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USHL Teams Begin Looking Ahead to Next Year with Draft

By Tom Robinson, 05/30/19, 9:30AM MDT

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NAHL Draft to be held the first week in June

Defensemen went in the first two picks of Phase I of the United States Hockey League Draft. Phase I consisted of 10 rounds of 2003 birth year players. It was followed by Phase II for all players eligible for junior hockey and not currently protected by another USHL team.

With the first overall pick in Phase I, the Lincoln Stars selected Carter Schade out of Mars, Pennsylvania. Schade played this season on the Pittsburgh Penguins Junior Elite 16U team, winning a Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I National Championship in April.

Madison then picked Luke Mittelstadt — younger brother of the Buffalo Sabres’ Casey — from Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota. Of the first nine picks, three were from Pennsylvania and three were from Minnesota.

The first two picks in Phase II came from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. Under-18 winger Sean Farrell (Hopkinton, Massachusetts) was first to the Chicago Steel, followed by Under-17 forward Ryder Rolston (Birmingham, Michigan) to the Waterloo Black Hawks.

NAHL DRAFT: The NAHL Draft is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, beginning at 1 p.m. Central. Players less than 21 years of age as of December 31, 2019 are eligible for the draft as long as they did not accept a tender prior to the draft, are not listed on an NAHL roster or are listed on a roster, but played fewer than 10 regular-season and playoff games in the NAHL in 2018-19.   

The two newcomers to the league will begin the selections. The Maine Nordiques have the first pick, followed by the New Mexico Ice Wolves.

The draft can be followed at nahldraft.com.         

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Alex Camarre, a goalie for the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes, has committed to play at the University of Massachusetts.

Camarre, a 20-year-old from Buffalo, went 29-26-1-2 with a 3.06 goals against average and .914 save percentage in two seasons with the Jackalopes. He holds the Odessa franchise record for career wins.

COACHING CHANGES: Odessa has hired Todd Watson as its next head coach. Watson, 52, returns to the NAHL where he coached the Compuware Ambassadors to the Robertson Cup and a USA Hockey Junior A Championship in the 2002-03 season.

The Worcester Junior Railers have named James Mello as their head coach for the first season in the Eastern Hockey League. Mello, a former All-Ivy and All-ECAC goalie at Dartmouth College, has been serving as head coach at LaSalle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island.

The North American 3 Hockey League’s Coulee Region Chill has named Don Babineau as head coach and general manager. The position opened up when Jon Vaillancourt became associate head coach for the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness.

Babineau had served as head coach and general manager of the Euless Jr. Stars in the NA3HL in 2015-17. He previously had a successful run in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League, making it to six national tournaments.

EHL EXPANSION: The EHL is also adding the Seacoast Spartans.

The Spartans program has had 18U and 16U teams. It has purchased the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights EHL franchise and relocated it to Exeter, New Hampshire.

Brett Tryder, who had been coaching the USPHL Premier’s Connecticut Nighthawks, will be the team’s first coach.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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