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      Stars to Honor Alina Sheykhet, Slain University of Pittsburgh Student

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, in conjunction with the international group Friendship Bridge Association, will hold a special ceremony to honor slain University of Pittsburgh student Alina Sheykhet on Friday, Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

      The event will take place prior to the U16 AAA Esmark Stars game as they play host to the U16 AAA Indy Jr. Fuel.

      The Stars will wear special uniforms featuring "Alina's Light" (a charitable organization established to honor Ms. Sheykhet) for the game, honoring Alina's memory. In addition, a special presentation will be made to the parents and family of Ms. Sheykhet prior to the game.

      The event is open to the public and admission is free.

      Sheykhet, who had emigrated to the United States from Russia with her parents as a young child, was murdered, on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, by a former boyfriend who has since been convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the brutal crime.

      Originally from Ivanovo, Russia, Sheykhet was a 2015 graduate of Montour High School.

      The then 20-year old sophomore student at the University of Pittsburgh is survived by her mother, Elly, father, Yan, and brother, Artem.

      The Sheykhet's are friends with U16 head coach Yuri Krivokhija and his wife Alona.

      Information regarding and donations towards Ms. Sheykhet's charity "Alina's Light" can be made on-line at (www.alinaslight.com).

      Alina's Light was created to honor Alina's life by supporting the causes that were important to her, as well as raising awareness and promoting education on topics related to domestic violence. Alina's Light also promotes the passage and implementation of laws policies that protect victims of domestic violence, such as Pennsylvania House Bill 588, which has been titled "Alina's Law."

      Esmark Stars AAA 2019-2020 COACHES

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is pleased to announce their head coaches for the 2019-2020 season.

      18U AAA - Dave Kosick
      16U AAA - Yuri Krivokhija
      15U AAA - Derik Gaworski


      Skills Director - Yuri Krivokhija

      In addition, Yuri Krivokhija will serve as "skills training" director for Esmark Stars AAA Hockey. In that role, he will focus efforts on development and skills training with all Esmark AAA teams.

      Scheduling Games with the Esmark Stars

      Tier I AAA teams interested in scheduling games with the Esmark Stars teams for the 2019-20 season at the Midget 18U, Midget 16U, and Midget 15U levels should contact Dave Kosick, General Manager Esmark Stars AAA Hockey, (dwk@thekmagroup.com).

      BILLET FAMILIES WANTED: 2019-2020 Season

      Know a family interested in opening their house to a travel hockey player billet for the 2019-2020 season?

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is seeking families interested in serving as billet families. Families, both from within and outside of the Esmark Stars and Pittsburgh Viper Hockey Organization, are encouraged to participate.

      If your family would be interested in participating or if you have any questions, please contact Dave Kosick @ (dwk@thekmagroup.com).

      Esmark Stars Coaching Applications

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is now accepting applications for assistant coaching positions for the 2020-2021 season.

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club consists of three (3) Tier I AAA teams for the 2019-2020 season offering teams at the 15U, 16U, and 18U levels. 

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is a national and internationally recognized club that provides elite level training and development.  The club provides Tier I hockey players exposure on a regional, national and international level mixed with on- and off-ice training designed to allow each player to maximize their potential ... all while providing constructive lessons that allow them to excel in life.

      If you are interested in joining the coaching ranks of the Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, please click on link below and complete the form.

      If you have any questions please contact Dave Kosick at dwk@thekmagroup.com.

      We appreciate your interest in joining the Esmark Stars AAA Club and helping our players ... Shoot for the Stars!

      photo courtesy Matt Kosick

      ESMARK STARS RECENT COLLEGE COMMITMENTS

      GORSCAK Commits to NIAGARA UNIVERSITY

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark forward Christian Gorscak has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Niagara University Purple Eagles of the Atlantic Hockey Association.

      Gorscak, a native of Jeannette, PA, skated for the 16U AAA Esmark Stars during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, during which he registered 159 points (77 goals and 82 assists) in 141 games played.  Those numbers included 60 points in 48 career games in NAPHL action. 

      During the 2016-17 season, he helped the Stars to the NAPHL 16U Dixon Cup Championship, appeared in the NAPHL 16U All-Star Game, and was named to the All-NAPHL 16U First Team.

      He signed a tender with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) following his second season on the Stars 16U squad

      Through 12 games this season, his third season with the Johnstown, Gorscak (185 lbs., 5’11"), has registered 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists), and is the current team leader in assists and tied for third in assists in the entire NAHL.

      In three seasons of playing in the NAHL, Gorscak has appeared in 114 career regular season games and recorded 48 points.

      "It is so great to see Christian rewarded with his commitment to Niagara University. He is a first class human being and his play on the ice has spoken for itself," said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.

      ”When we tendered Christian as a young rookie from the Esmark Stars U16 program out of the NAPHL, we knew he was a talented player, but it was remarkable to see his maturity at a young age. He has improved his game in various ways each season while maintaining his infectious positive attitude and team first mentality. I am extremely happy for him and his family because he truly deserves this. Niagara University is not just getting a great hockey player, but more importantly, an incredible person," Letizia added.

      Gorscak is part of a growing number of Ladder of Development players that began playing in the NAPHL and have seen their careers move onto the NAHL and then eventually, NCAA Division I college hockey.

      Since 2000, the Niagara University Purple Eagles have four NCAA tournament appearances, and have clinched four Conference Regular Season Championships and Three Conference Tournament Championships.

      Gorscak's commitment begins with the 2021-22 collegiate season, affording him the opportunity to remain with the Tomahawks through this year and the 2020-21 season.

      Pidro Signs NCAA Div III Commitment

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Nico Pidro has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Wilkes University in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).

      Pidro, from Canonsburg, PA, earned back-to-back Dixon Cup Championships with Stars as he helped guide the 18U Stars to their first Dixon Cup Championship this past season and the U16 Stars to their first Dixon Cup Championship during the 2016-17 season.

      He was the winning goaltender in both NAPHL Playoff Championship games, defeating the 18U Tampa Scorpions 5-2 for the '17-'18 18U crown and earning the shutout and 1-0 win over the 16U Rocky Mountain RoughRiders for the '16-'17 16U crown.

      During the 2017-18 campaign, the 6'2", 195 lbs. goaltender, appeared in 34 games for the U18 AAA Stars, compiling an 18-11-1-4 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.42 and a save percentage of .882.  He also recorded 3 shut-outs.

      Those numbers included appearances in eight regular season NAPHL games where he complied a 3-2-0-3 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.96 and a save percentage of .906 and a 2-1-0-0 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.67 and a save percentage of .930 in three Dixon Cup Playoff appearances.

      During the  2016-17 season, Pidro skated for Esmark's U16 squad where he compiled a 6-4-0-1 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.25 and a save percentage of .904 in 11 regular season games and a 4-0-0-0 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.25 and a save percentage of .942 and two shutouts in four Dixon Cup Playoff appearances.

      "Nico will be a great fit for the Colonels," said Esmark U18 AAA head coach Dave Kosick. "He obviously demonstrated over the past two seasons that he is a big game goaltender."

      Wilkes, which is located in Wilkes-Barre, PA,  will make its program debut Oct. 26 in Canton, NY,  in a non-conference matchup against SUNY Canton. The game will be part of an ambitious 25-game regular-season schedule, which includes 18 games in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).

      The UCHC consists of Chatham University (PA), Elmira College (NY), King's College (PA), Lebanon Valley College (PA), Manhattanville College (NY), Nazareth College (NY), Neumann University (PA), Stevenson University (MD), and Utica College (NY).
       
      Wilkes will also play eight games in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC). The MAC has served as Wilkes' primary conference since 1947 and the Colonels will be joined in the UCHC by fellow MAC members King's, Lebanon Valley, Manhattanville and Stevenson.

      Lamison Commits to NCAA Div. III Chatham University

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark Stars AAA Hockey forward Michael Lamison has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Chatham University in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).

      Lamison, from Johnstown, PA, skated for Esmark's U18 squad during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.  During his tenure with the Stars, he would also participate in the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament post the '15-'16 season and played in the U18 All-Star game during the '16-'17 campaign.  In addition, he would served as captain of the U18 Stars during the 2016-17 season.

      During the 2016-17 season, the 5'8", 160 lbs. center, tallied 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 68 games, including 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 26 NAPHL regular season and playoff games.  

      During the 2015-16 season, he had 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 63 games, including 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 29 NAPHL regular season and playoff games.  He also picked up 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in four NAPHL Top Prospects games.

      Lamison would go on to skate for the Southern Tier Xpress of the NA3HL during the 2017-18 season.  In 42 games with the Express, Lamison recorded 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 42 regular season games.  He added 2 points (1 goals, 1 assists) in 2 NA3HL playoff games.  

      "Michael will be a great addition to the Cougars," said Esmark general manager Dave Kosick. "He represents all the great qualities a program looks for ... great student, gifted athlete, great teammate, super person."

      Chatham, which is located in Pittsburgh, PA,  is a member of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).

      The UCHC consists of Wilkes University (PA), Elmira College (NY), King's College (PA), Lebanon Valley College (PA), Manhattanville College (NY), Nazareth College (NY), Neumann University (PA), Stevenson University (MD), and Utica College (NY).

      Brown Commits to Air Force

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark forward Parker Brown has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Air Force Falcons of the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

      Brown a Hanahan, SC, native, skated for the 18U AAA Esmark Stars during the 2017-18 season, during which he registered 57 points (21 goals and 36 assists) in 61 games played.  Those numbers included 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 23 games in NAPHL action. 

      He signed a tender with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during his 18U season for Esmark

      During his 2018-2019 campaign with Fairbanks, his rookie season, Brown (160 lbs., 5’9"), registered 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 57 regular season games and helped lead the Ice Dogs to first place in the Mid-West Division.

      “I was extremely excited to hear Brownie committed to Air Force,” said Esmark Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick. "He has world-class skating ability and always comes to the rink prepared to play."

      Brown becomes the 9th Ice Dog this season to commit to play Div I NCAA Hockey next season.

      Brown will join former Esmark defenseman Carter Ekberg in Colorado Springs.  Ekberg, who tendered with the Janesville Jets, during his 18U season with the Stars, committed to the Air Force Academy last season and appeared in 27 games with the Falcons during his freshman year last season.

      "Much like Carter, Parker will be a great addition to the Air Force roster," Kosick said. "He is a solid young man ... on and off the ice."

      The Falcons play at the nearly 2,500-seat Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, CO.  Head coach Frank Serratore has held the reigns since 1997, and two seasons ago joined a group of just 22 with his 400th career NCAA Division I win.

      With his NCAA D-I commitment secured, Brown can now focus on helping the Ice Dogs drive for a long playoff run.

      Ekberg Commits to Air Force Academy

      The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark Stars defenseman Carter Ekberg has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Air Force Falcons of Atlantic Hockey.

      Ekberg played two seasons of 16U, Pittsburgh Viper Stars (2012-13) and the Esmark Stars (2013-14), and then one season, his senior year, with Esmark (2014-15), during which he registered 23 points in 24 NAPHL games.  He signed a tender with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during his 18U season

      A McMurray, PA, native, Ekberg (180 lbs., 6’1") has played for the Jets for parts of four seasons.  In 84 career NAHL games, all with Janesville, Ekberg has totaled 32 points.

      Ekberg is the first Jets defenseman this season to earn his NCAA commitment.

      “I’m extremely excited to commit to Air Force,” said Ekberg. “This year has been huge for me, becoming a leader on the team and having more chances to play and make big impacts on every game. It’s had a huge impact on my confidence.”

      Ekberg joins forwards Kip Hoffmann (Robert Morris) and T.J. Polglaze (Michigan Tech) as 1997-born Jets veterans to earn their commitment this season.

      “This year Carter has taken a huge step and evolved into a complete, two-way guy on the back end,” said assistant coach Corey Leivermann, who works with the team’s defensemen. “As the ‘D’ coach, he’s meant everything to me and to our group. When he’s healthy I lean on him heavily because I know he consistently gives us what we need in all situations. Whether it’s the power play, penalty kill, five-on-five, the first minute of a period, the last minute of a period, overtime, it doesn’t matter ... Carter Ekberg is our guy.”

      "I think Carter realizes this day came to be because of a huge investment of blood, tears and sweat," said his U18 Esmark head coach Dave Kosick.  "He is an extremely bright and skilled young man who will be a great addition to the Air Force Academy."

      “As a young, developing guy, you sit out games, holding clipboards, battling to earn your spot every day. There are a lot of stories like that in this league with older guys getting commitments at the ends of their junior careers. I’m definitely not the first,” said Ekberg.

      Ekberg’s junior career began in March of 2015 with two games as an affiliate player of the Jets. He started the following season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, suiting up for two games before rejoining to the Jets again in October.

      Ekberg played 22 games with the Jets before getting another crack at the USHL with a call from the Youngstown Phantoms in February.  He again returned to the Jets for the 2016-17 campaign with the Jets.

      This season, Ekberg tops Janesville's blueliners in scoring with four goals and 18 total points, playing most of the season on the Jet's top pair.

      “As a kid coming out of that Esmark Stars program, the first thing you noticed about Carter’s game was his mobility,” said former Jets head coach Joe Dibble, who brought Ekberg to the Jets and coached him for two seasons. 

      Dibble said he’s seen Ekberg take important strides both mentally and physically.

      “He’s always been an elite skater who plays with his head up and has the skill to make plays, but I was especially impressed with his development this year.  Last summer I think he really dedicated himself to becoming a college athlete. He worked on his strength and you see him now stronger on the puck, stronger in the corners, stronger in front of his own net,"  Dibble said.

      "He’s always been a confident skater and playmaker, but now you see that confidence defensively and without the puck. He’s a complete defenseman who’s ready to become a student athlete at the Division I level," he added.

      The Falcons play at the nearly 2,500-seat Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, CO.  Head coach Frank Serratore has held the reigns since 1997, and last season joined a group of just 22 with his 400th career NCAA Division I win.

      “The coaching staff was definitely one of the biggest reasons for choosing Air Force,” said Ekberg.  “A bunch of them are alumni, or they played D-1, or they played pro, so they know what they’re talking about.  They’re all great, knowledgeable people who made me feel super welcome and wanted there, which was important to me. I can’t say enough good things about that staff.”

      To Leivermann, it’s an especially great fit for Ekberg as a student and as a person.

      “That’s an amazing academic school out there in Colorado,” he said. “That works well for a smart kid like Ekberg. He’ll get good academics, he’ll get to play good hockey, and they do a great job helping their alumni find careers after their playing days, too.”

      Air Force recorded five NCAA tournament appearances from 2007 through 2012, missing just once in 2010. Last spring, the Falcons qualified again, breaking a four-year drought. Their offense includes attacking defensemen, said Ekberg, which was a major reason in choosing the school.

      “They like to get their ‘D’ involved in the offense,” Ekberg said. “Coach Serratore told me they try to activate them through the zones, which is a good fit for me. I like to take my chances when I see fit, and that’s something they’re big on. It’s a good opportunity for me to be an offensive guy on the back end.”

      With his NCAA D-I commitment secured, Ekberg said he feels even more ready for a long playoff run with the Jets.

      2019-2020 ESMARK STARS TENDERS


      Ruffner Signs with Wichita Falls

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Lane Ruffner has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Wichita Falls (TX) Warriors.

      The 18-year old western Pennsylvania native, who is a senior at Greater Latrobe High School in Latrobe, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 Stars squad, Ruffner had previously skated for the U16, U15 and U13 Esmark Stars.

      To date this season, Ruffner (6'1", 180 lbs.) has tallied 5 points, all assists, in 12 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, to date, he has recorded 17 points (1 goals, 16 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 33 games played.

      During the 2018-19 NAPHL season, he registered 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist), in 19 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, he recorded 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 60 games.

      During the 2017-18 NAPHL season, Ruffner registered 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists), in 25 16U AAA league games. Overall, he recorded 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 48 games.

      During the 2016-17 NAPHL season at U15, he registered 2 points (2 assists), in league games. 

      Last season, Ruffner helped lead Esmark's U18 squad to the Mid-American District Championship and a spot at the USA Hockey 18U Tier I National Championships. 

      "Lane earned this opportunity because of the hard work and dedication he has brought to the rink every day for the past five years," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He is an outstanding defensive player, certainly among the best in our league, and he now being given an opportunity to take his game to the next level."

      Ruffner is the second member of the 2019-2020 Esmark Stars to secure a tender with an NAHL squad for the 2020-2021 season.  Teammate Dustin Gergerach previously signed with the NAHL's Johnstown Tomahawks.

      Wichita Falls will be returning to the NAHL and the league's Southern Division after a three-year hiatus

      The team, which is owned by Robbie Hockey LLC, an entity owned and operated by Mary Anne Choi, will begin play during the 2020-21 season and play out of the 6,500 seat Kay Yeager Coliseum.

      The NAHL has had a team in the Southern part of the United States since 199, with the South Division first forming in 2003.

      The division currently has seven teams competing in the NAHL: Amarillo Bulls (Amarillo, TX), Corpus Christi IceRays (Corpus Christi, TX), Lone Star Brahmas (North Richland Hills, Texas), New Mexico Ice Wolves (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Odessa Jackalopes (Odessa, TX), Shreveport Mudbugs (Shreveport, LA), and Topeka Pilots (Topeka, KS). 

      Geregach Signs with Johnstown Tomahawks

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Dustin Geregach has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL’s East Division. 

      The 18-year old western Pennsylvania native, who is a senior at Montour High School in Robinson, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 Stars squad, Geregach skated for the U16 Armstrong Arrows.

      To date this season, Geregach (6'0", 185 lbs.) has tallied 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists), including 2 power play goals, in 12 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, to date, he has recorded 27 points (7 goals, 20 assists), including 5 power play goals, in 30 games played.

      During the 2018-19 NAPHL season, Geregach registered 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists), in 19 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, he recorded 47 points (14 goals, 33 assists), including 5 power play goals, in 61 games.

      Last season, Geregach helped lead Esmark's U18 squad to the Mid-American District Championship and a spot at the USA Hockey 18U Tier I National Championships. He was also selected to play in the NAPHL's Top Prospects Showcase at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.

      "Dusty has busted his tail and worked hard on his game over the past year and a half ," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "His overall game and calm on the ice has had him on  a number of team's radar.  Johnstown landed themselves a truly solid d-man."

      Geregach is the first member of the 2019-2020 Esmark Stars to secure a tender with an NAHL squad for the 2020-2021 season.

      2018-2019 Esmark Stars Tenders

      Yerameichyk Signs Tender with Chippewa Steel

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Raman Yerameichyk has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Chippewa Steel of the NAHL’s Mid-West Division.  The Steel are located in Chippewa Falls, WI.

      A native of Minsk, Belarus, the 18-year old senior at Westmont Hilltop High School in Johnstown, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 Stars squad, Yerameichyk skated one season for the U16 AAA Esmark Stars.

      During the 2018-19 NAPHL regular-season NAPHL, Yerameichyk (6'0", 175 lbs.) registered 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists), in 16 NAPHL games. Last season, 2017-18, Yerameichyk registered 9 points (7 goals, 2 assists), including one power play goal, in 18 NAPHL games. And during the 2016-17 season as a member of the U16 Esmark Stars, Yerameichyk recorded 11 points (4 goals and 7 assists) in 18 games.

      He helped lead Esmark to their first 16U Dixon Cup as Playoff Champions of the NAPHL’s 16U Division in 2016-17 and then the 18U Stars to their first 18U Dixon Cup as Playoff Champions of the NAPHL’s 18U Division in 2017-18.

      Overall this season, Yerameichyk has recorded 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists), including one power play goal, and a +/- rating of +24 in 42 overall games, helping pace the Stars to a 32-9-1-1 record to date.  During the 2017-18 season, he recorded 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists), including two power play goals, in 61 games played, helping the Stars to a 36-17-2-6 record.  And during the 2016-17 U16 campaign, Yerameichyk recorded 27 points (16 goals and 11 assists), including two power play goals and one short-handed goal, in 51 games as the Stars amassed a 56-13-5-3 record.

      "Raman has worked hard to integrate the North American style of the game with his world-class skill set," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "And this is a great reward for that hard work and sweat equity."

      Yerameichyk joins teammates Tyler Stewart and Jackson Dobbs, both of whom had previously signed tenders with the Johnstown Tomahawks, of the NAHL’s East Division.

      Rey Signs Tender with Jersey Hitmen (NCDC)

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U AAA goaltender Parker Rey has signed a tender agreement with the Jersey Hitmen of the USPHL's "National Collegiate Development Conference" (NCDC) Division.  The Hitmen are located in Wayne, NJ.

      The 2018-19 season was Rey's first year with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to his season with the Stars, Rey skated for the U18 Cleveland Barons of the TOEHL during the 2017-18 season.

      For the 2018-2019 season, the 18 year old net-minder appeared in 36 games for the Stars, finishing with a 24-10-0-1 record, including five shutout wins. Rey finished the season with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.11 and a 92.92% save percentage.

      He backstopped the 18U Stars to the Mid-American District Championship running off three straight round-robin wins ... Cleveland Barons (4-3), Ohio AAA Blue Jackets (4-3 OT/SO win), Gilmour Academy (6-5 OT/SO win) ... and then earning the win in goal and the Mid-American title with a 2-1 overtime win over Culver Military Academy in which he stopped 48 of 49 shots he faced.

      "Parker's performance against Culver was a masterpiece and a clear showing of his capabilities," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick.

      "He brings a great work ethic and mindset to the rink every day. Add that to his physical size and athletic ability and you have a goaltender who checks off all the boxes that elite junior and collegiate teams seek," Kosick added.

      Post-season, Rey was selected to participate in the NAPHL's Top Prospects Tournament, which was held in conjunction with the NAHL's Robertson Cup Championship in Blaine, MN. That event brought together ten elite all-star teams, including teams from the NAPHL, AYHL, TOEHL, NA3HL, Minnesota, Michigan and Europe.

      Rey joins four other members of the 2018-19 Esmark 18U club (Andrew Jacobs, New Mexico Ice Wolves; Raman Yerameichyk, Chippewa Steel; and Tyler Stewart and Jackson Dobbs, Johnstown Tomahawks, all of the North American Hockey League), in signing junior tenders.

      Dobbs Tenders with Tomahawks

      18U forward Jackson Dobbs has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL’s East Division.

      A native of Wixom, MI, Dobbs, 17, is in his first season with the U18 Stars. To date the 6', 180 lbs. forward has registered 7 points (3 goal, 4 assists) in 12 NAPHL games. The junior at Bishop McCort High School has recorded 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists), including 5 power play goals, in 38 overall games, helping pace the Stars to a 28-8-1-1 record to date.

      "Jackson has been on the Tomahawks radar for a while," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He had a really good showing at the Tomahawks camp and we were was asked to work with him on some aspects of his game. And work he has."

      Dobbs joins teammate Tyler Stewart, who also signed with the Tomahawks, as the first Esmark players to sign NAHL tenders this season.

      Stewart Signs Tender with Tomahawks

      18U forward Tyler Stewart has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL’s East Division.

      A native of Burrell, PA, the 17-year old junior at Burrell High School is in his first season with the U18 AAA Stars. He skated the past two seasons with the highly regarded and nationally ranked top 10 Pittsburgh Vipers AA U16 squad under Si Bishop.

      To date, Stewart (5'10", 160 lbs.) has registered 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists), including 1 power play goal,  in 12 NAPHL games this season to lead the Stars in NAPHL scoring.

      Overall he leads the Stars Midget Major club in scoring recording 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists), including 2 power play goals, in 38 overall games, and helping pace the Stars to a 28-8-1-1 record to date.

      "Tyler most definitely has world-class skills," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "And because of that ... we have fielded a lot of calls from junior teams across the nation who have been overwhelmingly impressed by what he does in the offensive zone."

      Stewart joins teammate Jackson Dobbs, who also signed with the Tomahawks, as the first Esmark players to sign NAHL tenders this season.

      Jacobs Signs Tender with New Mexico Ice Wolves

      Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Andrew Jacobs has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the New Mexico Ice Wolves of the NAHL’s South Division.

      The Ice Wolves, who will play out of the Outpost Ice Arena in northeast Albuquerque, NM, are one of two new expansion teams in the NAHL for the 2019-2020 season, joining the Maine Nordiques.

      A native of Conneaut Lake, PA, the 18-year old senior at Conneaut Lake High School just completed his second season with the U18 AAA Stars, helping lead Esmark to the U18 Tier I Mid American District Championship and the USA Hockey U18 Tier I National Championships.

      During the 2018-19 NAPHL regular-season NAPHL, Jacobs (6'0", 180 lbs.) registered 3 points (0 goals, 3 assists), in 20 NAPHL games. Last season, 2017-18, he registered 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists), including one power play goal, in 24 NAPHL games, and helped lead Esmark to their first Dixon Cup Championship as Playoff Champions of the NAPHL's 18U Division.

      Overall this season, Jacobs recorded 31 points (5 goals, 26 assists), including two power play goals, and a +/- rating of +29 in 62 games played, helping pace the Stars to a 46-14-1-1 record and a spot in USA Hockey's National Championship Tournament.  During the 2017-18 season, he recorded 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists), including one power play goal and a +/- rating of +26, in 59 games played, helping the Stars to a 36-17-2-6 record. 

      "Drew is a young man who showed up at practice everyday determined to be a better player," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He is an elite-level d-man with great skating ability and an outstanding overall skill set."

      Jacobs is the fourth player from the Esmark Stars 18U team who has signed an NAHL tender so far this season. He joins teammates Raman Yerameichyk, Chippewa Steel,  and Tyler Stewart and Jackson Dobbs, both  Johnstown Tomahawks, in signing tenders for NAHL teams for the 2019-2020 season.

      ESMARK STARS IN THE NEWS

      J.T. Schimizzi and Blake Rossi share a 'Latrobe connection'

      Reprinted from the Post

      by Jack Gleckler 

      J.T. Schimizzi and Blake Rossi hobbled out from the locker room, skates on and panting from that day’s practice.

      Rossi and Schimizzi share a friendship that has forged over the last decade. They are roommates, teammates and have what they call “the Latrobe connection.”

      The Pennsylvania natives are as close as two teammates can be. Both were raised near Latrobe, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and grew up 15 minutes away from each other. They began playing hockey at young ages, and both began skating before they were in kindergarten. 

      The duo played together on the same team for nine years — from elementary school to the Esmark Stars 18U team. Rossi tallied 18 points in 26 games, and Schimizzi totaled 29 points in 30 games over two seasons.

      “It’s an awesome organization,” Rossi said. “We played our whole entire lives, but the past two years we were both on (the Stars), and last year, we made it to nationals, which is the first that team had made it in probably 10 years.”

      The nine-year streak was broken when Rossi joined the Amarillo Bulls and Schimizzi joined the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League last season. Neither saw much action. They can count on one hand the number of games they played for their respective teams. The two returned to the Stars at the end of the season. 

      Scouts took notice of the duo during their time at Latrobe and with the Stars. Former assistant coach for Ohio Mike Gugin approached each of them with offers to join the Bobcats. Schimizzi had family ties to Ohio, his older sister and cousins were alumni. The offer was too good to pass up.

      “I let (Rossi) know that OU was gonna be my plan, and he was like, ‘Well, now I got to look into it, too,‘“ Schimizzi said. “It really worked out for the best that we were able to come here together.”

      Rossi and Schimizzi are looking to refine their skills together again this season. They’re only two of an 11-player freshmen class, and they both want to prove they can step into key roles immediately. Schimizzi plays center and is actively looking to be more defensive-minded. Rossi wants to be more aggressive around the net and develop a stronger presence on the ice. 

      Improving is how the pair plans to contribute to the cause this season. The goal of any team is to win the national championship, but the Bobcats say it’s now or never. The two want to give back to the seniors that have provided for them by winning the American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship. The Bobcats lost in the national quarterfinals last year to Iowa State.

      “The consensus from the seniors this year is that we gotta win this year,” Schimizzi said. “These guys have been working their butts off for years to get to that point, and we both just want to contribute and make that happen.”

      Schimizzi and Rossi will get their chance to contribute once the season kicks into gear with the Green and White scrimmage on Sept. 14.

      Kucharski Selected in 2018 NHL Draft

      Pittsburgh, PA - Former Esmark Stars AAA Hockey goaltender Jake Kucharski was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes on Day Two of the 2018 NHL Draft.

      The 6’4"/193 lbs. native of Erie, PA, who began his climb up the ladder of development with the Esmark program's U16 club during the 2015-16 season, was selected in the seventh round, 197th overall. 

      During the '15-'16 season, Kucharski posted a 1.77 goals against average and .917 save percentage for the Stars, including three shut-outs, in 14 NAPHL games. Overall, in 32 Esmark 16U AAA game appearances, he finished with a .896% save percentage and a a 2.41 GAA with five shut-outs.

      After the '15-'16 season, Kucharski signed a tender agreement with the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  In addition, he was also selected in the ninth round of the 2016 USHL Draft, pick #140, by the Chicago Steele.

      Kucharski spent most of the 2016-17 with  Austin. where he played in 34 games with a save percentage of .894 and posted a goals against average of 3.31.

      During the 2017-18 campaign, Kucharski skated for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL, where he returned for the current campaign.

      Kucharski has also signed a letter of commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Providence Friars beginning with the 2019-20 season.

      "I was very proud to see Jake get selected in the Draft," said Esmark Stars U16 head coach Yuri Krivokhija, who himself was selected by the Montreal Canadians in the 10th round of the 1988 NHL draft. "He has worked really hard and stayed focused on achieving his goal," Krivokhija added, "and he is now one step closer to reaching it," 

      Kucharski joins former Stars players Grant Lewis (2004 draft, second round, 40th overall) and Miles Liberati (2013 Draft, seventh round, 205th overall) in being selected in the annual NHL draft.

      "As both Lewis and Liberati did, Jake has parlayed the opportunity that playing with the Stars provided him ... to chase his dreams all the way to the NHL Draft," said Stars founder and General Manager Dave Kosick.  "Proving that dreams, mixed with sweat and hard work, can come true."

      Former Stars Earn All-MAC Honors

      Two former members of the Esmark Stars AAA program were among four players from Lebanon Valley College Dutchman that were named to the  2017-18 All-Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Teams, as chosen by the league's coaches.

      Forward Cole Hepler and goaltender Tyler Perhac each garnered Second-Team recognition for the league’s inaugural All-League Teams.

      Hepler picked up 20 points this season, and was fourth on the team in goals, with nine, and fifth on the squad in assists, with 11.  He netted four goals on the man-advantage, and led LVC with three short-handed goals, including two in LVC's outdoor game against Chatham last month. The assistant captain also registered two game-winning goals on the year.

      Perhac enjoyed a breakout season in 2017-18, going 6-3-1 and recording one shutout. The sophomore allowed just 2.62 goals per game and had a saves percentage of .913. His lone shutout of the season came at the Dutchmen Outdoor Classic where he stopped all 16 shots he faced against Chatham.