The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) officially kicked-off the 2021-22 season on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 as the league held its annual Draft.
All 34 NA3HL teams made selections, 136 players in total, in the four-round 2021-22 draft.
Among those drafted were four members of the 2020-21 18U Esmark Stars AAA team, including 18U defensemen Zachary Stoner and Yahor Ramanau and 18U forwards Ryder Brophy and Dominic Dezort.
Stoner, who previously was tendered by the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Junior A Johnstown Tomahawks, was selected in the first round, 22nd overall, by the Atlanta Capitals. He scored 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists) in 66 games for the Stars. He also recorded 2 points (2 assists) for the Tomahawks, as an affiliate player, in call-up action with the Tomahawks.
Brophy, who has been tendered by the NAHL's Lone Star Brahmas, was selected in the first round, 32nd overall, by the Texas Brahmas. He scored 54 points (23 goals, 21 assists) in 56 games for the U18 Stars during the '20-'21 season. During the '19-'20 season, he recorded 106 points (51 goals and 55 assists) in 63 games played for the U18 Stars. During the '18-'19 season, Brophy recorded 70 points (34 goals, 36 assists) in 53 games played for the Stars U16 team. And he recorded 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 62 games played for the U16 Stars during the '17-'18 season.
Ramanau, who was previously tendered by the NAHL's Wichita Falls Warriors, was selected in the second round, 45th overall, by the Oklahoma City Blazers. He scored 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) in 69 games played for the '20-'21 U18 Stars. During the "19-'20 season, he was credited with 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 35 games recorded for the U16 Stars. And during the '18-'19 season, he was credited with 24 points (4 goals, 20 assists) in 49 games played for the U15 Stars.
Dezort who was previously tendered by the NAHL's expansion El Paso Rhinos club, was selected in the second round, 56th overall, by the Atlanta Capitals. He scored 62 points (28 goals, 34 assists) in 70 games played for the '20-'21 U18 Stars. During the "19-'20 season, he scored 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 62 games played for the U16 Stars. And during the '18-'19 season, he was credited with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games played for the U16 Stars.
“The NA3HL Draft is an important part of the team-building process and credit to our teams for the work they put this season and during the NAHL Combines in identifying players that could potentially be a part of their plans next season. We have seen time and time again how the NA3HL Draft works for teams and players. For teams, it helps them identify players that fit into their plans and someone they have identified as a player that can make a difference. For the players, this gives them some sense of resolve when they are making their hockey plans for next season,” said NA3HL Commissioner Blake Macnicol.
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) again had a big presence at the NA3HL Draft as 36 NAPHL players were selected, which is up percentage wise from a year ago. The 36 players selected represented 26% of the selections in this year’s Draft. In 2020, 18% of the players selected played in the NAPHL.
As the oldest Tier I hockey program in the Mid-American District and one of the oldest Tier I programs in USA Hockey, the Stars AAA Tier I program, founded in 1984, has had players who have graduated from the program go on to play hockey at all levels of the game, from pro hockey (including the NHL and European Pro Hockey), to Collegiate Hockey (NCAA Division I & III and ACHA Hockey), to Junior Hockey (USHL, NAHL, NCDC, USPHL, OJHL, QJHL, OJHL, NOJHL and more).