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      Proud to be the off-ice and strength & conditioning partner to the Esmark Stars AAA program!

      Esmark Stars AAA 2018-2019 COACHES

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is pleased to announce their head coaches for the 2018-2019 season.

      18U AAA - Dave Kosick / Yuri Krivokhija / Mark Hastings / Mike Heltman
      16U AAA - Dave Kosick / Yuri Krivokhija / Mark Hastings / Mike Heltman
      15U AAA - Derik Gaworski / Luke Kopchak

      In addition, Yuri Krivokhija will oversee skills training as the "Skills Coordinator" for Esmark Stars AAA Hockey. He will focus these efforts on development and skills training for the U15 Esmark AAA teams ... in addition to his work with the U16 and U18 squads.

      Skills Director - Yuri Krivokhija

       

      BILLET FAMILIES WANTED: 2018-2019 Season

      Know a family interested in opening their house to a travel hockey player billet for the upcoming 2018-2019 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 Tara Gorscak @ (724) 689-9911.

      Scheduling Games with the Esmark Stars

      Tier I AAA teams interested in scheduling games with the Esmark Stars teams (Midget 18U, Midget 16U, Midget 15U, should contact Dave Kosick, General Manager Esmark Stars AAA Hockey.

      Esmark Stars Coaching Applications

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is now accepting applications for assistant coaching positions for the 2018-2019 season.

      The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club will consist of seven (7) Tier I AAA teams for the 2018-2019 season offering teams at the '07, ’06, ’05 and ’04 birth years along with a 15U, 16U, and 18U team. 

      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!



      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.

      Former Stars Defenseman 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.

      Former Stars Goalie Eyed by NHL

      The Esmark Stars are pleased to announce that former Esmark goaltender Jake Kucharski  has been recognized as the number 5 North American goaltender in the NHL Central Scouting midseason rankings of 2018 draft-eligible players.

      The NHL will release its final rankings in April.  The Dallas Stars will host the 2018 NHL Draft at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Draft will be held over two days, June 22-23, 2018.

      Kucharski was previously recognized by the NHL's ‘November Prospects to Watch’ list for 2018 draft-eligible players and the release of NHL Central Scouting's "players to watch in North America and Europe." 

      Kucharski, who skated for the 16U Esmark Stars during the 2015-16 season, was one of three former NAPHL alumni recognized by the NHL's November Prospects to Watch’ list.

      This continues the recent trend of NAPHL alumni garnering recognition by NHL teams. Earlier last summer, two former players, Jeremy Swayman and Cole Hults, were selected in the 2017 NHL Draft.  During the past five NHL Drafts a total of 23 NAPHL alumni have been selected.

      Kucharski, who is currently skating for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, manned the nets for the NAHL's Austin Bruins during the 2016-17 season.

      Earlier this season, in September, Kucharski, a 6'4", 205-pound 18 year-old netminder, was selected, along with 41 other American-born NHL draft-eligible players, to participate in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

      The NHL Central Scouting list, comprised of "A," "B" and "C" players for the upcoming season in each of the major junior hockey leagues, are sent to NHL team scouts for the purpose of tracking the top draft-eligible players entering the 2017-18 season.  All "A" skaters have been identified as potential first-round picks, while "B" players are considered second- or third-round candidates. The players on the "C" list are thought to be fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round possibilities. Central Scouting's preliminary rankings were revealed in November. That list included the top 25 prospects for each of the various leagues throughout North America and Europe.

      Kucharski’s plan moving forward will take him from Des Moines, to Providence, Rhode Island, next fall, where he will be a member of NCAA Division I Providence College’s 2018-19 freshman class.

      But he would appreciate taking a detour through Dallas in June. “I always believed I could (get drafted), and always thought it would be awesome if I could,” he said. “To have made it to this point is a big accomplishment. But I know I’ve got a ways to go if I want to fulfill the ultimate goal.”

      Former Stars Forward keeps teammates laughing

      By Steve Stein

      Former Esmark Stars player Matt Amelio has a great sense of humor.  That's a big reason why he's so popular with his teammates on the Vermont Lumberjacks team in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL).

      "The guys enjoy playing with Matt," said Lumberjack';s head coach Jim Mosso.  "He's the glue in our locker room and the center of our team, a real character guy."

      Amelio doesn't mind being a character at times - and a leader all the time.

      "I like to keep the guys loose," he said.  "You're not going to play well if you're uptight.  Because I am one of the older guys on the team, I also feel it's important to show them the ropes."

      Amelia is dead serious about an important part of his hockey life.  Now in his final season of junior eligibility, he wants to continue his hockey career at a Division III college.

      "Anywhere," he said.  "I don't have a timeline for making a decision.  I'll know when it's the right place.  I love hockey.  I've been playing since I was five and I want to keep playing."

      Amelio has had some club team offers, but the goal for the 5-foot-8-inch, 185-pound forward is to land at a D-3 school.

      "We've gotten some calls from D-3 coaches," Mosso said.  "Any college team would be happy to have Matt in their locker room and his playing style will make him successful in the college game.  Playing D-3 is Matt's hope and dream."

      This is Amelio's second season with Lumberjacks' Premier Division team and he has made an impression on Motto.

      "Matt is the full package as a player," Mosso said.  "He's fast and strong, a good scorer, a real offensive threat.  He also takes care of his responsibilities on the defensive end."

      Amelio takes his defensive role seriously.

      "You need to play solid defense to create offense," he said.  "I understand the importance of protecting your zone.  I'll do whatever needs to be done to help my team."

      Amelio has a team-leading 20 goals along with 26 assists through 33 games this season.  His 46 points rank second on the Lumberjacks team.

      The Venetia, PA, native, who skated for the U18 Esmark Stars during the 2014-15 & 2015 seasons, has four power play goals, four power play assists, and two game-winning goals on his stat sheet this season.

      "I've adjusted to the pace of the game (in the Premier Division), and I'm stronger than I was last year," Amelio said.

      Amelio's output was a big reason why the Lumberjacks were doing well at the holiday break.  They currently sit in first-place in the North Conference at 26-6-0-1 for 53 points.