THE #ESHOW
THE #ESHOW

Episode · 1 month ago

EHL 10th Anniversary Team of the Week (New EHLP Teams) | Episode 123

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this week's episode of the #EShow, we officially welcome the trio of new EHLP teams to the podcast. This fall marks the start of the 8th season in EHLP history, and with the additions of the Adirondack Jr. Thunder, the Union Jr. Thunder, and the Pennsylvania Huntsmen, the EHLP will have never been bigger with 15 teams set to hit the ice. The podcast begins (1:32) with an interview featuring Glenn Merkosky, who is at the helm up in Adirondack, playing in the same building as their ECHL pro team. Moving along to our second 'Thunder' team (17:02), Sam Tafel joins the podcast to talk about how years of building a youth program have led to this new junior team. Finally, to wrap things up (31:36), Zach Overholtzer is the General Manager for the Huntsmen, and he too felt like the next best step for his organization was to add a junior team at the top.

Welcome to the e show with Neil Rabbit. Founded in two thousand and thirteen, the EHL has become the college placement leader on the East Coast. Sit Back and learn more about the next step in your junior hockey career. Welcome to the east show, presented by the belly box foundation. The foundation's mission centers around their daily motto we take care of our own as they help out all of those within the hockey community who experienced a catastrophic event. Learn more at Pelly box foundation dot Org. What's up? My name is Neil Raven and this episode number one hundred and twenty three of the show. On this week's episode, we officially welcome in the trio of new EH LP teams to the podcasts. This fall marks the start of the eighth season and EH LP history and with the additions of the Adirondad Junior Thunder, the union junior thunder and the Pennsylvania Huntsman, the EH LP will have never been bigger, with fifteen teams set to hit the ice. The podcast begins with an interview featuring Glenn Murkosky, who was at the helm up an adirondack playing in the same building as their ECHL PRO team. Moving along to our second thunder team, Sam Taff Will George The podcast talk about how years of building a youth program has led to this new junior team. Finally, to wrap things up, Zach overhold sir is the GM for the huntsman and he too felt like the next best step for his organization was to add a junior team at the top. Joy now like Ladmrcosky, the head coach and GM of the new adder on dad junior thunder. How's it going, Glenn? It's going great here. We're slowly getting our hockey for hockey program off the ground and rolling and keep it us busy, for sure. Yeah, well, on a fake you for coming on the PODCAST. An episode or focus on all three new EHLP teams. Technically, you guys were the first ones of the three. I can kind of put that feather in your cap, but can you go back to when the team became official and when they reached out to you to become the first head coach? What was that conversation like? It wasn't easy and easy decision for you. Well, what actually happened is is I'm on the board with the with the professional team, the East Coast Hockey League team and they asked me if I would join the board for the junior team and we sat down and I had we had our first meetings with the with with ownership and with Todd and dad, ship woods and and and we talked about coaches and and after the meeting I got on the phone with one of the high school coaches, who need Williams, who was also involved in the selection process, and I said, you know, Dean, this would be a perfect job for you. You Know You're coaching high school, but it's a it's a higher level to be a great job for you. And he said he you know, it's something that he would like to do and would be in his plans in the future, but being a high school teacher and involved with, you know, with with the travel and some of the midweek stuff, just wouldn't be able to do it. And I'm retired and now I'm coaching and you know, it was it was interesting because, you know, with my kids playing, you know what, I've looked at some of the junior be programs and things like that and I go and be kind of kind of kind of cool to coach a team in your hometown and, you know, coach some of the kids. And so yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. So you can kind of say that this wasn't planned but you're excited. Yeah, I don't way. Definitely wasn't planned, but but, but, yeah, but I am excited for it. Like I said, you know, I coached your years and years ago in the American Hockey League and I never left and you know, obviously raising a family, raising kids, I was involved a little bit in youth hockey. As my kids got older, I stepped I stepped out and stepped away and and let somebody else coach them. But you know, my my youngest son is going to play...

...for us this year as an age out and and looking forward to that, that challenge. And you know we have a couple kids here with different stories. We had a couple of boys who, one of them in particular, that hasn't played hockey and a couple of years and and you know, all of a sudden with this team coming back to towns he's excited to play again and he's gonna be back playing. So you know, there's going to be some unique challenges, not only not only for her for them as hockey players, but for them as young men starting to grow up and make the next step into their life. And I want to get to those stories in a second here. But you mentioned how you previously coachs and out on deck you played as well. Want to want a couple called our cups. What was it about the community there that kind of kepts you in that area? It's just it's a great place to live and you know, we probably, and I tell this, but I talk to some of the kids that are coming up here, you know we probably have between half a dozen ten retired professional players who set up set up shop and live here and and we laugh about it. You're driving up the northway from Albany and usually we came in, you know, after training camp. So it's dark and you're driving up the North Way, you're going, where the heck am I going? And you know, years later we're all living here and it was just a great place to live. It's a great place to bring up a family. A lot of us at that time when we were players, you know, we were in our S and we were starting families and it was just it was a just a great place to live and you know, that's that's it's a funny story. And now I've lived most of my life here. Being that you want a pair of call their cups there with this, now that I've learned about core, are you guys kind of celebrities in the town? Are Not really. Well, you know what a want of you know you. You quite often here the line. You were my grandma's favorite players. So so, I guess a little bit. But so our, let's say, are our fan base is dwindling. Okay, you started to talk about some of the stories of the players that are coming in. I want to start with your first signing. You signed a player named Jack Randall, who has experience in the League. How beneficially do you think that will be for you guys to have someone that's already played in the EH LP? Well, I think it'll be very beneficial. It's talk. It's also I mean that's helped me in some ways. You know, when when we when we had our camps and stuff like that, I was able to talk to Jack and you'll get a get a feel for him. Of You know what he thought our skill level was compared to other teams in the League. So so certainly his leadership that way has been good and and and again he's one of those kids that he's the same age as my son. My son and him are close friends and and I've coached Jack Randall since he was probably eight years old. So you know, I'm good friends with obviously with him and his family and you know, to have him be a part of it, you know, it wasn't it was important to me and I thought that it would be. He would be a great player. He's very enthusiastic about hockey, he loves the game of hockey and he represents every team he plays for very well and to make him the first signing for us I thought would be figuratively a nice gesture. And you bring up a story of a player who hadn't played in a few years but now, because as a team in the area, he's getting back into the Games. Is that I call that you made to that player, to that player reach out to you guys. Well, I again you know these these he was another player that I coached throw youth hockey and and I knew his parents. is in his grandfather, and you know, we talked and things like that, and and they were they were saying, you know, he's gotten away from hockey and he's doing other things and you know, it's sure be nice to see him play again and you know I had a I had a conversation with them and, you know, I think he got the excitement back, you know, to play again. His equipment was...

...his ward out in a little old he hasn't happened for a few years. But you know, I think it's it's he's going to he's he's probably I mean I've coached kids over the years going back to you know, my oldest kids are in their late s and I don't know if I've ever met a better athlete than this, than this boy. So okay, you know, I think the adjustment to getting back to playing shouldn't be that hard for him, but it's going to be a fun experience and again, I think it's one of those things where, you know, aside from hockey, it can be a very positive thing in his life and and and something you can build on and in that community that we've talked about it a little bit here so far. You guys have this facility that I've never been to, but I hear it's great. I know it may not be full at all. Forty seven hundred seats when you guys play, but can you talk a little bit about the rink and what it has to offer you and your program well, the community has been very supportive of us. We have we got a grant from the city for Fiftyzero, and when I say the city, not the city itself, but the but a group of business people who help with the the you know, I guess, financially help different companies and businesses, new businesses start up and they're going to. They gave us a Fiftyzero bill or check or whatever to build our own locker rooms. So we're building our own locker room there. Will have our own locker room. You know, with with with the PRO team we're with, they have like a full sized gem of full scale gym that will have access to. We plan on starting a program and obviously we're in the hunt right now for a new coach for our pro team and this will have to be cleared through him. But but I know that they've been very they've been very positive for that. Some sort of mentorship program where the players on our team have like a big brother playing on the pro team and somebody you can exchange phone numbers with talk to. And you know, the pro players there. They're going to be between twenty two thirty two years old usually, and it wasn't that long ago that they were going through this whole junior experience themselves. And you know, we can, we can match the players up and, like I said, you know they can. They can have a big brother, somebody look up to on the big team and as far as the pro team goes, and don't it's always kind of Nice to be somebody's hero too and somebody that you can help along the way. So so we think that that can be a program that that helps. It helps both teams and helps our players and and gives the gives the pro team some some leadership qualities, and we know when those guys go and talk to schools, they can, they can take our guys with them and drag them along and and and just show them how they do it and how they carry themselves in public at things like that, and that to be that'll be a big part of our program but yeah, our facility, we got a beautiful facility. They put a new clock up a couple years ago that we'll have for our games, you know, with the with the screen, the video board and everything like that on it, and so yeah, it's going to be a it's going to be a very nice facility. I'm glad you brought that up because I was in the ass how you guys are going to kind of tie things together between the EHLP team in the ECHL team. You mentioned how they may go do some mentorship with them. Is it also going to be a requirement for your guys, when home and that Echl team is home, to go watch them play? Well, I don't know if it's going to be a requirement, but it'll certainly be something I think they're going to want to do. You know, we're when we have a game, if we have a game on a Saturday and the pro teams playing that night, you know our players will just probably stay at the rink and and stay for that game. But it won't be a requirement, but it'll be it'll be something that we do occasionally. I guess probably, now that you mentioned it. As a coach, it'd be nice to have them all there once in a while and, and I mean even on a day if we're going to be at the rink and we don't have ice that particular day on a weekend, come just come watch a practice for a day and we can sit and watch and practice for half an hour and then do our off...

...ice workouts and things like that and just, you know, get a feel for the for for what it's, what it's like at that next level we you know, I was on the ice a couple times with the with with the with the big thunder last year and these post Hockey League got ten or fifteen years ago. was was a little bit more of a beer league. And I was out there this year and and I was absolutely amazed at the speed and how fast they were in their execution. It's these guys are good players and, you know, I think it's good for our for our guys, not only to see, not only see how fast they are and how well they execute and and things like that. They do that they'll do. I mean they do the same drills that we do. They just do it was so much faster and so much better execution and and you know, that's one of the things I've always tried to teach kids. It's not like when you learn something, it's not like you're going from you know, from Algebra to trigonometry. It's the same game. It's just done faster and it's done crisper and you know it's good for them to see that and and certainly the level of fitness and the level of commitment these guys have that you know, I think you always think as a player, you always think you're working hard and doing things and until you see somebody else do it at a higher level. And I know in training camps and in I work with the Detroit Red Wings for thirty years and you know we'd have our we'd have our draft picks come to training camp and you know we'd have our practices and our practices would be high tempal practices and the junior kids, they would be, after to say, be showered out, showered up and shuffling out of the locker room, you know, exhausted, and they look at the weight room and there's guys like Chris Chelios on the on the exercise bike and and doing things like that, and that's how you learn. And then you know that the you know it's not too long before those guys are doing the exact same thing. So it's always good to you know, you always have the coach saying do this, do that and pushing you and pushing you, but when you see peers and guys, other players do it. It's it. It leaves a different taste for sure. And let's get back to the visions for your program here. To wrap things up. You put out a quote or a message when the team first got announced back in January. Not Going to be the whole quote here, but there was a specific sentence that kind of stuck out to me and you said we are a hockey program, but not a hockey only program. He could. Can you talk more about what you meant by that? Well, you know what I like. I said, you know what I have. I have kids that I that I've coached when, you know, when they were, you know, like they're in their s now, and you know, I always tell people, you know what my win lost program was when I was coaching youth hockey, and they'd say no, what was it? Nice? I don't have a clue. But you know, it's about the development of the kids and and you know, to see these kids that you've coached go on to do bigger and better things in their life like that. That's I think as a coach, and especially as a coach of young men. They're there at a critical age in their life where they know, they've got a lot of things on their played, a lot of decisions to make, and if you can have a bearing on on that and and help them on that road, I mean they get tired of here and mom and dad tell him what to do and how to do things. And and you know what, when I think when you see players, when you see players that you've coached go on to do well or whether you know, obviously in school and then and then in their career and in their job, there's a lot to take a lot of pride in that and it's and it's and it's good to see him like you know, so so that. I think that's what I meant by that. You know, I was very fortunate right when I coach the Ohl. We had with the Sudbury Wolves, our one thousand nine hundred and seventy five birth year players. We had ten players off one team going the NHL draft in one season, which wow, you know, like ten players off one team and one NHL draft. We were most of any team in the world. And you know what, I still have a get together with these guys once in a while now. They had they invite me back. So I guess of age got a little bit...

...soft or that they're they're that they welcome me back to their mix. But but you know, not all of them went on to play in the NHL. Some of them went on to, you know, play hockey in Europe and open up businesses and do businesses and things like that. And and you know what, it's very satisfying as a coach to see the people that you worked with be successful. And I mean, you know, some of them are tough. Guy went on to be a doctor and and you know, so you don't see, you don't see what's coming down the road or there for their futures and everything, but you hope that maybe some of the things that you did helped a little bit. And again, you know, that's what it is. Certainly it is more than a hockey program. It's awesome. Well, I want to appreciate I appreciate you coming on the podcast here for the first time. I know I speak for the entire League when I say we're excited to have you guys in the League. So I hope you get a chance to enjoy a little bit of the offseason while getting ready for your first year in the EH LP. It's very busy, but yeah, we're certainly enjoying it up here. Thank you very much. Thank you. Joined now by Sam Taffold, the head coach and Assistant Gm of the Union junior thunder. How's it going, Sam? Hey, I'm pretty good. How a boy yourself doing well and I appreciate you coming on the podcast for the first time? Another welcome to the to the EH LP, if you will. That's this obviously an episode talking with all three of our new EH LP teams. I know I was involved in the process, but the fans listening at home weren't. Can you kind of take us back through your initial emails to me and getting into the EH LP? Yeah, you know, as our organization started looking into junior team, we started doing our research of leagues in the area and, you know, the ehl really stood out. You know, not only you know, we see it all the time how many commitments and advancement the League has, but I think more importantly, we saw the stability of the League. We saw the leadership at the head of it, whether it's, you know, the front office or the teams themselves, and it really started with, you know, filling out one of those contact forms on the website and reaching out to you and expressing our interest. So started simple and got a lot more complicated from there, but in a good way. You know, whether it was you know, but I think one thing that was really beneficial to us, and I think I've seen it. You know, he said one of the many welcomes, I think one of the first welcomes we got was some assistance from already established EHL programs helping us through that process and identifying what we needed to provide, and I think that really helps tream on the process and, you know, ended up pretty well, I think, since we're here right now, for sure. I mean I know I was a part of that process, but I wanted to hear you say it say off for the group let's listening at home. Different from the first thunder interview on this podcast, though, Glenmorcosky didn't really expect to be the head coach. It just ended up being that he became the head coach. He's obviously excited your your programs vision. You were always going to be the head coach. You talk about your experience with the Union thunder and how the years leading up to this point. Have you guys ready to now dip your tone to junior hockey. Yeah, absolutely, I so. I started with a couple other organizations and also worked in scouting consulting at the junior level and I came over with thunder about five years ago and what I really liked about the program here was it was about development. It is about advancing guys and moving guys up, and we really found ourselves in a position where we at our old are you eighteen levels and even after you a teens, we saw our guys moving on to higher level that we couldn't provide and we just we never wanted to hold them back because we wanted what's best for the players, because it's about development and if we don't have the level to develop you, then we got to do our job and get you to the next level. And as we started being the growth of our program to up...

...to five hundred youth player program we wanted we wanted to have that avenue for players where if they don't want to leave, they didn't have to. We wanted to give them a place where, rather than outgrowing us, they can grow into it. And with that in mind, we started discussing different possibilities of how we can provide that level. With me as the head coach of the program and it. We found that having a junior team and the EHLP to start would be the best way to do that. So we were, I've been in block step with our management team the entire time, whether it's, you know, me using them as a resource from the business aspect of things or them using me as a resource from the hockey operations end of it. It's been a team effort from the beginning, but also knowing whose roles was who right from the are and I'm glad that you brought up the management team because when I talk about all the different programs in our league, I like to emphasize so every program is different, but there's also many aspects that are similar to and what I've what I've now come to buy myself saying a lot, is that two teams that are kind of similar in a way are the union thunder and the Worcester railers, because their eath each led by these, we're going to call them, powerful families, because you have the you have the Odessa's, it was today, have the Anderson's at the helm down with you guys in Union. How valuable has your time with the Anderson family been and just the experience that they have. How beneficial would that be for your program I don't know if words could even described I you know, experience this key, but I think also having great decision makers and people who make those decisions for the right reasons is just as important. I think the Anderson's have done that ever since they open up their rink in two thousand and one and even to their credit, they added the used to have a junior team. I mean I'm probably dating myself with this, but you remember the Old Empire League in the Thja League back in the mid two thousand. They were the first home for the New Jersey Wildcat and Matt Anderson, who's one of our owners now, actually played for them when they first swear out of that rink. So I think with having Anderson's there and showing that not only can they run a great eat drink as a business, but they can also run a great youth program that's grown from ten years ago to just one or two local travel teams to five hundred plus youth program with now a junior affiliate, I think speaks for itself. But they've been you know, but their experienced not only as management of a rank and a youth organization, but even some experience work in the wildcats in the mid two thousands has really established put us in a place where we can establish ourselves to have just a good program that has a good culture and a good community that gets players better and a good environment a hundred percent and a good rank to I haven't been to the facility yet. Obviously I plan to this season, but from what I hear it's a great spot to be. I mean you're right in the heart of New Jersey and I hear there's a smaller kind of skills sheet there. Can you talk more about that? Yeah, so we have a main sheet and then in the back, you know in the two thousands they almost had basically a fifty to fifty yard football field back and about sixty years ago we cut that training facility and half. So now we got about a thirty yard turf field with about three racks fled and a couple bench presses and the other half of it is now mini rank. So what it's really good for is small areas. I think what we try to do is we want to have players make decisions like yeah, it's great working on skills and going around at home.

But what decision are you making when you're putting in a certain space that you don't want to be it? Because they'll when you're playing a game, the team you're playing against wants to put you in a position you don't want to be it. And putting our guys in small areas like that in the in the back there gives them a great opportunity to make different decisions, see what works and also, just important, see what doesn't work and see what you need to work on. And you know, I think it's also great benefits to our goalies with having that additional ice whear hey, you know, maybe the main rink where we don't have an opportunity to get us out there, but we do have a sheet in the back where we can get three or four goalies out there with shooters and make sure that they're honing their skills as well. For sure, and I mentioned that you guys are in the heart of New Jersey and then we get to the scheduling meeting and you guys decide to book the Sevens for your first game. Plans are not plans. Yeah, you know, that's question I have to go up for management. But you know, I think I did mention before how the EHL was very welcoming. I have to give credit to New Jersey seventh and Kiernan being one of those guys. So I think our communications with them, it made a lot of sense to schedule them as our first game. You know, maybe it's going to be a little bit of battle between North Jersey and South Jersey. Yeah, I don't believe in Central Jersey. I'm OK, one of those guys. So you know, I consider eighty seven down down south once you go over the that big bridge. I don't know if you've ever driven down there. Yeah, but that's Out Jersey. So we got a little bit of North Forest South Jersey to open things up, which were really excited about. One of the guys with the eighty sevens you mentioned Karen and Obviously Hui, the coaches there being very welcoming, but another one who's on the podcast with me is anthony to Paulo. Yeah, break I bring him up because often times on the podcast you'll hear Anthony's joke about the schedule maker, which sometime or majority of the time are yourselves, but also can be me. Then I see you guys post your showcase schedule which does come back to me, for of your first five showcase games are against teams that have been to the last two frozen finals. Do you guys, I mean I know I did it, but do you kind of embrace the challenge? Absolutely, I mean I think with anything we do, it's we don't run from challenge, we run to it. So if we want to be an EHL premier team, well, guess what, you got to play the Best Phl premier team. So you know, rather I'd rather have him right from the GETTO. I think not only is going to be a great challenge are going to run to and a great teams to play, but I think that's also going to be a great learning experience for our players and whether they're first year junior players or whether they're junior players from other leagues. You know we're in the be now and this is the level you have to play at and these are the teams that you know we're going to be competing with from a standings aspect all year and these are the teams are hoped to be competing with in Providence in March. It's a great answer to it. And then maybe to wrap up the scheduling, I mentioned the opener, I mentioned the showcase games. Then let's talk about the home opener against another team that's going to be on this podcast and the Pennsylvania Huntsman. was that one plan, because it's two teams early on in the year? I I don't know I who was specifically planned, but I do know that we wanted to find a way where we could have a home game relatively early in our schedule where we were playing a team that we know we're going to see a lot. I think that was really important to us. One thing that's great about the sport, or any sport, is rivalry and playing teams more than one, getting to know them, knowing what they like, knowing what they don't like, knowing that they know you and you need to adjust, and we wanted to have our first game...

...against the team like that, so our first home opener, so that later in the season, you know, as our community continues to grow around this team and support it, you know not only that first game going to be thrilling, but I think once we play on through the third or fourth time, you know that's going to be even more so and lead to some other great home stance, whether it's a home at home. We're going down there for a two games set, so I'm really excited for some good competitive hockey. I think that's all the start with a really nice home opener for us. I'll make sure to ask Zach overhold for this question also. But the the ravelly become born between your two team? You haven't faced each other yet, but did it become born when it felt like every other day about a month ago, you were competing with we sign this guy, we signed this guy. It felt like you guys are going back and forth. Did you even notice it, or was that just me? I noticed that I'd be lying. That's that. I didn't know that. You know, I think for for us, and I think for the Huntsman too, is it's all gas, no break. We want to be able to look yourselves in the mirror and say that we're doing everything we can to run a great program that's going to have a great experience for our players. And you know, when you're sitting there a month ago, there's only so much you can do on the ice, but that doesn't mean you can't create a great atmosphere or put an effort to, you know, have a good program and have things that people want to see. So I think it really started that way and I'm more as much as I think that was cool, I'm not the Social Media Guy, you know. Okay, I'm looking forward to doing it on the ice, but I like all the build up that we're doing, you know, digital airwave and for on the ice. You know, I don't want to make you give me a specific number for wins or losses, but in your first year, do you set the bar somewhere like what at the end, at this time next year, what's going to look back and make you think that was a successful first season for us? If we can look at each of our each of us, and say that we did everything we could to compete, come in, be prepared in that that's going to be success. I think we want to be a team that's known as our tough competitors. You know, play every pop stop and every net lipped, every stick, and you know whether it's a team in our state come in or whether it's dee brow north me like Oh man, I got go New Jersey, you know, and play the thunder I. We want to be able to look at ourselves and say we got better at than the year and that it was a continuous process. You know. Is there a number I want to put on it? Sure, but I think it's also making sure we stick to the right concepts and that developing players and that's what the EHL premier in the EHL's about. But you know, don't get me wrong, we want to be one of those teams that provided the end of the year, but I also know it's just as important to make sure you have players moving up the ladder, whether it's up to the EHL, whether it's from, you know, a role player the HLP to their next year to be in a top contributor. And if we're able to do that, that's going to be a successful season. Perfect. Well, I want to appreciate I want to thank you for coming on the the podcast here for the first time. Won't be the last time for sure, and I know I speak for the entire League when I say we're excited they have you guys in the AHL teague. All right, yeah, thanks so much. Got On a New Jersey team in so you know, with all the damage New Jersey you've been doing and hockey recently, going to get the more teas out here. Perfect. Thank you all right. Thank you, for Dad. I'm joy now by Zach Overhostler, the general manager of the Pennsylvania Huntsman. How's it going, Zach good man? Appreciate you having me on. I appreciate you coming on the third and final interview for this Eh l piece special episode, and what I've kind of done with each of the first two interviews so far is talk about the path to getting into the league, even though you and I both know...

...what that path was because it was you and I talking, but the audience at home doesn't. Can you gotta take the audience at home listening through the path of why you were interested in the EHL and how that conversation started? Yeah, for sure. It's it's pretty unique in the timing kind of seemed just to work out well for us. We were a really good place with our rinking with our local youth organization and some of our spring and summer skills programs that we have. So we had a good database of players. They were just looking for another opportunity to advance, especially after they graduated high school, or they were looking to know what their next two or three years was like leaving graduating high school and going to either college directly or the junior group and I had looked at a bunch of different leagues for our program to join and frankly, you and I just hit it off and we're on the same page with what your league had is the plan and a motto and kind of the direction you were going. It really the kind of welded well with what we were trying to accomplish at ECTON. And the name Pennsylvania Huntsman. We've never had a name kind of like this before. Where do they come from? Well, it's a pretty simple and I'd like to have a more in detail explanation for you, but Exton's not somewhere the people are really familiar with. We always tend to use Philadelphia as our marker, but with everybody have in Philadelphia this and Philadelphia that, I figured we would just leap frogdom and blame the whole state of Pennsylvania for a little junior venture. Okay, and we're trying to come up with a new brand, something that wasn't one of our local youth program names. And a fun fact that I've known for a long time, or at least it might be a fact that somebody will want to check me out here on this Pennsylvania becomes something like the third or fourth largest army in the world, or maybe America, on opening hunting day, opening season, right after thanksgiving. Okay, so I wanted to describe the state. I wanted a nice, mean logo and something new, and it seems like it's catching on, with a little inspiration from our friends and Dallas Stars and their color scheme, and we're often running. That's how I started. I like it's a good answer and I'm glad that you brought the Philadelphia thing, because what's funny is it feels like we replaced what we used to have in multiple flyers. Now only have one flyer with now we have multiple thunders. You're coming in with two thunders, so I guess this is your last chance. If you wanted to change your name the Pennsylvania Thunder, I would take it now, but we're go with the huntsman right. Yeah, we'll probably pass on that one to let them do get out and for the naming rights, I'm not trying to spend any more money here and a little naming battle, but good luck to those guys. Let's jump into the recruiting and scheduling part of this because, as I talked about with with each of the guys before you. Being that it was it's your first year coming in. I'm sure many of the lessons that you're going to learn are going to be stuff that takes place throughout the year. First, with scheduling. The first thing I noticed with what you set up is your first game for your program is not till the first showcase of the season. WAS THAT BY DESIGN? Yeah, and has to do with ice availability. To write. We might do some exhibition stuff in our squad or with other HL programs. Were in talks with them just to kind of get our guys familiar with the level of play and maybe challenge them with some e teams, not just some pe teams. But one of the big things we want to focus on was doing stuff right, taking our time, not just jump it in to deep water. So we're going to spend that first three four weeks of the season, I was actually just talking with coach blaze and the rest of the staff a couple hours ago, and really install everything, take our time and make sure they're all on the same page so that we're set up for success going into September and two September with that showcase makes sense and it gives you plenty of time to really put together a full training camp. And now, in terms...

...of the recruiting, something I found very interesting in getting to know use since we first had our first conversation, and felt like every single time I was texting you or calling you, you were at a game, you were watching a game. Why? What were you trying to look for? Well, that goes all the way back to when you and me first had our conversations, and conversation was we want to make sure there's a good quality product for the League, for the players, for the program and we have a really good first year. So I wanted to, as the gem of this new franchise, set it up for success and digest as much as I could really understand what the leagues about, train my eye specifically to the level of play that I need to put on the ice so that everyone has a good product. So, yeah, you would find me a different showcases. I was up at the NEWINGTON showcase. I spent a whole lot of time at ice works watching games coming in and the little flyers have been great to me. All the guys anthony there and Jimmy Watson really kind of let me come in and see how they operate and build a relationship with them so that everybody has a good kind of connection and we work well together. The League in general has been so welcoming and all the guys and the combine that we went to, and it's been really great to work with everybody. I'm glad that you brought up the NEWINGTON showcase because I'm going to go off the rails for a little bit and don't usually do this with an interview, but I don't know if I've shared this picture with you, but I think we met for the first time at the NEWINGTON showcase and I'm not sure if you know this, but you got caught right in the middle of a picture. So this is the game winning goal from an EHL game. Have I showed you this picture? I have not seen it, and man, that's something, buddy. Maybe this is some content to put on your instagram at some point when you guys first get started this year. I might mean to and if you want to, if Hartnet's out there and he wants me to sign that photo for him while he celebrate the goal, that's perfectly fine. Upset a few copies you can give out to any of his friends and family to love it. So let's get back on track. Then you mentioned blaze earlier. I know I got to meet low at the combine that you just referenced as well. You're the GM. I introduced you as that. But you have a full staff. How how valuable is that for you to have, you know, five guys like this? And why was that so important for you to build a full staff like this? I think it all comes down to the culture and completely avoiding an ego. I'm one that really wants to bring good people around me and bring them all up with me. Been Fortunate enough to know the assistant coachs Lou and been for a very long time and I trust a lot of their but just trust them in general. They have a wealth of knowledge and come from different levels. And then I had come across blaze as I interviewed close to thirty thirty five different guys in various forms and I thought that he was the right connection with his experience where he had played in the Ehl, he had been gone and played at Franklin Pierce, which was Dtwo at that time. I think it made thirty to still. So I wanted to make sure that I all these different guys on the staff were different type of resource to the players, because we're building a roster of one team, but each player needs to be treated individually and everyone's gonna have their strings of weaknesses and their different needs and all of the guys on the staff kind of serve a different purpose or have a different tool in the tool bag and we're really, really fortunate there. And as this summer has progressed, I have to ask this question because I promised Sam Taffa from union I would it's awesome for me to see the announcements come in on players that could s sign because...

...when you sit, when I see here on my desk, like sometimes it feels like I'm my actually, what am I actually working on? Because there's nothing, there's no hockey around me right. Am just sitting in my house and what? Let's take you place. But then you see the player signings come in and you're like, all right, that's what's taking place. Two teams are forming in this and that it felt like for a two week stress it was union thunder versus PA Huntsmen, one after another, competing with signings. Did it feel that way to you or did you guys not even notice as an organization, and Damn right it did. Buddy, we're both out there competing and it was kind of funny because they posted, we posted, and I thought it was just because the time of the year, right. We're both heavily involved in the youth world, so we're both used to working in that quick time frame of talk to people. It's committed people, sign people and then you're done. And he would post an I would post and then it seems we both called on and it was one for them, one for us, back and forth like rapid fire, and it made a lot of fun. And while we were kind of sitting there at the combine when all the coaches got together, which was great to get to meet people in person, we spoke about that a little bit, a little bit of friendly competitions. Good. Yeah, and their home opener is actually what would be your fifth game, which is on October first. So I date that we all have circled probably then the first, the first, raging rights ever you will, but you bring up the combine, which is where I got to see you again and meet Lou how valuable was it, being a new team, just to come in of course, to see all the different talent that wants to be a part of the league, but also just meet all of the coaches in one place. How valuable was that to you? It was probably one of the most valuable things. You know, obviously as P team coming in and then you have a bunch of established organizations that have only e or emp. Everyone's comfortable and they know the roupes, they know what to do. They kind of set in their ways and you wonder how you're going to be received as the new kid on the block. And all the GM's that were there, all of the head coaches, everybody just had a great culture of respect and and we're so open. I think that coming into the league, being having a combine, and this was the first year for the League, from what I understand. Yep, man, it was older valuable. Really really set the tone. It's a great step for us and and one aspect that you have that I guess you can say is not new. You're bringing in a broadcast or in a PA guy who I know very well because they were right down the street from where you guys are with the junior flies for all those years. Can you just talk about I mean they got they're going to want this shout out at the makes sure I give it to them. You just talk about how excited you are to have Jos and Doni and Matt Burman on board because, like I said, they know the league very well from their time with the junior flyers. I'll tell you, I didn't realize what I had until I started talking to some of the guys from the League. So I just had some guys reach out to me and say, Hey, I can help it, I'm interested, and we went through early on and had conversations with him. I didn't think too much of it. I just felt like I checked the box. I accomplished something that we needed to get done early on so we can focus on stuff in season. And then I learned how valuable they were, to the point that I created history and you knew I was going to bring I saw, yeah, I've created the history and the HL and probably the hockey world, because I have the first ever tender for a scorekeeper and play by plaguy. So I want to congratulate them on signing and tender. Yes, and forbody old spans of follow them suit. Please give me credit for that future. Yes, you have the broadcast. You have the you have the play by or the playlet play. I same guy, that the PA guy. You have the coaches, you have the players coming in. I know we've checked in numerous times about where you guys are at. We're still in early June, though.

How Asis are you to get this thing started? I'm ready to go. I have a staff that keeps me in chat right. So, as we talked about earlier, we have been Louis blaze. Everybody, everybody brings a different perspective and and different background that they come from. So every time somebody says let's let's sign some more guys, we need to get ready to go, somebody else to say no, let's just wait, because we have plenty of room on the roster and plenty of time to build a quality squad and the good experience here. Yeah, well, we're beyond excited. If you guys to come in, I know with kind of in order adorntack, then union, then you guys, and you're not taking the thunder name. We established that on this podcast. So we can't wait for that first matchup, though, between you and the union thunder after all the starting. So appreciate you coming on the podcast for the first time. Good luck for the rest of the recruiting and enjoy what we cannot the rest of the offseason as well. Thanks for Shure you having us on, and look at me back sometime soon. Thanks for listening to the e show. Learn more at Eastern Hockey League Dot Org and follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Youtube. Also, be sure to subscribe and get notified when next week's PODCAST is released.

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