• Jon Kohan

The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks, NAHL's East Division's Newest Team

by David Nicoletti

On May 11th, 2020, the North American Hockey League announced that they approved the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights relocation to Danbury, Connecticut to play as the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks for the 2020-21 NAHL season.

Danbury is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Located approximately 50 miles northeast of New York City, making it part of the New York metropolitan area. Danbury's population at the 2010 census was 80,893. The city is named for Danbury in Essex, England.

NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld said the following via a league press release:

“Wilkes-Barre/Scranton provided a great location for the first five years of the membership history.”
“Danbury has been a market of interest for years and will provide a great home for many years to come. It’s really exciting for me that all the local fans will finally be able to experience the high level of play on the ice and the very competitive East Division rivals."

The Jr. Hat Tricks will be playing their games at the Danbury Ice Arena, a 3,000 capacity seating arena that is currently home to a couple hockey teams; the Danbury Colonials of the NA3HL, the Danbury Hat Tricks of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL), and is also home to the Connecticut Whale of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). 

Danbury Arena managing partner Herm Sorcher said this via a press release concerning the relocation:

"We are looking forward to having NAHL hockey right here in town, which brings the highest level of junior hockey to the area. The addition of this team aligns to our vision of turning the Danbury Arena into a premier hockey destination.  We can't wait to drop the puck - we know our fans are going to love this team and the energy it brings.”

The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks will be playing in the highly competitive East Division to start the 2020-21 season. Playing with tough teams like the Johnstown Tomahawks, New Jersey Titans, Maryland Black Bears, Jamestown Rebels, Northeast Generals, and Maine Nordiques. 

The Jr. Hat Trick's head coach will be former NAHL’er Billy McCreary. A native of Southampton, Ontario, McCreary played in the NAHL with the Texas Tornado and tallied 45 goals, and  71 assists, in 98 career games. He was named to the All-Rookie team and a First Team All-Star during the 2002-03 season.

McCreary was the head coach and general manager of the Danbury Hat Tricks of the FPHL last season, where he was named Coach of the Year. 

Danbury’s color scheme consists of four colors: orange, grey, black, and white. They are one of four new NAHL teams that will take to the ice this coming up season. Other teams include the Kansas City Scouts, the St. Cloud Norsemen, and the Wichita Falls Warriors. Wichita and Kansas City will play in the South Division. While St. Cloud will play in the Central Division.  

So far the Jr. Hat Trick’s have done the following: 

  • Drafted forwards Andrew Eberling, Alexander Krause, Cody Hoban, Daniel Sambuco, Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero, Calaghan Couell, defenseman Adam Shuchart, Stephen Spetz, Preston Stafford, Blake Campbell, Sean Melso, D.J. Hart, and goaltender Carter Clafton.

  • Signed forwards Alexander Duncan, Jason Kleinhans, Eddie Pazo, Brandon Cope defenseman Hank McDonough, and goaltender Edvard Nordlund all to tender agreements

  • Acquired forwards Benjamin Biester and Luke Wheeler from the Corpus Christi IceRays in exchange for forward Chris Rubenach and a 2021 third-round pick in a trade.

  • Assigned Brian Walsh as Billet Coordinator for Danbury Arena.

  • Assigned Vince Malts as Culture/Mindset Coach

  • Assigned Sam Hunt as both Assistant Director of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel.

For those of you who might be asking yourself, what is a tender? A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team.

“The arrival of the NAHL is an exciting moment for not only hockey in Danbury, but the entire state of Connecticut. The North American Hockey League has been instrumental in developing players into NCAA student athletes and we are honored to continue that tradition", said Billy McCreary

McCreary added, “We are extremely excited to be able to build a culture that embodies the spirit of the NAHL, while focusing on developing our players into future NCAA and Professional athletes.  It’s our commitment to not only helping our players achieve their goals, but to also build a ‘family’ that competes for a Robertson Cup year in and year out."

The NAHL season is scheduled to start on Friday, October 9th. I am excited to see the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks begin playing their first season of junior hockey. Playing against the Tomahawks and other rivals in the East Division. Can’t wait to see them take the ice here in Johnstown. Let’s see if they can give our boys a good fight throughout the season. Don’t forget to give us your thoughts about the relocation and your opinions on how you think the Jr. Hat Tricks will do in their first season of play. Also if you liked this article, don’t forget to read our other articles we have up on Hawks-Daily.com

Lets Go Hawks!!!

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