NAHL Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

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The article below is one that I originally published on our sister site Blackout Dallas on Feb 5th. In honor of our nations birthday and the young men who have chosen to serve, I have updated the article to include the latest signings and republish here. Please feel free to thank these young men with your comments below.

 

The North American Hockey League is developing tomorrow’s leaders today. The NAHL which is the largest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior A league in the United States is currently competing in its 37th season. The league consists of 24 teams in 13 states from Alaska to New York and Michigan to Texas. The NAHL is the only Tier II Junior A league in the country. Young men come into the NAHL to play hockey at a high level and develop leadership skills both on and off the ice. The league focuses on development of the athletes for career advancement either in a collegiate program or a professional opportunity.

The collegiate portion of that mission has been gaining momentum over the years with larger numbers of NAHL veterans signing commitments to NCAA D-I and D-III programs each year. That is never more evident than with the two US Service Academies that compete in D-I hockey. Both the Army Black Knights and Air Force Fighting Falcons have rosters dominated by previous NAHL players and many more on the way with a long list of current commitments. The Black Knights and Fighting Falcons are members of the Atlantic Hockey Association where Air Force has won five of the last six AHA Championships.

For the 2012/13 season Army has 10 former NAHL players on the roster while Air Force has 19. These are outstanding young men who have realized a dream of playing NCAA D-I hockey while making a commitment to serve their country in uniform following graduation. Because of the very stringent academic standard of both service academies the recruiting process is somewhat different for Army and Air Force. “You know other schools can go to a game and watch all 40 kids on the ice,” said Army Head Coach Brian Riley. “With West Point we can go and watch maybe three. Before we can go to watch a kid to see if he is a good hockey player we must first make sure he is a good student and has good character.”

Air Force Head Coach Frank Serratore and Coach Riley were asked to describe the factors which draw them to recruit so heavily from the NAHL.

The NAHL and USHL are the two primary leagues we recruit from,” stated Serratore. “Over the years we have had great luck with the players we have recruited from the NAHL, we have had four All-Americans; Greg Flynn (Billings), Eric Ehn (Lansing), Tim Kirby (Owatonna), and Jacques Lamoureux (Bismarck). We have also had Three Hobey Baker Finalists (Ehn, Lamoureux, Kirby).”

“The NAHL has been out primary recruiting focus for the past 5 or so years because of the talent level and the coaching the kids receive,” said Riley. “The coaching in the league puts the players in a position to come into West Point prepared to be successful not only as hockey players but also as young men.”

Several of the players interviewed indicated that they received offers from others schools including some Ivy League programs, yet chose to attend one of the service academies. Coach Riley believes he has a good handle on why these young men make the commitment to a service academy and subsequent service in uniform.

“West Point offers one of the best educations in the world. They receive leadership training which set them up to succeed not only in the military but in business as well. They ask themselves what is the best school to set me up for success in my life.” Riley added, “Kids in juniors come into West Point because they have a dream of playing D-I hockey, and turn into leaders. West Point is a special place for special people. I tell people that I have the best job in college coaching because I get to rub elbows with these young men every day who will become leaders of America’s sons and daughters.”

Below is a brief look at each of these future leaders of our armed forces and county. Information / photos were taken from personal interviews when available, The Army Hockey Media Guide, The Air Force Hockey Media Guide, NAHL.com and other sources as referenced. The statistics given for each current service academy player is through the end of the 2011/12 season while those of the current NAHL recruits are through January 31, 2013. Players are listed in alphabetical order by their previous NAHL organization.

Army 

23 Luke Jenkins

Army Media Guide: Freshman Luke Jenkins

Freshman Luke Jenkins is a native of River Falls, WI. The 5’ 10” – 180 pound defenseman spent three seasons in the NAHL before moving on to West Point. He spit time between the Springfield Jr Blues and the Albert Lea Thunder (Amarillo Bulls) during the 2009/10 season. He completed his NAHL career as a member of the Amarillo Bulls in 2010/11 and 2011/12. Jenkins reached the playoffs in all three NAHL seasons making it as far as the Semi-Finals in both 2011 and 2012.

When Jenkins’ signing with Army was announced Amarillo head coach Dennis Williams had nothing but the highest of praise. “Luke is a great example of hard work paying off,” said Williams. “Two years ago Luke came to us and fought his way on this team and eventually on all special teams. When times were tough on Luke, he continued to work hard and persevered. I’m happy that he and Joe Kozlak will play together at Army. They are two of the finest young men that I know and it’s a pleasure to coach them.”

When asked how playing in the NAHL prepared him for the jump to D-I, Luke responded “My NAHL coach was a former NCAA coach who knew what it takes to succeed, so he ran it just like that. He held us accountable for everything, pushed us and demanded we do extra on our own to earn playing time. This all prepared my level of work ethic and appreciation for the game and this has helped me transfer that to other areas of my life as well.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

139

15

28

43

128

+18

28

6

7

13

25

14 Joe Kozlak

Army Media Guide: Freshman Joe Kozlak

Joe Kozlak 6’ 2” – 190 pounds, is another of the freshmen on the Army roster and was a teammate of Luke Jenkins with the Amarillo Bulls. Kozlak’s NAHL career consisted of three seasons with the first 2009/10 split between Wenatchee and the Albert Lea Thunder (Amarillo Bulls). His final two seasons were spent with the Bulls in Amarillo. In his final season with Amarillo the Duluth, MN native wore the C as captain of the Bulls. He was named the team MVP in 2011/12 and in the 2012 Robertson Cup Tournament he was an all-tournament team selection. Joe said he relied a lot on his older brother Scott who played hockey at Air Force and is now a second lieutenant during the recruiting process.

“Playing in the NAHL allowed me to develop as a player and as a person,” Kozlak said. “Playing three years in the NAHL I learned a lot about myself and the amount of hard work it takes to play D-I hockey. I also learned how to be a leader when I was a captain in Amarillo. I learned that it is not just the most skilled or liked person that is captain, but someone who leads by example and does what is right all the time.”

“Army is very fortunate to be getting such a high character person,” added Dennis Williams head coach in Amarillo. “Joe has proven time and time again that hard work pays off.  I am very happy for Joe and his accomplishment. 

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

147

45

45

90

296

+15

27

4

9

13

43

20 Jonathan Gehrt

Army Media Guide: Freshman Jonathan Gehrt

Jonathan Gehrt who is 5’ 11” – 180 pounds calls Woodbury, MN home and was a 2010 honors graduate of Woodbury High School. Gehrt is in his freshman season with Army. He spent two years in the NAHL with the Austin Bruins. During his final season with the Bruins Gehrt led the team with five power play goals and 11 power play assists.

“I chose West Point because it stands out in comparison to any other school in the nation. At school we are developing not only as hockey players, but also as students and soldiers that will one day serve our nation. It just felt like the right fit,” he said. “I look forward to serving my country after I’m done with school.”

When his commitment to West Point was announced in December 2011, Bruins head coach Chris Tok said “He’s made huge strides from where he was last year to this year. His on ice confidence is growing and that’s what Army saw in him.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

95

10

32

42

54

-3

8

0

1

1

7

5 John Clark

Army Media Guide: Senior John Clark

John Clark patrols the blueline as one of seven seniors on the Army roster and is listed at 5’ 8” – 185 pounds. Clark hails from Baudette, MN, where he was a member of the National Honor Society in high school. He played from 2007 through 2009 for the Bismarck Bobcats in the NAHL. Clark was captain of the Central Division championship team in 2009 and was named first-team All-Central Division. Clark was one of 18 players named to the 2011/12 Atlantic Hockey Association All-Academic Team. John’s brother Jay played four years for Army hockey and was a 2011 graduate of West Point.

Clark looked to his brother when making the decision to commit to Army. “He made sure I understood what I’m getting into by committing to the Army and I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger then myself.”

“Johnny has worked hard the past two seasons,” said Bobcats head coach Byron Pool. “It’s great to see him get an opportunity to play at the next level.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

110

6

25

31

70

+34

13

0

3

3

10

 Army Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

96

0

14

14

18

30 Ryan Leets

Army Media Guide: Senior Ryan Leets

Ryan Leets is a 5’ 11” – 175 pound senior netminder for the Black Knights. He is a 2008 graduate and class valedictorian of Jefferson Senior High in Kentwood, MI where he was also a member of the National Honor Society. Leet’s NAHL career covered three seasons with the Alexandria (Brookings) Blizzard starting with the 2006/07 season. The Blizzard made the playoffs each of the three seasons that Leets was on the roster, reaching the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament in 2008. In 2009 he was voted as the Blizzard’s Most Improved Player and was selected to the NAHL Top Prospect Tournament representing the Central Division. On Sept 22, 2007 Leets was involved in an epic shoot out against Traverse City. Leets turned aside 14 of 17 shots in the shoot out to capture the win. Leets was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Student-Athlete of the Year in 2011/12 with a 4.0 grade-point average. He was one of 18 Army players named to the Atlantic Hockey Association All-Academic Team.

“I chose West Point because it represents an opportunity to serve my country, play college hockey, and learn to become a leader of America’s sons and daughters upon graduation,” Said Leets.

“Ryan is very excited about the opportunity to play at Army,” said Blizzard head coach Brad Willner.  “He’s ready for the challenge, both mentally and physically, that the U.S. Military Academy will provide. He enjoyed his visit and learned a lot from the players he was able to meet there,” Willner added.  “He really loved the ‘team’ atmosphere they have.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

104

5773

46

40

9

4

3.29

0.898

16

902

6

8

 -

0

3.19

0.895

 Army Career Totals
Regular Season

GP

MIN

W

L

T

SO

GAA

SV%

42

2363

8

24

7

0

3.28

0.900

13 Jon Bobb

Army Media Guide: Senior Jon Bobb

Jon Bobb is a senior forward standing 6’ 2” – 197 pounds from Phoenix, AZ. Bobb’s NAHL career spanned two seasons and four teams. He split the 2007/08 season between the St Louis Bandits and Texas Tornado before being traded to Springfield Jr Blues prior to the 2008/09 season and then a mid-season trade to the Motor City Machine (Jamestown Tomahawks). Prior to the NAHL Bobb played for the Dallas Stars AAA that was ranked No. 1 in the country. Bobb was one of 18 players named to the Atlantic Hockey Association All-Academic Team for the 2011/12 season.

Machine head coach Sean Clark said of Bobb, “He has the ability to dictate the play and take control of the game.  He’s a good young man and is going to have a very good career ahead of him at Army.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

74

9

23

32

109

-14

 Army Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

22

0

1

1

6

 1 Rob Tadazak

Army Media Guide: Sophomore Rob Tadazak

Rob Tadazak resides in Lapeer, MI and is a 2008 graduate of Lapeer East High   School. The 6’ 0” – 200 pound sophomore started his NAHL career in 2009/10 with the Alexandria Blizzard (Brookings) before moving closer to home with the Michigan Warriors located just down the road in Flint. Following the 2010/11 season Tadazak was named NAHL Goalie of the Year, NAHL MVP and received all-league honors.

When asked how playing the NAHL had prepared him for the jump to D-I, Tadazak replied “Outside of hockey I learned to help out in the community. We helped out doing numerous things from giving food to the needy over Christmas to reading to kids at elementary schools. Since I have been at West Point we have helped Colonel Edward Naessens with teaching younger kids the game of hockey among many other things. On the ice the NAHL was a great prep stop to college. Guys are always in your face, crashing the net and things like that. Playing for the Michigan Warriors also gave me time to improve my game in areas where I was weak.”

“What a great opportunity for Robert,” Warriors head coach Moe Mantha said. “Going into the Army is a long-term commitment and while I know Robert would like to play pro hockey someday, serving your country while still playing hockey was something he couldn’t turn down. He has made the entire Warriors organization proud with this decision.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

68

3680

36

16

8

9

2.12

0.931

22

1329

13

9

-

2

2.48

0.947

 

Army Career Totals
Regular Season

GP

MIN

W

L

T

SO

GAA

SV%

11

599

0

7

3

0

3.21

0.908

27 Willie Faust

Army Media Guide: Freshman Willie Faust

Willie Faust is a 5’ 10” – 180 pound freshman forward from Stillwater, MN. Faust earned the All-Academic Award selection as the best scholar athlete. As a senior at Hill-Murray School he was all-state honorable mention for hockey. Faust began play in the NAHL with the Owatonna Express in 2010/11 and remained with the team as they moved to Odessa as the Jackalopes for 2011/12.

“Just having the opportunity to play at West Point is an amazing thing,” said Faust, who will compete in the Atlantic Hockey Association. “It will certainly be a challenge, but it is something that I put a lot of thought into and it’s the best fit for me. I am honored.”

“It speaks a great deal to have an athlete of Willie’s character to be associated with our program, and now Army’s,” said Jackalopes GM Joe Clark. “Willie is a fine young man and he has a great future, not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

87

24

21

45

67

+8

8

1

0

1

14

  7 Andrew O’Leary

Army Media Guide: Freshman Andrew O’Leary

Andrew O’Leary hails from Norwich, VT and is a 2009 graduate of Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The 6’ 1” – 210 pound freshman forward was drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL in 2008. He spent two seasons with the Topeka RoadRunners of the NAHL starting in 2010/11. As a member of the Roadrunners he won the regular season championship and competed in the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament in 2010/11. O’Leary returned to the playoffs in 2011/12 but the Roadrunners were eliminated in the second round. O’Leary earned the NAHL First Star of the Week in January 2012 following a game in which he poured in five goals against the New Mexico Mustangs.

“The coaches were personable and clearly high-quality, the team was a tight-knit bunch of guys, and the academics are top-notch,” O’Leary said. “I’ve always wanted to play D-I college hockey and go to a prestigious academic school, and to me West Point offers the best of both worlds and then some.”

“My parents have always pushed me and my brothers to be great people,” he said. “My father has been my biggest inspiration in hockey; his love for hockey has been contagious from the first time I put on skates, and he continues to lend me his knowledge of the game.” 

“He’s by far the fastest guy in the league and he’s got the high-end in strength,”Topeka head coach Scott Langer said of O’Leary. “Hopefully, he takes this confidence and he just starts running.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

93

24

34

58

130

+19

20

1

4

5

10

 8 Kyle Vogel

Army Media Guide: Freshman Kyle Vogel

Kyle Vogel is a 6’ 2” – 200 pound freshman forward who was born in Bad Kreuznach Germany but now resides in Richland, WA. Vogel comes from a long line of military veterans. His grandfather retired from the Air Force while both his father and uncle served in the Army. He attended four high schools in four years, graduating from San Creek High School in 2010. Vogel played only one season in the NAHL with the Wenatchee Wild in 2011/12.

“Army was definitely my No. 1 [option],” said Vogel. “When they offered to me to come, that was huge, and I was definitely excited.”

“We are very happy to hear about Kyle’s commitment to go toWest Point,” said Wild assistant coach Chris Clark. “Although he has only been with us for a short period of time, it is clear that Kyle has a very professional attitude toward the game and conducts himself in a very mature manner. He will be a big part of our team as the season continues.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

36

4

3

7

118

0

8

0

0

0

2

Air Force

 77 Trevor Waldoch

Air Force Media Guide: Freshman Trevor Waldoch

Trevor Waldoch is in his first season with Air Force. The 6’ 2” – 190 pound defenseman graduated from Forest Lake High School in Forest Lake, MN. Waldoch was an all-conference and all-state second team selection his senior year. His NAHL career covered the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons with the Austin Bruins. Waldoch was selected to Team Weight in the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Trevor was the first player in Austin Bruins history to commit to a D-I program.

“Trevor has a very good skill set with the puck and moves very well,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “As he continues to work hard, he’ll add strength and experience to his resume as he prepares for D-I college hockey at the Air Force Academy.”

 NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

108

14

38

52

10

+26

8

0

3

3

2

 35 David Bosner 

Air Force Media Guide: Senior David Bosner

David Bosner is a 6’ 1” – 190 pound senior from Chesterfield, MO. Bosner earned recognition as a National Merit Scholar at John Burroughs School. David has been named to the On the dean’s list every semester. Played a single season 2008/09 with the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL where he backstopped the team to the Robertson Cup National Championship semi-finals. He completed the season second in the league in wins 24, shutouts 6, goals against average at 1.78 and save percentage of 0.933. Was named to the all-Central Division Team and all-Rookie Team.

“It’s kind of hard to describe what I’m feeling right now,” said Bosner of his commitment. “I just know that reality has hit me and that I’ve finally accomplished a lifelong dream.”

“Nothing has changed for me, personally,” he said.  “I still need to prove to Air Force that they made the right decision on me.  I want to be their guy as soon as possible, so I need to continue to play well.

“We’re extremely happy for David,” said Bobcats head coach Byron Pool.  “He has worked hard to get this opportunity.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

33

1970

24

7

1

6

1.83

0.933

8

436

5

2

-

0

2.34

0.904

 Air Force Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

MIN

W

L

T

SO

GAA

SV%

5

101

0

1

0

0

5.94

0.773

 16 Jason Fabian

Air Force Mdeia Guide: Junior Jason Fabian

Jason Fabian is a native of Roseau, MN where he graduated from Roseau High School and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was a four year letterman in hockey, team captain as a senior and won the state championship in 2007. Fabian has been named to the dean’s list every semester. Joined the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL in 2008/09 and spent two seasons with the team. In his rookie season Fabian was named to the NAHL all-Central Division team after finishing the season tied for ninth in the league in scoring. Was a member of the Bobcat’s Robertson Cup National Championship team in 2009/10 and was named to the all-Tournament team. As a sophomore with Air Force, Fabian earned the defensive player of the year award becoming the first forward to ever win the honor.

Academics were very important to Fabian in his commitment to Air Force. “I felt that getting a solid education was more important to my decision,” he said.  “This is a great opportunity for me to play hockey and get my education at an elite institution.”

“Jason is a great athlete and an even better person,” added Bobcats head coach Byron Pool.  “He’ll continue to improve and has continued to be a threat on the ice for us this season.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

112

41

56

97

132

+29

21

8

12

20

12

Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

76

19

16

35

26

7 Casey Kleisinger

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Casey Kleisinger

Casey Kleisinger is the third member of the 2008/09 Bismarck Bobcats on the Falcon’s roster. He is a 5’ 10” – 180 pound junior forward from Edwards, CO. Graduated from Middleton High School where in 2005/06 he earned first-team all-conference and all-state honorable mention recognition. Kleisinger has been On the dean’s list every semester at the academy. Kleisinger’s career in the NAHL covered two seasons with the Bobcats starting with the previously mentioned 2008/09 team. Selected to represent the Central Division in the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Casey was a member of the 2009/10 NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship team. He scored the winning goal in the championship game and was named the Tournament MVP in addition to being selected to the all-tournament team.

Kleisinger signed with Air Force in Feb 2010. “It’s a thrill to know I’ll be playing D-I hockey next year, especially for a nationally renowned program like Air Force,” said Kleisinger. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders to have my college plans set, so now the only thing to focus on is getting back to the national tournament and winning the Robertson Cup.”

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me and for my family, talking with (Falcons head) coach Serratore, I know that I’ll have a chance at some solid playing time while going to a premier academic institution.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

108

29

48

77

110

+27

23

9

12

21

10

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

72

14

15

29

28

55 Mike McDonald

Air Force Media Guide: Sophomore Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald is 6’ 5” – 215 pounds and resides in Mahtomedi, MN. The sophomore defenseman was honorable mention in hockey as a junior and all-conference as a senior at Mahtomedi High School. McDonald began his two year NAHL career in 2009/10 with the North Iowa Outlaws that eventually became the Coulee Region Chill following a move to Onalaska, WI. Mike earned a spot on the dean’s list for spring 2012.

McDonald told Minnesota Hockey Magazine, “A critical reason for choosing the Academy was the success of the program over the last few years and the quality of the education. Hockey and the education were the main reasons I decided to come but serving our country is a bonus that has become more and more important to me since I have been here.”

“Mike worked hard this offseason to improve his footwork and quickness, and his dedication and hard work paid off,” said Chill head coach Garrett Strot. “Air Force is not only getting a quality player, but a quality individual as well.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

97

6

16

22

184

-27

9

1

4

5

10

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2

0

0

0

4

39 Paul Moberg

Air Force Media Guide: Sophomore Paul Moberg

Paul Moberg is a sophomore goaltender from Forest Lake, MN who is 6’ 1” – 175 pounds. Moberg was a four year letterman at Forest Lake High School where he was team MVP, all-conference and all-state as a senior. His NAHL career started with the North Iowa Outlaws in 2009/10 and he remained with the team when it became the Coulee Region Chill. He was twice named NAHL goalie of the week during the 2010/11 season and was selected to the 2011 Top Prospects Tournament. 

When Moberg’s commitment was announced Chill head coach Garrett Strot told NAHL.com “Paul has proven to be one of the top goalies in the league this year, and I have no doubt he’ll continue to have success as a member of the Air Force Academy. This is a tremendous opportunity for Paul and we’re very happy for him and his family.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

83

4775

32

42

7

1

3.29

0.911

5

305

2

3

-

0

2.75

0.929

 Air Force Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

MIN

W

L

T

SO

GAA

SV%

2

19

0

1

0

0

6.04

0.750

29 Jason Torf 

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Jason Torf

Jason Torf is a 6’ 0” – 183 pound junior goalie from Hermosa Beach, CA who graduated from Culver Military Academy. Torf was named academic all-state as a senior. He played a single season with the Motor City Metal Jackets (Jamestown) of the NAHL in 2009/10. An aeronautical engineering major at the academy, Torf has been on the dean’s list three times in four semesters and the commandant’s list once for military excellence. Jason has excelled on the ice as well. As a freshman Torf was named to the AHA all-rookie team, the AHA rookie of the week four times, AHA goalie of the month in December and was named to the AHA all-tournament team after backstopping the Falcons to a 1-0 shutout over RIT in the AHA Championship game. In his sophomore season Torf was named goalie of the week twice, goalie of the month in February, to the AHA all-tournament team, and the AHA Final Four MVP after another shutout of RIT in the AHA Championship game. His season 1.73 GAA ranked him fourth in the nation.

“We’re extremely proud of Jason’s intent to attend Air Force. He’s worked extremely hard and was a key addition to our organization,” said Metal Jackets head coach David Cole in response to Torf’s signing. “We believe Jason is going to a great program with a wonderful coach (Frank Serratore) and staff,” Cole added.

 NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

24

1263

9

10

2

0

2.85

0.916

3

138

1

1

-

0

2.61

0.938

 Air Force Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

MIN

W

L

T

SO

GAA

SV%

52

2859

24

14

6

7

2.46

0.915

 2 Jacob Musselman

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Jacob Musselman

Jacob Musselman from Littleton, CO is a 5’ 8” – 180 pound junior defenseman. Musselman played his three seasons of NAHL hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears starting in the 2007/2008 season. Jacob was named to Team West of the 2009 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. As an academy freshman he was on the dean’s list and the athletics’ list and then was added to the superintendent’s list as a sophomore.

“Jake has always shown exceptional skating ability,” said Brown Bears head coach Oliver David.  “His ultra-competitiveness, coupled with his puck retrieval skills, is second to none and he’ll have the opportunity to play hockey for a premier program in Air Force because of those attributes. We’re extremely proud to have had Jake play for our club and leave our community on such a high note.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

129

4

31

35

106

-67

6

0

0

0

2

Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

16

0

3

3

4

 10 Jesse Ramsey

Air Force Media Guide: Freshman Jesse Ramsey

Jesse Ramsey from Rogers, MN is a 5’ 11” – 175 pound freshman defenseman. Ramsey was a three year letterman for Rogers High School before moving on to the NAHL. His three year NAHL career started in the 2009/10 season with the Wenatchee Wild where he played 16 games before being traded to the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Brown Bears relied a lot on Ramsey’s versatility as he often was moved up to the forward line during his first two seasons in Kenai River. During the 2011/12 season Ramsey was named the team’s defenseman of the year after finishing the season tied for second in the NAHL in goals scored by a defenseman. Ramsey ranked fifth in the NAHL in points among defensemen.

“I think things with Air Force really started to progress this season,” said Ramsey.  “I had spoken with them in previous years, but our team had a good showing in Blaine at the Showcase and we have been playing good hockey since then, so it really started to pick-up a few weeks ago.  I’m really excited about attending Air Force.  The facilities are world-class and my interests are in aviation, so I think it is the perfect fit for me both academically and athletically.”

Brown Bears head coach Oliver David attributed Ramsey’s improvements during his NAHL career with his experience and desire to become a better hockey player.  “Jesse has tremendous skating ability, which has improved his game to the point where he is today,” said David.  “He sees the ice better and has the ability to read plays and track pucks.  I think all of those things has led to him becoming a more well-rounded hockey player.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

171

22

60

82

93

-5

9

1

2

3

6

 19 Stephen Carew

Air Force Media Guide: Senior Stephen Carew

Stephen Carew is a senior from Eden Prairie, MN who plays both forward and defense. He is 5’ 9” – 175 pounds and a graduate of Benilde-St. Margarets High School where he was a Captain and MVP of the hockey team, a four time all-conference selection and all-state honorable mention. Carew played a single season in the NAHL as a member of the Owatonna Express (Odessa Jackalopes) during the 2008/09 season. Stephen was team Captain with the Express and led the team with 54 points on the season. He was selected as the NAHL Central Division Player of the Week once. At the academy Carew has been on the superintendent’s list for the spring semester of 2012, On the dean’s list twice and commandant’s list once. He has also been on the athletics list every semester.

On the ice Carew has missed only three games with the Falcons in his three seasons at Air Force. He has scored in the season opener of the last two seasons. As a freshman he had 9 assists which was second on the team among rookies. As a Junior he finished the season tied for fourth on the team in goals scored.

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

58

28

26

54

22

+14

9

2

5

7

0

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

111

19

19

38

26

 27 John Kruse

Air Force Media Guide: Senior John Kruse

John Kruse is a 6’ 1” – 195 pound senior forward from Eden Prairie, MN. Kruse began playing in the NAHL with the Texas Tornado in the 2007/08 season. When the Tornado went inactive for the 2008/09 season due to arena renovations, Kruse moved to the Owatonna Express (Odessa Jackalopes). As a rookie with Texas Kruse played alongside Army senior Jon Bobb and put up 20 points on the season. With the Express, Kruse put up nearly a point per game and was a +12 which ranked him second on the team. He reached the second round of the playoff and led the team in playoff goals. In his freshman season with the Falcons Kruse finished tenth on the team in scoring, as a sophomore he was fourth and was named to the Kendall Classic all-tournament team. Last season Kruse was named second-team all-AHA after leading the team with 16 goals. The 16 goals also placed him sixth in the league.

“We’re very excited for John and feel that he’ll get a great education and will have an outstanding hockey experience at Air Force,” said Express head coach Pat Cullen. With Kruse joining Express teammate Carew at Air Force, Cullen went on to say “Coach Serratore and his staff are now getting two very good players and even better people,”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

79

19

34

53

62

+1

11

5

1

6

4

Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

110

32

40

72

18

12 Ben Persian

Air Force Media Guide: Sophomore Ben Persian

Ben Persian is a 6’ 2” – 185 pound forward who calls Orono, MN home. The sophomore graduated from OronoHigh School where he was named to the all-conference team three years and all-state honorable mention as a senior. Persian played two seasons with the Owatonna Express (Odessa Jackalopes) in the NAHL starting with the 209/10 season. In his rookie season he was honored as the NAHL Central Division Player of the Week once. Persian netted 24 goals in 2010/11 and totaled 48 points, both of which led the team. He was named to Team Weight in the 2010 Top Prospects Tournament where he had 1G-1A in three games. At the Air Force Academy, Persian was named to the dean’s list both semesters as a freshman and on the athletics’ list once.

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

103

31

30

61

74

+3

7

0

0

0

2

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

1

0

0

0

0

3 Eric Artman

Air Force Media Guide: Senior Eric Artman

Eric Artman from East Lansing, MI is a senior defenseman that is 5’ 10” – 175 pounds. Artman Graduated from East Lansing High School where he was Academic all-conference and all-district as well as receiving the 2007 Distinguished Scholar Award. In the NAHL Artman played the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons with the Topeka RoadRunners. In 2007/08, Topeka was the South Division Champions and finished third in the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament. Artman’s contribution to the team included 36 points in 58 games good for second in the NAHL among all defensemen and was a +18 which led the team and was fourth in the league. Artman was the NAHL South Player of the Week once. He was named to the all-South Division Team and was the team’s defenseman of the year. In his freshman season Artman was named AHA rookie of the week October 12th.

“I didn’t know what to expect, really, when I went to visit the campus,” said Artman, “but that’s what sold me on the deal. I knew the hockey program was solid, but after seeing the campus and meeting people there, I knew it was the right fit for me.”

“Eric has made huge strides in his first year of junior hockey,” said RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer.  “He has been given a lot of responsibility in just his first season and he’s handled it very well.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

114

11

54

65

49

+37

20

0

6

6

6

Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

22

3

4

7

0

20 Tony Thomas

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Tony Thomas

Tony Thomas graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School where he was first team all-state and won the state championship. The native of South Lyon, MI is a 6’ 3” – 200 pound junior forward. Thomas played a single season with Topeka in 2009/10 in the NAHL. Thomas earned South Division Player of the Week honors twice and was third in the NAHL with 11 power play goals. In his first season with the Falcons Thomas was named the AHA Rookie of the Week on Nov. 15. As a sophomore he had an assist in Air Force’s AHA Championship game win over RIT.

“Tony has met and exceeded every character standard we expect of a RoadRunner,” said RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer.  “Air Force is not only getting a solid player with a very good hockey IQ, but an even better young man. I’ve always held the staff at Air Force in very high regard,” Langer added.  “They did a great job recruiting Tony and I know it will work out well for everyone.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

58

20

27

47

59

+20

9

4

5

9

4

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

77

10

18

28

53

26 Ben Carey

Air Force Media Guide: Freshman Ben Carey

Ben Carey is a freshman from nearby Centennial, CO. The 5’ 11” – 170 pound forward graduated from Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee, WA. Carey played the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons in the NAHL with the Wenatchee Wild. In his first season with the Wild, Carey was fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points. His 2011/12 season was a record setter as Carey set the single season points mark for the team with 57 points in 60 games. He also led the team with 14 power play goals. He was selected as a member of Team Legwand in the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament scoring one goal in three games.

“Ben is fast and skilled but, as important, he’s very imaginative and a character player,” said Wild third-year head coach Paul Baxter. “He was a consistent threat, as well as very reliable defensively.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

117

46

54

100

54

+21

15

2

9

11

6

 6 Adam McKenzie

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Adam McKenzie

Adam McKenzie is 5” 11” – 178 pounds and hails from Petaluma, CA. The junior forward played for the Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL during the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons. McKenzie earned the NAHL Academic Achievement award for the 2008/09 season. In 2009/10 his 31 points ranked eighth in the league by a defenseman. He was named to the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament all-tournament team as the Wild advanced to the tournament’s semifinals. Since arriving at the academy McKenzie has been on the dean’s list every semester, on the commandant’s list twice and athletics’ list once. On the ice McKenzie has made his presence known as well. During his freshman season he was named to the AHA all-rookie team and was the top scoring freshman defenseman in the AHA with 18 points. He had two assists in the AHA regular season title clenching game against Robert Morris University as a sophomore. This past summer McKenzie attended the Washington Capitals Development Camp.

“Adam is a warrior who’s very gifted from a talent and leadership standpoint,” said Wild head coach Paul Baxter.  “Air Force has committed to a fine young man who will be a terrific asset when he enters their program. He continues to improve by leaps and bounds from week to week and will be a big key to our success moving forward.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

113

13

46

59

98

+32

23

0

10

10

4

Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

77

7

30

37

32

 13 Ryan Timar

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Ryan Timar

Ryan Timar is a 5’ 10” junior forward from Novi, MI. Timar played the first two seasons of his NAHL career with the Alpena Ice Diggers (Corpus Christi Icerays) in 2007/08 and 2008/09. He returned to the Ice Diggers for the 2009/10 season and played 35 games before being dealt to the Wenatchee Wild. He finished the 2008/09 season, second on the team in scoring and first with a +14. Timar was selected to represent Team North at the 2009 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. He had 1G-2A in three games played.

“Frank Serratore and myself agreed that this is a great opportunity for Ryan and the perfect fit,” said IceDiggers head coach Jack Fritsche.  “I think he’ll make an immediate impact on the Air Force in a lot of ways.  He has the commitment and discipline to shine and contribute when he walks through the door.”

“Ryan has had an amazing impact on the (IceDiggers) organization,” Fritsche added. “He’s a leader by example; through good times and bad, he’s been a positive influence on his teammates, not to mention the coaching staff. He has an amazing work ethic and dedication to not only the success of the team, but to his day-to-day performance as a person. No matter what Ryan chooses to do in life, we’re going to see great things from him.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

157

40

54

94

125

+5

17

7

5

12

22

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

59

4

10

14

22

 25 Mitch Torrel

Air Force Media Guide: Junior Mitch Torrel

Mitch Torrel from Monticello, MN is a 6’ 1” – 187 pound junior forward. He is a graduate of Monticello High School and lettered four years in hockey. Torrel played for three different teams in his NAHL career starting with five games for the 2007/08 North Iowa Outlaws. In 2008/09 he played 36 games with the Albert Lee Thunder before a trade to the Wenatchee Wild where he also played the 2009/10 season. Torrel was named to Team Central for the 2009 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and scored one goal in three games. In 2009/10 Torrel earned West Division Player of the Week honors once and received the NAHL Community Service Award. Mitch’s Father Stephan was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the seventh round of the 1986 draft and his Uncle, Doug, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1987.

“I’ve talked to Air Force assistant coach Andy Berg and head coach Frank Serratore and they’re excited, as are we, about the tenacity, speed and skill that Mitch possesses,” said Wild head coach Paul Baxter.

“We’re thrilled Mitch is continuing to progress and fulfill his potential with our team,” Baxter added.  “We expect him to be a big part of our success down the stretch and into the playoffs.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

107

34

21

55

153

-10

19

3

2

5

24

 Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

22

0

2

2

12

 9 Kyle De Laurell

Air Force Media Guide: Senior Kyle De Laurell

Kyle De Laurell is a senior forward who is 6’ 1” – 200 pounds and calls Mission Viejo, CA home. De Laurell graduated from Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs and was an Honor Roll student. De Laurell played parts of two seasons with the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL. He began his NAHL career with 16 games played at the end of the 2007/08 season. In 2008/09 he played the first half of the season before a shoulder injury cut his season short. The Wildcats won the season opening NAHL showcase with a perfect 4 – 0 – 0 record. De Laurell contributed to all four game winning goals scoring one and assisting on the other three. Kyle was named the NAHL South Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 23. At the academy De Laurell has been on the athletics’ list five of six semesters and on the dean’s and commandant’s list once. Following his junior year he attended the Chicago Blackhawks Development Camp. His first season with the Air Force Academy De Laurell received the John Matchefts Award as the team’s top freshman. As a sophomore he finished the season with 33 points and six power play goals which was second on the team and fifth in the AHA. De Laurell’s Junior season saw him lead the team in games played 39, assists 23 and points 38. He was named first-team all AHA after finishing third in the league in points second in assists. De Laurell was twice named AHA Player of the Week and AHA Player of the Month for October.

“I played two years (of Midget hockey) in Colorado Springs and I really liked it out there,” said De Laurell.  “I’m good friends with the coach’s son, and I know Coach Serratore well, so it’s going to be a comfortable situation for me.  It’s a great school.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

47

13

34

47

31

-9

4

2

0

2

6

  
Air Force Career Totals

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

106

31

58

89

42

 2013/14 Recruits

Army

Clint Carlisle – Amarillo Bulls

NAHL: Clint Carlisle Amarillo Bulls

Clint Carlisle is a 6′ 0″ – 180 pound forward who hails from Trophy Club, TX. Carlisle is in his second season with Amarillo. In his first season Carlisle had 35 points and was a +26 for the Bulls. This season Carlisle missed three months due to a lower body injury and has just recently returned to the line-up.

Carlisle will see some familiar faces when he arrives in West Point. “Kozy (Joe Kozlak) and (Luke) Jenkins went there and really showed Army that the Amarillo Bulls come from great coaching,” Carlisle said. “Dennis Williams is one of the best coaches for getting his guys prepared for the next level. I hope to live up to the expectations, and go there and have a great four years.”

Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said Clint was a ‘diamond in the rough’ due to the injury but he knew what the young man’s capabilities were and what he could bring a D-I program like Army.  “He was able to persevere and keep positive during the time he was out,” Williams said. “I think it shows a lot about his character, and something that a school like Army thrives on those players that stay positive, work hard and commits to what it means to get back healthy.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

63

18

28

46

12

+36

8

0

2

2

8

Garret Peterson – Amarillo Bulls

NAHL: Garret Peterson Amarillo Bulls

Garret Peterson is a 6’ 2” defenseman from Coppel, TX. The 2012/13 season is Peterson’s second in the NAHL. He spent his first season with the St Louis Bandit reaching the finals of the Robertson Cup National Championship game before falling to the Texas Tornado in overtime. During the 2011/12 season Peterson tied for third on the team in defenseman scoring and led the Bandits in PIMs with 90. This season Peterson is a member of the Amarillo Bulls and has contributed 13 points through 32 games.

“The schools academic benefits were a huge part of why I chose to commit toWest Point,” said Peterson. “However, the chance to serve as an active member of the United States Army was also a huge pull factor. The fact that the schools hockey program was D-I was a bonus in my eyes.”

When asked what advice he would give someone striving to play in the NAHL, Peterson said; “Hard work will take you a long way. Throughout my career in the North American league, I have seen a number of players who had all the talent in the world, but refused to work hard. They never lasted very long. The players who were humble, and worked day in and day out, were the ones that went on to play college hockey.” He added, “Never stop working hard on and off the ice.”

Amarillo Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said Peterson will be able to provide even more leadership to the program. “Coach Brian Riley and his staff have done a great job in finding those types of players for the team,” he said. “Garret is going to be able to provide a sense of leadership and commitment both on and off the ice. I know he will do a great job not only on to the hockey program but to West Point itself.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

81

6

23

29

127

+34

12

0

2

2

10

Mike Dockry – Bismarck Bobcats 

NAHL: Mike Dockry Bismarck Bobcats

Mike Dockry is a 5’ 11” – 175 pound forward from Burnsville, MN. Dockry is in his second season with Bismarck but played in only 17 games during the 2011/12 season finishing with two points. Dockry is currently fifth on the Bobcats in points with 21.

“Playing D-I hockey has always been a goal of mine,” stated Dockry, “and being able to move on to that level while also receiving an exceptional education is even better.” Dockry added “I want to thank my coaches and teammates with the Bobcats,” added Dockry, “along with my former coaches and teammates in Burnsville, my family, MAP Hockey and, of course, the West Point coaching staff for giving me this great opportunity.”

“Mike’s got such great speed and skill, which are things you can’t teach,” said Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “He caught the attention of college scouts throughout this season by displaying that speed and being a gifted playmaker on and off the puck.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

57

10

13

23

8

-8

1

0

1

1

0

Kyle Plageman – Port Huron Fighting Falcons 

NAHL: Kyle Plageman Port Huron Fighting Falcons

Kyle Plageman is an NAHL rookie who is 5’ 11” – 185 pound and calls Cleveland, OH home. Plageman graduated from Culver Military Academy where he earned the President’s Education Award. Plageman started the season with the Amarillo Bulls and played in seven games with the Bulls before being traded to Port Huron.

Coach Michael Gershon told Our Sports Central on bringing in Plageman, “Having had the opportunity to talk with Army in regards to some of our players I know how import character is to them and we think that Kyle is going to come in and be a great locker room guy as well as adding to our already deep forward group. This just makes our guys have to battle even harder to stay in the lineup.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

26

0

2

2

35

-9

Ryan Nick – Port Huron Fighting Falcons 

NAHL: Ryan NIck Port Huron Fighting Falcons

Ryan Nick from Plymouth, MI is a 5’ 11” – 180 pound defenseman playing in his second NAHL season. Nick currently sets sixth on the Fighting Falcons in scoring overall and leads defensemen in scoring. His eight power play assists also leads the team.

“Ryan has worked extremely hard to get this commitment and I think that Army is going to be getting a great Cadet and someone that we know will work hard to achieve great results on the ice and in the classroom,” said Falcons head coach Michael Gershon.

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

88

6

26

32

60

+15

1

0

0

0

0

CJ Reuschlein – Texas Tornado

NAHL: CJ Reuschlein Texas Tornado

CJ Reuschlein is a 6’ 2” – 195 pound forward fromEast Lansing, MI. who graduated from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Reuschlein began his NAHL career with the Texas Tornado with 2011/12 season and played 38 games before being dealt to the Aberdeen Wings. Texas reacquired Reuschlein prior to the start of the 2012/13 season. “We’re thrilled to be able to add C.J. to this year’s team,” Tornado head coach and general manager Tony Curtale said. “We never wanted to give him up in the first place, but we had to make a tough decision in order to address our goaltending situation. I’m confident he’ll be a key contributor on this year’s squad.” Reuschlein is currently fifth on the team in scoring with 38 points in 42 games.

Reuschlein said he had been contacted by seven or eight schools and had visited Mercyhusrt. So, why West Pointand military service? “The prestige of the institution,” he stated. “It has some of the top people in America and provides outstanding academics. With all the things I have been given all my life, I felt like I needed to give something back.”

“I had the opportunity to go play D-I this year, but chose to come back here (Texas) to win a national championship. I missed out on the championship last year which kind of sucked so I want to win it this season. Tony (Tornado head coach Tony Curtale) has been great, I don’t think there is another coach out there that can prepare you for D-I like Tony can.”

When asked about his long term goals in life Reuschlein’s character showed through in his answer. “I would love to have the chance to play in the NHL, but I am completely content to go toWest Pointand to serve my country.”

“We’re excited for C.J.,” Tornado head coach and general manager Tony Curtale said. “He’s an extremely bright kid whose goal since he came to the Tornado was to not only play at the next level, but do so at an outstanding academic institution.West Point is one of the top schools in the country, and we think C.J. will be just as valuable to their hockey team as he is here with the Tornado.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

100

30

49

79

148

-9

1

0

0

0

0

Air Force

Tyler Rostenkowski – Amarillo Bulls

NAHL: Tyler Rostenkowski Amarillo Bulls

Tyler Rostenkowski is a 5’ 10” – 176 pound defenseman from Bloomingdale, IL. The well traveled veteran is with his third team in four NAHL seasons. Rostenkowski played two and a half seasons with the Texas Tornado beginning with the 2009/10 season. Midway through the 2011/12 season the Tornado traded him to the Wenatchee Wild where he also began the 2012/13 campaign, playing seven games before being acquired by the Amarillo Bulls. Rostenkowski attended high school at the Culver Military Academy before being drafted by the Tornado at the age of 16. Rostenkowski’s commitment to the Air Force came in January 2011 during his time with the Tornado.

Having attended Culver Military Academy, Rostenkowski had a good idea of what he was in for with the military training of a US Service Academy. “It was the opportunity to develop my leadership qualities while receiving a great education. And of course to play for a great program that Frank Serratore has built,” said Rostenkowski.

“I really enjoyed my visit to Air Force and I was so impressed with the facilities and coaching staff,” said an elated Rostenkowski. “Academically and athletically, I think it’s one of the best institutions in the country, so I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity. A lot credit has to go to (Tornado head coach) Tony Curtale and the coaching staff here in Texas because I feel I’ve developed a lot since coming here from Culver (MilitaryAcademy) as a young 16-year-old back in 2009.”

“We’re very happy and proud of Tyler with his collegiate commitment,” said Curtale. “He should be a great fit for Air Force. (Falcons) head coach Frank Serratore does a great job with that program and really believes in the type of player he gets from the North American Hockey League. He’s getting a guy in Tyler who has leadership qualities written all over him and will be a nice addition to their team.”

Rostenkowski was asked who the toughest player is that he knows, who has inspired him on the ice and his response was immediate, “Chris Rumble. I played against him and with him. He is An extremely skilled Dman who was diagnosed with acute leukemia last spring. Through chemotherapy he beat cancer and is now playing at Canisus College in Buffalo.” Tyler added “He has changed my life and is by far the strongest player I know.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

191

15

44

59

149

+42

17

1

7

8

8

Ryan Doucet – Jamestown Ironmen

NAHL: Ryan Doucet Jamestown Ironmen

Ryan Doucet is a San Jose, CA native who is a 6’ 4” – 210 pound forward. Doucet is with his third team and is in his second NAHL season. He began play in the NAHL with the Topeka RoadRunners in the 2011/12 season before being acquired by the Odessa Jackalopes. After playing in 30 games with the Jackalopes this season they sent him to the Jamestown Ironmen.

“I give the Jacks a lot of credit for being open to my strengths and my game,” said Doucet. “The Jackalopes gave me a chance to showcase my best assets, my size, my scoring ability, and that openness led to me making this commitment.”

Doucet had his eye on the future in deciding to commit to the Air Force Academy.  “My biggest factor was thinking about my life and career after hockey and seeing how I was going to get there. Air Force sets me up for that perfectly .”

Head Coach Paul Gillis said of Doucet, “Ryan’s a big, strong guy and he did very well for us down the stretch last season, I really think he’s going to be a big, big part of our team next year and have a very strong season.”

In Doucet’s opinion the most difficult aspect of playing in the NAHL has been “staying focused on my goal everyday and not being distracted by things outsider of hockey.” Doucet will need that focus, as he heads off to Colorado Springs and the Falcons next season.

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

88

23

25

48

77

-3

4

1

2

3

4

Chris Truehl – Johnstown Tomahawks

NAHL: Chris Truehl Johnstown Tomahawks

Chris Truehl is a 6’ 3” – 185 pound netminder from Stoughton, WI. This is Truehl’s first season in the NAHL after spending last season with the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League’s Soo Eagles. Truehl has played in 25 games for the Tomahawks this season.

“Air Force has an unbelievable campus, and the possibilities that go along with an education at the Academy are second to none,” said Truehl. “The players seem to be great guys, and I will hopefully be able to compete for playing time right away.”

“I was incredibly impressed with my trip,” he said. “The coaches made it clear that my academics and my future are just as important as my college hockey career.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

MIN

W

L

OTL

SO

GAA

SV%

25

1297

12

7

4

0

2.5

0.921

Ross Luedtke – Topeka RoadRunners

NAHL: Ross Luedtke Topeka RoadRunners

Ross Luedtke is a 6’ 1” – 185 pound forward from Medina, MN who graduated from Orono High School. As a senior in the Minnesota State High School Playoffs Luedtke scored hat tricks in three consecutive games. The veteran is in his second NAHL season and has played for four different organizations. Luedtke spent his entire rookie season of 2011/12 with the Coulee Region Chill. This season he has had difficulty unpacking his bags until arriving with the RoadRunners. His season began with three games for the Wichita Falls Wildcats followed by nine games with the Wenatchee Wild and now 18 with Topeka.

Luedtke feels his time in the NAHL has laid the foundation for future success both on and off the ice. “The NAHL is great preparation for the NCAA as it is fast and physical. Playing junior hockey has prepared me with skills as not only a hockey player but a person as well,” said Luedtke. “In junior hockey, you gain many life skills that you would not in another route. We are put in many different situations and are given many opportunities to grow. Whether it’s living with our host families or all the volunteering and numerous appearances we do. My time playing junior hockey has simply matured me as a person.”

The RoadRunners like all NAHL teams are involved with various charity and community outreach programs. When asked which experience he will remember most Leudtke replied; “The best experience I’ve had so far is when we visit the hospitals and get to spend time with the small children. It’s very rewarding when our presence alone puts a smile on the kid’s faces.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

90

12

19

31

58

-1

3

1

0

1

0

Ben Kucera – Wichita   Falls Wildcats

NAHL: Ben Kucera Wichita Falls Wildcats

Ben Kucera from Leawood, KS is a 5’ 8” – 165 pound forward for the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Kucera began his NAHL career with a brief late season stint in a Wildcats uniform during 2011/12. Kucera has been with Wichita Falls the entire 2012/23 season.

Kucera’s play was generating D-I interest when he signed with Air Force. “I didn’t have any offers yet from any other schools but I was being contacted by other D-I programs while I was being recruited by Air Force,” said Kucera. “The deciding factor was how my life would be after college, since their academics are second to none and I could be highly trained and ready to work in any career that I want.”

Ben has established some lofty goals stating, “Sort term, I want to graduate in the top 10% of my class at the Academy and be an All American athlete and student. Long term, I want to serve our country in every way possible until retirement.”

Kucera has also been involved in the community during his time with the Wildcats. He listed two of his favorites. “A coupe of my teammates and I run a mite practice with several young players to help introduce them to the game and develop their skills” Said Kucera. “We also deliver food to the less fortunate people of Wichita Falls through a program called Meals on Wheels.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

39

7

12

19

10

-2

Tyler Ledford – Wichita Falls Wildcats

NAHL: Tyler Ledford Wichita Falls Wildcats

Tyler Ledford is a 5’ 9” – 155 pound forward from Folsom, CA. Ledford is another who attended Culver Military Academy where he received the President’s Education Award. Ledford’s brother Zach was a defenseman for the Wildcats during the 2009/10 season and is now a junior playing for Bentley University. Tyler is in his first season with Wichita Fallsin the NAHL.

Since joining the Wildcats Ledford has become involved in the community. “Every week my teammate Oliver Janzen and I go mentor at a local elementary school,” said Ledford. ‘We’ve really bonded with our kids and they are always a blast to be around.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

39

4

17

21

14

-3

Will Vosejpka – Wichita Falls Wildcats

NAHL: Will Vosejpka Wichita Falls Wildcats

Will Vosejpka from Midland, MI is a 5’ 11” – 185 pound rookie forward for the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Vosejpka played his high school hockey for the Midland Chemics and in a 2011 Division 2 quarterfinals game he scored five goals to lead his team to the state semi-finals.

Vosejpka recited two major factors in his commitment to Air Force. “In my mind there have always been two key parts to my college selection. One, is that I can receive a top notch education, and two is that I can play high level hockey.  The Air Force Academy excels in both those aspects, so I knew it was a good choice for me,” stated Vosejpka. “I was talking to a couple other schools, but when the offer to attend Air Force came I knew that the combination of athletics and academics there was too good to pass up.  There was no reason for me to wait for any other offers.”

Will has set some laudable goals, “Long term I hope to have a successful career in the Air Force, most likely dealing with either economics or law, and also to raise a great family being as good of a parent as mine are to me.”

With his involvement in theWichita Falls local community, Vosejpka is already getting a taste of life after the Air Force Academy. “The best experience so far has been going to a local elementary school to mentor some of the kids there.  It is especially cool for me because the school I go to is on the local Air Force base,” said Vosejpka. “So it is neat to be able to be around that lifestyle every week.  I go there every Wednesday to volunteer and the most rewarding part is just seeing the look on the kids’ faces when I show up, because they are so excited to see a player from our team.  It really is an awesome feeling!”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

39

6

15

21

23

-3

Max Birkinbine – Fairbanks Icedogs

NAHL: Max Birkinbine Fairbanks Icedogs

Max Birkinbine from White Bear Lake, MN is a 5′ 10″ – 175 pound forward. In the always competitive Minnesota high school ranks, Birkinbine averaged 1.38 points per game scoring 35G – 31A and was a +40 in 48 games played over two seasons. As a senior he earned All-State Honorable Mention recognition.

“There is all the opportunities to get a good education and all the little perks you get for graduating from the Academy,” he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “Once I realized all the little things you get by going there, it wasn’t hard to make the decision.” Birkinbine is a versatile player who is willing to do what ever the team needs. In discussing his commitment with NAHL.com he said, “I feel I can fill multiple roles for them. Whether they need me to kill penalties or play defensively or provide offense, I’m going to go in there and work hard to find my place on the team.”

Birkinbine joined the Icedogs at the end of the 2010/11 season after his high school season ended adding two assists in five games. He played in all but one game for Fairbanks the following season before beginning the 2012/13 campaign with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. Fairbanks brought Birkinbine back at the trade deadline for the stretch run and he did not disappoint logging 12 points in 16 games.

“We were thankful to get Max back in a Fairbanks uniform,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart told NAHL.com.  “He has taken on a leadership role since he has been back and I think a player of his experience and skill is always good to have, especially come playoff time.  Max is a good skater, very responsible at both ends of the ice and is strong off the puck.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

80

17

34

51

58

+13

26

5

6

11

8

Ryan Dau – Janesville Jets

 NAHL: Ryan Dau Janesville Jets

Ryan Dau, from Hudson, WI is a 6′ 1″ – 180 pound forward who has spent the past two seasons in the NAHL. Prior to beginning his NAHL career Dau led his Hudson Raiders high school team in scoring with 20G – 21A in 20 games and was named All State. Dau logged 15 points in 21 games played in the Upper Mid-West High School Elite League playing for Team Wisconsin.

Dau made visits to the Ivy League institutions of Holy Cross and Princeton prior to selecting Air Force. “I did research into their program and loved everything about it,” Dau told Wisconsin Prep Hockey. “The coaching staff is unreal and I cannot wait to play for them.”

Dau played for four different teams in his two year NAHL career. He began with the Alaska Avalanche in 2011/12 before being dealt to the New Mexico Mustangs. With the Mustangs folding following the season Dau was left to find a new team and settled into the Wichita Falls Wildcat roster for the start of the 2012/13 season. After 17 games played, Janesville acquired Dau in a trade with the Wildcats. “I am very excited about this trade,” stated Jets Head Coach Joe Dibble announcing the trade on NAHL.com. “Ryan is going to bring a lot of speed, size, leadership and great work ethic to our team. He is going to be a very exciting player to watch here in Janesville.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

114

20

30

50

68

-19

AJ Reid – Austin Bruins

 NAHL: AJ Reid Austin Bruins

AJ Reid is a 5′ 10″ – 190 pound forward who resides in Lakeville, MN. Reid played his high school hockey with St Thomas Academy as well as being the school’s Cadet lieutenant colonel and member of its crack drill squad. As a senior Reid and his Cadet teammates won the state Class A championship. He has also been very involved in the community launching a 5013C non-profit called Teens for Change, which encourages teens to become positive influences in their communities.

In 2011 Reid received the Herb Brooks Award, given annually to the most qualified hockey player in the Minnesota state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined legendary hockey coach, Herb Brooks.

Reid played 19 games with the Fargo Force of the USHL before joining the Bruins roster midway through the 2011/12 season.

Bruins head coach had high praise for Reid in announcing his commitment. “AJ uses his quickness and feet to create turnovers and he had some really good chemistry with his linemates all season long,” Chris Tok told NAHL.com.  “He has tremendous speed, which allows him to win the one on one battles.”

NAHL Career Totals
Regular   Season Playoffs

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

81

33

61

94

64

+21

16

4

5

9

14

 

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Tags: Air Force Army NAHL

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