The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program kick's into full gear this weekend, Aug. 27 - 29, as five of the six AAA Stars teams begin play and kick-off their 2021-2022 seasons, the Stars 38th season in operation.
Esmark's U18 squad, under the direction of head coach Dave Kosick, begin their quest for a fourth straight appearance at the USA Hockey Tier I National Championships this weekend as they participate in the inaugural Eastern Exposure Series (EES) Tournament in Bridgewater, NJ.
The Midget Major Stars open the event with a pair of games on Friday, Aug. 27. First up will be the Mercer Chiefs, 12:00 p.m. at the Bridgewater Ice Arena. Then at 8:00 p.m., the 18U Stars return to the ice to face the Flyers Elite club at the Bridgewater Ice Arena. On Saturday, Aug. 28, the Stars will face the Boston Hockey Academy, 2:00 p.m., at the Skylands Ice Center. They close the event on Sunday, Aug. 29, with a 10:15 a.m. face-off against the Philadelphia Jr Flyers at the Bridgewater Ice Arena.
Likewise, the U16 Esmark Stars, under the direction of head coach Yuri Krivokhija travel to New Jersey this weekend for the inaugural Eastern Exposure Series (EES) Tournament.
The Midget Minor Stars open the event Friday, Aug. 27, with a 4:00 p.m. start against the Boston Hockey Academy at the Bridgewater Ice Arena. Then on Saturday, Aug. 28, they take to the ice twice. First up is 10:00 a.m., showdown with the Westchester Express. at the Skylands Ice Center. Then they face-off with the Mercer Chiefs at 4:00 p.m., also at the Skylands Ice Center. They close the event on Sunday, Aug. 29, with a 12:15 p.m. puck drop against the Philadelphia Jr Flyers at the Bridgewater Ice Arena.
The U14 Esmark Stars, under the direction of head coach Derik Gaworski, head East for a three-game road trip this weekend. The Bantam Major Stars open the season in Philadelphia against the Philadelphia Revolution on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2:45 p.m., at the NE Flyers Skate Zone. On Sunday, the Stars square-off in a double header against the Valley Forge Colonials at the Oaks Ice Center. The opener is set for 1:00 p.m. The second game begins at 4:30 p.m.
Esmark's U13 AAA Bantam Minor squad, under the direction of head coach Mike Heltman, heads north to Buffalo, NY, for a pair of games on Saturday, Aug. 28 against the Buffalo Jr Sabres. The 13U Stars and Sabres square-off at 12:30 p.m. in the opener. The nightcap is set for 6:45 p.m. Both games will be at the Harbor Center.
Esmark's U12 squad, under the direction of head coach Luke Kopchak, also head north to Buffalo as they open their '21-'22 schedule with a pair of games on Sunday, Aug. 29, against the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. They open the two-game road trip at 12:00 p.m. at the Northtown Center in Amherst. Then they square-off at the Harbor Center at 5:00 p.m. for the second game.
The U11 Stars (2010 birth year), who opened their inaugural season last weekend in Cleveland, will enjoy the weekend off.
Operated in conjunction with SuperSeries AAA, the EES Series is designed to showcase teams and players on the East Coast. The Stars are one of the founding members of the new showcase series.
"Our decision to participate in the EES was done to further increase our exposure to eastern Junior and NCAA clubs," said Stars GM Dave Kosick.
The Stars are also proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), the AAA affiliate league of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Junior A league.
Now in its 38th year of operation, the Esmark Stars program is the oldest Tier I AAA program in the Mid-American District and one of the oldest Tier I programs under the USA Hockey umbrella.