Team Maryland, EHL Reveal 2020-21 Schedule

The Eastern Hockey League announced Monday that they’ll be kicking off their 2020-21 season September 18th, which would be the earliest league start of any of the junior leagues. Team Maryland is in the EHL, therefore their schedule has been revealed, as well.

Some shuffling, though, in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, as the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers were bought and moved to Somerset, New Jersey to become the Protec Jr. Ducks. The North Carolina Golden Bears have seemingly left the EHL and possibly the junior hockey scene for the time being. Also moving away from the EHL is the Philadelphia Revolution–though they’ll be focusing on their lower level teams, while moving in conference is the Connecticut Chiefs.

For Team Maryland, they’ll get things going on September 22nd with a road match-up against the Chiefs, while the home slate of their schedule will being September 26th as they welcome the Jr. Ducks to Piney Orchard. TM currently has 18 games at home and 20 on the road, with no Showcases being down in the schedule as of yet; but those will account for the eight remaining games based on last year’s 46-game setting.

If all goes well, hockey is just around the corner at Piney Orchard, which means we can expect some more roster announcements coming soon. TM already announced Connor Ball, Kyle Nestepny, and Vincent Maurice returning and the addition of Nick Graziano and Ethan O’Connor joining the team, things are looking like they’re coming together for TM to build off their playoff appearance of last season.

NAHL Sets October 9th As 2020-21 Opener

While this news happened Monday, I’ve need some time to process the NAHL announcement of their opening night. Of course, with what’s gone on in sports already this year; this announcement is met with cautious optimism. We all want the show to go on, but you have to wonder how the landscape will look even three months from now.

The basics of this announcement is that the 2020-21 season will start October 9th with a schedule coming out around September 1st. With the later start, that pushes back other things, with the NAHL Showcase moving to December 16-19, the Top Prospects Tournament moving to February 8th and 9th, and the Robertson Cup happening May 21st to 25th.

It’s great news and something that came a lot quicker than though, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said during the Draft last week there’d be something in the next few weeks– not just six days from when he last spoke. But, as I mentioned earlier, it’s cautious optimism that must be held in this. Looking at the sporting landscape, we see how things can work out well and how things can turn on a dime.

Sports that are regulated within a bubble have been fine with testing and quarantining and the like. However, when you look at Major League Baseball and their traveling all over the US; things haven’t been as great for testing. That’s a fear I have with the NAHL in that they are going to have young kids moving about each and every weekend. Granted, these players are monitored very closely with billets at home and by the team on the road, but there’s always cause for concern when it comes to this.

Another aspect is how different cities and states look at outsiders coming into their state from what could be considered a high-risk area. Many states have isolation restrictions for certain areas, which means some teams may not be able to play in certain locales because of that restriction. On top of that, fans in attendance move a lot of teams in terms of revenue and the question will become if fans will be allowed in the area, how many fans, and what that could do to some teams in the league. It may not be as bad as the minor leagues may face, but it could be cause of a bit of concern for some teams.

Regardless of how it turns out months from now, there’s a speck of hope going forward with the NAHL season returning in a bit of a delayed timeline. Let’s just hope things continue to be on the right track and stays on the proper track to get a full season in.

Black Bears Bring Six-Pack of Pop to Their Roster

The NAHL Draft has come and gone for the Maryland Black Bears, their third in franchise history. To get to the 28-player limit, the Black Bears selected six players, with all of them having potential of not only making the roster, but making an impact for the team. So, here’s a look at the picks:

Daniel Colabufo: At the 10th overall pick, the Black Bears go with offense with pick Colabufo out of the Northwood School. Through his career at Northwood and West Genesee High School, Colabufo has been around a point-per-game player. With West Genesee, he racked up 78 points and 78 assists in three seasons before moving to Northwood. At Northwood he had 52 goals and 109 points in 114 prep school games, while putting up 14 goals and 30 points in 28 games at the NAPHL 18U level. Colabufo was slated to go to the Alberta Junior League to play with Bonnyville, but with the border closed– that destination is up in the air. It would be a huge gain for the Black Bears if the Holy Cross commit heads to The Den next season.

Kevin Scott: A bit of a familiar pick with the next one, as Scott was selected in the third round. The young defenseman suited up for the Black Bears in January to show off, but spent the year with the South Kent Selects. The NoVA born defenseman stands 6’3 and at 17-years-old still has room to grow his game. For a team that will need bodies on the back end, having someone who has dipped their toes into the system is a good start and Scott will be a good fit with this squad.

Billy Hefferle: Coming from the Boston Jr. Bandits, Hefferle is a player who can create scoring and scoring chances with the Black Bears. With 21 goals last season in 48 games, Hefferle looks poise to help with the scoring chances on the Black Bears offense. No stranger to the East Division, Hefferle played three games with the Northeast Generals last season, which should give him some knowledge on what to look forward to this coming year.

Isaiah DiLaura: In a huge move, the Black Bears picked up DiLaura after three season in the WHL at the major junior level. Though a solid goalie in the Minnesota High School ranks, DiLaura had some issues adjusting to the WHL, as shown in his stat-line. However, DiLaura comes as a team-first player, with many of his old teammates complimenting him on his attitude and effort in his travels in the WHL. In what could be a redemption arc for DiLaura, it could be an underrated pick-up for the Black Bears that pays off big in the end.

Jack Williams: After spending time in the USHL last season, Williams was picked up by the Black Bears to help with the intangible side of things. Not necessarily a flashy player, Williams appears positionally sound and should be able to help on the penalty kill side of things. The Northeastern University commit also spent time with the US Developmental Program’s U17 and USHL squads.

Kaydn Fennell: After time in the NA3HL, Fennell will get a chance to jump to the NAHL with the Black Bears. The defenseman had 25 points in 37 games split between New Ulm and Bozeman last year, while amassing 125 penalty minutes in the process. Fennell should add some grit to the Black Bears blueline and his hard-nosed style of play should come in handy with the East Division.

With those six picks, the Black Bears really showed themselves to be serious about leaving no doubt for the playoffs in their third season. With a wide range of picks and talent, they are gearing up for a big impact this season and to make sure that they make Black Bear Nation proud going into the 2020-21 season.

Looking Ahead at the Black Bears 2020 NAHL Draft

The Maryland Black Bears, and the rest of the NAHL for that matter, will be a part of the NAHL Draft that’s being held on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a big day for the players being selected, as well as the teams selecting them as a part of their future. The Black Bears have drafted in the top-five the last two Draft, but this year, they’ll hold the 10th overall pick.

It’s hard to gauge what teams will do. Unlike professional drafts, there’s so many prospects for NAHL teams to pull from, there’s not really an official chart for who’s at the top of the ranks for the Draft. Some times you make a pick and they make a dent in the line-up that next season– like Aden Bruich did last season for the Black Bears. There’s also times where you take a risk at a player who has decent talent, but they don’t join the team– like Steven Agriogianis who went to play in the USHL after Maryland selected him.

Before all of that, you have to look at what the Black Bears have in terms of Tendered contracts. Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Black Bears have signed six players to Tender Contracts: Joseph Borthwick (LHD), Connor Cole (C), Tanner Rowe (F), Shane Albert (RW/C), Chase Tallaire (F), and Farrell Dinn (F)– with Tallaire actually playing a game for the Black Bears this season. Also, you have to take into account the players that were selected in the Supplemental Draft– Matteo Pecchia (LW), Kyle Robinson (LHD), and Matt Shanklin (F).

Those are just the new faces, you have to account for players who may comeback into the fold. The Black Bears have 18 players with eligibility left. Three players– Cooper Black, Brayden Stannard, and Cameron Recchi– were selected in the USHL Phase 2 Draft and will be at their camps in hopes of making that team. There’s probably some other players who will take part in USHL camps, as well– so the roster is very influx with who’s coming back.

One spot the Black Bears may look at is defense. With the maximum of six returnees, one tendered, and one from the Supplemental, the Black Bears might look to the blue-line for some added bodies. While some may think a goalie could be in the mix, that’s not always a necessity for the Draft; unless that goalie is top-tier. Plus, there’s also some solid goalies in-state and kind of “in-house” through Team Maryland that could be looked at, as well.

The upside for the Black Bears is that they select players who are ready to jump in immediately. Eight players who played the majority of the season on the Black Bears last year were picked through the draft, with Philip Ekberg, Luc Salem, and Max Borst playing in the NAHL, but were selected by the Black Bears in this draft.

We’ll have to wait just one more day before we see the next crop of possible Black Bears get their name called out.

Stevenson’s Women Squad Incoming Recruits

After a solid season from a team thought to be in a bit of a rebuild mode, the Stevenson Mustangs women’s hockey squad had a stellar second-half and reached the Final Four of the UCHC Tournament under first year head coach Tori Emoff. With five seniors departing, the Mustangs will need to fill up the cupboard with incoming freshman.

To make up for the departures, the Mustang will have seven skates and two goalies incoming to off-set the loss of the five seniors.

FRANKI CAPPELLO: Coming out of Gilmour Academy, Cappello is a smart player who has great anticipation away from the puck. Cappello isn’t one to force a play that isn’t there. Strong in the face-off dot, as well, Cappello is a great addition up the middle for the Mustangs.

EMILY BRIGHTBILL: In her senior season at Annville-Cleona High, Brightbill was able to register 16 points in as many games during the season. Brightbill’s junior career had her spend time with the Hershey Jr. Bears and Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 19U women’s program, with Brightbill helping the latter team win a Mid-Atlantic AAA championship.

KATIE REID: Another player out of the Jr. Flyers program, Reid is an energy player according to Jr. Flyers’ coach Terry Carkner. Reid helped the Jr. Flyers 16U-AA team to a bronze at Nationals during the 2018-19 season. Grit and energy should help the Mustangs get that added boost throughout the season.

CASSIE CAMPBELL: A former captain of the Princeton Tigerlilies, Campbell has a nose for the net, always getting in the right spots in the high percentage areas and burying almost every opportunity. Campbell’s high IQ of positioning should be a great asset to Stevenson.

GRACIE PAYNE: The first rearguard on this list, Payne comes into Stevenson from her hometown of Palmer, Alaska after a solid season with the Valley Thunder and Palmer High School Moose. Payne provided three assists with each squad last season and the hopes is that with time, those numbers will climb as she jumps into college.

AINSLEY KING: The first goalie on our list, King is a quick reflexed goalie, who has great ability to pick up the puck through traffic and steer rebounds into safe areas. Aggressive at cutting down the angles from the top of her crease, King doesn’t seem to put herself too far out of position when second-chance opportunities arise.

SIDNEY HEARN: Another netminder, Hearn comes out of the Shakopee High School system; where Hearn had 13 wins in 22 starts with three shutouts, a 1.99 GAA, and a .921 save percentage as a two season player. Positionally sound, Hearn plays well at the top of her crease.

HANNAH LABBE: After a successful stint with the Anaheim Lady Ducks where she lead the team in goals in 2017-18, Labbe moves to the Boston Shamrocks and then the famed Little Caesars program last season. With a proven scoring touch and drive to get better, Labbe will be a big addition to this young team.

AISHLING CAVANAUGH: Cavanaugh comes to Stevenson from Salve Regina University and the Vermont Academy. A versatile player, Cavanaugh can play any skater position on the ice, while adding size to the team with her 5’8 frame and active stick around the rink.

Mustangs Men’s Team Finalize 2020-21 Freshman Class

Even with the uncertainty going on, it has to be business as usual for college hockey teams. In that, the Stevenson University Mustangs men’s program has finalize their incoming class for the season. The team unveiled their newest players over the last month on their Twitter account, but why not put it in one spot for all to see??

There are 14 skaters and a lone goalie in this new class. With only 12 skaters and goalie departing from last season, there will be a lot of tough calls for head coach Dominick Dawes on how he’s able to manage the roster if these freshmen are to breakout in a big way.

ERIC OLSON: Olson will be very familiar with Maryland hockey fans, as he was the captain of the Jamestown Rebels this last season and had a tendency to let his emotions get the best of him. That said, he was a solid forward with 36 points in 56 games last season. The Calgary native has bounced around three leagues in his last two seasons, but does provide solid upside and plenty of solid play in the dirty areas.

BLAKE COLMAN: The big defenseman from Needham, Massachusetts found his scoring touch this last season with Islanders HC in the NCDC with five goals and 28 points in only 36 games after being moved to the Islanders a quarter of the way into the season. Whether or not he’ll be able to continue that and get his ice time with the Mustangs will be battled out at camp.

BRENDAN RYLOTT: Primarily playing in the OJHL, Rylott was able to mature as he got consistent playing time with the Burlington Cougars last season. A serviceable forward will help the Mustangs with some secondary scoring and as an energy component for the upcoming season and beyond.

JACK GOODMAN: Another defenseman on the bigger side, Goodman was the alternate captain for the New Hampshire Avalanche of the EHL. Goodman comes from the PAL Junior Islanders program before his only season in the EHL and will be more of a stay-at-home defenseman, which should compliment Colman very well.

MAC LOWRY: Lowry comes to Stevenson after a storied career with his hometown Cobourg Cougars, where his #46 was retired after his last game there. Playing all five season with his hometown team, Lowry will provide solid offensive prowess up the middle and a winning pedigree, as Lowry was a part of the RBC Cup champions (Junior A Championship in Canada) during the 2016-17 season.

JJ FECTEAU: The Georgia native could be coming into Stevenson with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after a down season with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. Prior to that, Fecteau showed off in the USPHL with the Connecticut Jr. Rangers with 51 points in 44 games during the 2018-19 campaign. With something to prove, Fecteau could be one to watch coming into Stevenson.

JUSTIN VICKERS: A two-position player at forward and defense, Vickers does possess some offensive ability from the blueline with the New Jersey 87s in the EHL. As he’s gone along in his career, Vickers has improved each season and shows no signs of stopping that trend going into the NCAA ranks.

EVAN BEERS: Beers found a home with the Vermont Lumberjacks last season after bouncing around in 2018-19. With a solid home, Beers was able to show his worth with 23 assists in 46 games from the blueline. Though he’s not as tall as his other incoming defenders, Beers’ offensive play could help him break into the line-up now and again.

ZACH EGBER: After having a point per game partial season with New Jersey in the EHL in 2018-19, Egber had his scoring drop when he went to Twin City of the NCDC this past season. However, the intangibles that Egber brings to the table is what make him an alternate captain with the Twin City Thunder the past season.

MARK TOSTI: Spending the last three season with the Philadelphia Revolution in the EHL, Tosti was able to garner a leadership role for the Revolution this past season and had his best year yet with 44 points in 45 games, which he hope to keep going in his first year of college hockey.

CADEN HALVERSON: The Texas native came through the Dallas Stars AAA program before moving east and landing with the Charlotte Rush of the USPHL last season. Halverson can provide both on the goal side of the scoresheet and as a set-up man, as well.

MATT DOUGHTERY: Probably a hidden gem in this recruiting class, Doughtery was a huge contributor with the Richmond Generals the past two seasons in both their Elite and Premier program. As he moved up the rungs of hockey, Doughtery has been able to answer the call with each advancement and should be one to look at as a Rookie of the Year contender.

ALEX McBEY: Another Texas native signed on with the Mustangs, as McBey moves over to Stevenson after two years with the Philadelphia Little Flyers of the EHL. With 19 goals and 53 points in 79 games, McBey should be a solid contributor down the line charts.

MATT KRIEGER: Some growing pains in his move to the NCDC coming out of high school, Krieger will need to find his way through the line-up and use his intangibles to help himself solidify a spot on the roster as a freshman.

MATT LANE: The long netminder in the class, Lane posted a 1.81 GAA and .940 save percentage with New Hampshire in the EHL. While he might be hard pressed to usurp Ryan Kenny between the pipes, the rookie should get some looks as the year goes on.

Hello and Welcome!!

When thinking about it over and again– I’ve decided to make the Chesapeake Hockey Week into a sort of blog– now known as

This decision was due to making sure my writing about Maryland hockey had it’s own place outside of my regular blog and that the podcast had a home that was more than just a Facebook page or podcast hosting site. It just makes sense to have one spot for it all.

Having a dedicated spot is always a good thing for the greater good, especially when it’s a simple website to give out rather than the other options. So, enjoy, follow, and all that. Once we get news, we’ll put it up here.