylvania’s premier amateur ice hockey organization, has provided a memorable hockey experience to thousands of area youths since 1964. The organization provides top instruction to boys and girls of all skill levels through its Pittsburgh Vipers and Esmark Stars programs. Devoted to promoting the growth of amateur ice hockey on a local and national level, NHAHA is a proud member of the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League, and USA Hockey and offers competition at the Tier I & Tier II (AAA, AA, A and B) levels, as well as in house program and the USA Hockey ADM Program.

STARS In the News