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Esmark U16 to participate in Russian Tournament

By DLG 07/28/2019, 12:45pm EDT

U16 team to play in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan

Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), has announced that it will be sending a team, U16 AAA, to the city of Nizhnekamsk in Tatarstan, Russia to participate in an International Friendship Hockey Tournament, Aug. 24-31, 2019.

The tournament will take place at the Neftekhimik Ice Palace in Nizhnekamsk.  The Neftekhimik Ice Palace is home to the Kontinental Hockey League's (KHL) Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.

Tatarstan, is home to two KHL teams, the Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, who play in the tournament’s host city of Nizhnekamsk, and the Ak Bars Kazan, which is based in the capital city of Kazan. Both teams are members of the Kharlamov Division in the Eastern Conference of the KHL.

The KHL, considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in Europe and Asia, and second in the world behind the National Hockey League (NHL), is home to 24 member clubs based in Belarus, China, Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

In addition to the Esmark Stars club, other teams scheduled to participate in the tournament include: Avangard Omsk (Omsk, Russia), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia), Ak Bars Kazan (Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia), Neftehimik Nizhnekamsk (Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, Russia), Neftyannik Almetyevsk (Almetyevsk, Russia), and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia).

The tournament and participation of the Esmark Stars AAA club is being coordinated by the Sports Ministry of the Republic of Tatarstan and the US-based Friendship Bridge Association, in addition, to the KHL's Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk hockey club.

The hockey tournament is the first of several international sporting events in Tatarstan for US-based teams and programs planned by Friendship Bridge Association.  Upcoming events with American teams participating will include boxing, gymnastics and judo competitions.

"This is a great opportunity for the Stars to kick-off our 35th year celebration," said Stars founder and general manager Dave Kosick.

"By traveling internationally, it will allow us to truly celebrate the history of our program," Kosick added, "as the Stars hockey club highlighted our inaugural season in 1984 by traveling to Finland."

The Pittsburgh Stars AAA Hockey program, predecessor to the Esmark Stars AAA Club, was founded in 1984.

In addition to Finland, the Stars program has also previously sent teams to participate in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is a nationally and internationally recognized amateur hockey club, under the umbrella of USA Hockey and the Mid-American Hockey District. The program, founded in 1984, provides elite level amateur hockey players exposure on a local, regional, national and international level. 

The Stars program provides elite level ice hockey training and development designed to allow each player to maximize their potential while providing a showcase for athletes for junior, collegiate and professional opportunities ... all while providing constructive lessons that allow them to excel in life.

Rey Tenders with Jersey Hitmen

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.

Bucco's to host Memorial Game - Aug. 23 vs Cincinnati Reds

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Officer Brian Shaw Memorial Foundation invite fans and supporters of the Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club out to the Pirates game on Friday, August 23, 7:05 p.m., as the Bucco's face the Cincinnati Reds.

Postgame, enjoy a fireworks show presented by Zambelli International!

Each ticket purchased through the effort includes a $10 donation to support the efforts of the Officer Brian Shaw Foundation.

Officer Brian Shaw was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop on Nov. 17, 2017, while patrolling in New Kensington.  Officer Shaw's brother, Stefan, was a former member of the Stars U18 Midget team.

"This is a great cause and a easy way for our organization and Esmark fans to step up and assist in generating revenue for the Officer Brian Shaw Memorial Foundation," said Stars General Manager Dave Kosick.

To purchase tickets, please visit the Pirates website at (https://www.mlb.com/pirates/tickets/specials/brian-shaw-memorial-fund?fbclid=IwAR3hQORyvH3x-1T1KGh0sKNLsq-scBXx9OvYaHdUaxkvE07MjSVuHqNEX_Y).

Jacobs Tenders 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.

Former Star Signs with Air Force Academy

By DLG 04/19/2019, 5:00pm EDT

Brown Commits to Play Div I for Falcons

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.

Four Stars Help Team Pittsburgh to High School Showcase Championship

Four members of the 2018-2019 Esmark Stars U18 AAA club, that captured the Mid-American District U18 Tier Championship and advanced to the U18 Tier National Championships, played prominent roles in helping Team Pittsburgh capture the 2019 America's Showcase St. Louis Tournament in St. Louis, MO.

Forwards Corbin Ragno and Olda Virag, and defenseman Dustin Geregach and Andrew Jacobs all celebrated the team's 9-2 blowout victory over Team Texas to claim the championship and close out a 6-0-0-0 run to the tournament title.

Pittsburgh opened the tournament skating past Team Midwest, 10-0, as Virag recorded two goals and an assist, Jacobs two goals, Ragno one goal and Geregach one assist. Next up was a blowout win over Team Colorado Burgundy, 11-2, as Virag scored a goal and added three assists, Geregach, one goal and two assists, and Ragno two assists. Team Pittsburgh closed out round-robin play with a 5-0 shutout win over Team Missouri Blue, as Geregach scored a goal and Virag added a pair of assists.

Coming out of round-robin play, Pittsburgh secured the number one seed from their bracket.

In quarter-final play, Team Pittsburgh routed Team North Dakota, 15-1, as Ragno recorded one goal and one assist; Virag, one goal; Geregach two assists; and and Jacobs one assist.

In semi-final action, Team Pittsburgh skated to a 4-0 shutout win over Team Wisconsin. Geregach and Ragno each scored a goal; Virag added three assists; and Jacobs one assist.

In the championship, Virag would score two goals and two assists; Ragno would score one goal; and Geregach would add a pair of assists.

Virag was selected as the tournament MVP, collecting 17 points (6 goals and 11 assists) and leading all scorers at the tournament.

The Esmark Stars, and its predecessor programs, have always afforded their players an opportunity to compete on both the national Tier I level and the local high school hockey level ... something unique to most area and national Tier I programs.  

America's Showcase was founded in 1985 to provide the nation’s premier high school players an opportunity to be scouted by high-level programs so those players who participate may further their hockey careers in prep school, juniors, college, and beyond.

The current five-day showcase consists of boys and girls divisions represented by 20 boys teams and 10 girls teams from across the country that gives scouts opportunities to recruit from the wealth of talent on the ice. 

This season the tournament returned to St. Louis, MO, and St. Peter's Rec-Plex served as the home rink.

2019 - 2020 Tryout Dates Announced

By DLG 04/08/2019, 6:10pm EDT

Esmark announces tryout dates for 35th season

Pittsburgh, PA - Tryout dates for the Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club Tier I teams for the 2019-20 season have been announced.

As the oldest Tier I AAA program in the Mid-American District (founded in 1984 and continuously providing opportunities for elite amateur hockey players for over 34 years), the Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program offers:

* Nationally recognized program;
* Nationally recognized elite-level coaching staff;
* One team at each birth-year level;
* 2 - 3 practices per week;
* Comprehensive off-ice testing and instruction, including use of a full service gym at the rink
* Members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) - Midget - 18U, 16U and 15U; Bantam - 14U
* Participate in high-end national tournaments, selected to best showcase elite athletes;
* Great schedule (mix of league, tournament and home and home series) with elite AAA opponents from across the US and Canada
* Affiliated with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL;
* Past players have gone on to play hockey at every level, including (NHL, OHL, AHL, IHL, USHL, NAHL, NCAA Div. I & III, ACHA, Div. I & III).

All tryouts will be conducted at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

For additional tryout information or to be added to the Esmark Stars mailing list, please forward a request "to be added to our mailing list" to Dave Kosick (dwk@thekmagroup.com).

We look forward to seeing all interested players at our tryout sessions and encourage all to "Shoot for the Stars!"

Note: Times and dates are subject to change ... please refer to website for up-to-date information.

Esmark Stars AAA Hockey

2019 – 2020 Tryout Schedule

Bantam 13 AAA - (2006 Birth Year)

April 22, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
     6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Goalies (2006)
     7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. – Defenseman / Goalies (2006)
     7:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Forwards / Goalies (2006)
April 23, 2019 – 6:00 – 7:20 p.m., scrimmages (2006)
April 24, 2019 – 6:00 – 7:20 p.m., scrimmages (2006)

Bantam 14U AAA - (2005 Birth Year)

April 15, 2019 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
     6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Goalies (2005)
     7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. – Defenseman / Goalies (2005)
     7:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Forwards / Goalies (2005)
April 16, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., scrimmages (2005)
April 17, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., scrimmages (2005)

Midget 15U AAA - (2004 Birth Year)

April 15, 2019 – 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Goaltenders 
April 15, 2019 – 7:00 – 8:20 p.m. Defenseman / Goalies 
April 15, 2019 – 8:30 – 9:50 p.m. Forwards / Goalies

April 16, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Scrimmages (1) / Assigned Teams)
April 16, 2019 – 8:10 – 9:40 p.m. (Scrimmages (2) / Assigned Teams)

April 17, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Scrimmages (3) / Assigned Teams)
April 17, 2019 – 8:10 – 9:40 p.m. (Scrimmages (4) / Assigned Teams)

Midget 16U AAA - (2003 & 2004 Birth Years)

April 15, 2019 – 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Goaltenders 
April 15, 2019 – 7:00 – 8:20 p.m. Defenseman / Goalies 
April 15, 2019 – 8:30 – 9:50 p.m. Forwards / Goalies

April 16, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Scrimmages (1) / Assigned Teams)
April 16, 2019 – 8:10 – 9:40 p.m. (Scrimmages (2) / Assigned Teams)

April 17, 2019 – 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Scrimmages (3) / Assigned Teams)
April 17, 2018 – 8:10 – 9:40 p.m. (Scrimmages (4) / Assigned Teams)

Midget 18U AAA - (2001 - 2004 Birth Years)

April 22, 2019 – 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Goaltenders 
April 22, 2019 – 7:00 – 8:20 p.m. Defenseman / Goalies 
April 22, 2019 – 8:30 – 9:50 p.m. Forwards / Goalies

April 23, 2019 – 7:30 - 8:50 p.m. (Scrimmages (1) / Assigned Teams)
April 23, 2019 – 9:00 – 10:20 p.m. (Scrimmages (2) / Assigned Teams)

April 24, 2019 – 7:30 - 8:50 p.m. (Scrimmages (3) / Assigned Teams)
April 24, 2019 – 9:00 – 10:20 p.m. (Scrimmages (4) / Assigned Teams)

NAPHL Announces 2018-19 18U All-Star Team

By DLG 03/30/2019, 10:30pm EDT

Stewart and Virag Honored

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced the All-NAPHL 18U Team - High Performance Division - for the 2018-19 season and two Esmark Stars forwards, Olda Virag and Tyler Stewart, were selected.

In 16 regular season NAPHL games and four NAPHL playoff games, Stewart tallied 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points, including one power-play goal.

Overall, in 59 regular season games games, Stewart tallied 34 goals and 49 assists for 83 points, including two power-play goals, and a +/- rating of +55.

Stewart has signed a tender to join the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL for next season.

In 12 regular season NAPHL games and four NAPHL playoff games, Virag tallied 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points, including one power-play and one shorthanded goal. 

Overall, he tallied 64 points (25 goals and 39 assists), including five power play goals and three shorthanded goals, in 53 games played by the U18 squad during the regular season. He finished the campaign with a +33 rating.

Stewart and Virag helped guide the U18 Stars to a 45-12-1-1 regular season record and the Mid-American District 18U Tier I Championship and a spot in the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 18U National Championships, set for Grand Rapids, MI, April 3-8, 2019.

Consideration and selection to the All-NAPHL 18U Team - High Performance Division Team was based on player performance in all NAPHL games throughout the 2018-19 season.

"Both Ty and Olda had outstanding seasons and deserve all the accolades they receive," said Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick. "They are both gifted extremely talented hockey players who create scoring opportunities when they have the puck ."

NAPHL announces 2018-19 Academic Teams

By DLG 03/30/2019, 8:00am EDT

Esmark Players Acknowledged for Academic Excellence

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced the 2018-2019 NAPHL Honor Roll, recognizing academic excellence by its student-athletes.

To qualify for the NAPHL Honor Roll, student-athletes must have achieved certain academic standards during the 2018-19 school year ... including a minimum 3.5 GPA.

The following Esmark Stars players were recognized for their work in the classroom:

U15 -Nathan Dickey, Neil Domico, Liam Varmecky and Ethan Zupanc

U16 - Daniel Baranowski, Ryder Brophy, Nic Capuzzi, Dominic Dezort, Trent Gray, Owen Hixon, Joshua Hrip, Edward Pazo, Connor Strobel, Reed Troutman and Alex Walker

U18 - Andrew Jacobs, Danny Mitchell, Gio Palombo, Lane Ruffner, Will Studt and Oldrich Virag

"I am incredibly proud of these young men," said Stars General Manager Dave Kosick. "As student-athletes they attained academic excellence while meeting the extraordinary demands placed upon an elite athlete. We celebrate their academic accomplishments."

Celebrating its 10th anniversary season in 2018-19, the NAPHL is made up of 41 teams from 17 programs that compete at the 18U, 16U and 15U USA Hockey Tier I level.

The NAPHL has established itself as one of the premier grounds for development and exposure for elite amateur hockey players. The success of teams on the National stage, as well as, the success of NAPHL players at the next levels of hockey, is further proof that the NAPHL is redefining exposure and has elevated itself to one of the premier training grounds for development and opportunity.

The NAPHL has enjoyed a record-breaking amount of advancement in recent seasons, which is highlighted by a large amount of advancement of players to the North American Hockey League (NAHL). No other USA Hockey Midget Tier I league has had more players play in the NAHL over the course of the last two seasons than the NAPHL. 48 players from the NAPHL were tendered to play in the NAHL for the upcoming 2018-19 season. During the past two years, 120 NAPHL players have signed an NAHL tender or been drafted into the NAHL, a remarkable total.

The NAPHL is operated by the NAHL's experienced staff and provides an organized and competitive experience guaranteed to benefit all of the participating student-athletes.

Esmark Stars learn opponents for upcoming USA Hockey Nationals

USA Hockey has released the schedule and divisions for the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 18U National Championships set for Grand Rapids, MI, April 3-8, 2019,

The tournament brings together the winners of the 12 USA Hockey District Championships, as well as four wildcard teams ... who were selected based upon the rankings of teams who did not qualify as their district champion according to the myhockeyrankings.com ranking and the USA Hockey National Tournament Seeding committee ... to crown a National Champion.

The tournament seeds the 16 teams into four brackets of round-robin competition, with the top two seeds from each division advancing to the quarter-finals and single-elimination competition to advance to the National Championship.

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey U18 team was placed into a round-robin division with the Iowa Wild, Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers and Neponset Valley River Rats.

The Stars open the tournament on Wednesday, April 3, against the  River Rats, out of Canton, MA, and the Massachusetts District, at the Griff's Georgetown Arena in Hudsonville, MI. Opening face-off is set for 6:00 p.m. 

Neponset completed the season with a 21-6-2 record and a #6 ranking (according to www.myhockeyrankings.com). They were selected as an at-large wild card team. 

Esmark returns to the ice on Thursday, April 4, and will square-off with the  Jr. Rangers, out of Norwalk, CT, and the New England District, at the Griff's Georgetown Arena. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m.

Mid-Fairfield completed the season with a 17-7-4 record and a #8 ranking (according to www.myhockeyrankings.com). They were also selected as an at-large wild card team. 

The Stars close out round-robin play against the Iowa Wild AAA Hockey Club, out of Des Moines, IA, and the Central District on Friday, April 5, at the South Side Arena, in Byron Center, MI. Opening face-off is set for 1:20 p.m.

Iowa finished the season ranked #35 (according to www.myhockeyrankings.com) with a 36-25-0 record.

The division brings a rich history to the event as Mid-Fairfield captured the U18 Tier I National Championship in 2017 and were National runner-ups in 2011 & 2003. Neponset Valley captured the U18 Tier I National Championship in 2013.

"We drew a tough bracket," said Stars  head coach Dave Kosick. "All three of our round-robin opponents have had outstanding seasons and are programs with a rich legacy ... including a couple of National Championships. But that is truly what you expect at an this event."

The Stars U18 AAA Club, based out of Pittsburgh, PA, captured the Mid-American Hockey District Championship in Cleveland, OH, March 8-11, to advance to the National Championship. The Stars completed the season ranked #24 with a 45-12-1-1 record.

All the action will be streamed live on USAHockey.HockeyTV.com and daily schedules, scoring and stat leaders for the tournament can be found at (https://nationals.usahockey.com/page/show/4714238-2019-youth-tier-i-18u).