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Recent U18 AAA Esmark Stars News

Simko and Norkevicus Honored

McKinney, TX - The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced All-NAPHL T1ER 18U Teams for the Central, East and West Divisions, for the 2022-23 season.

Consideration and selection were based on player performance in all NAPHL regular season and playoff games throughout the 2022-23 season.

The 18U Esmark Stars AAA Hockey team had two players, forward Brody Simko and defenseman Ian Norkevicus, named to the All-NAPHL Tier I 18U-Central Team for the 2022-23 season. 

In 16 regular season 2022-23 NAPHL appearances, Simko, who is from Butler, PA, recorded 27 points (18 goals, 9 assists) for the Stars U18 Midget Major squad. 

Overall, Simko, a Senior at Butler Area High School, eclipsed the "Century Mark"recording 105 points (53 goals, 52 assists), including nine power-play goals and two shorthanded goals, in 70 games played.

"Brody is an offensive weapon," said Stars 18U Head Coach Dave Kosick. "His nose for the net is off the charts. His point scored tell a great story about his skill with the puck."

Simko, who tendered with the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL, will be skating with the Ogden Mustangs of the NCDC for the 2023-24 season.

In 16 regular season 2022-23 NAPHL appearances, Norkevicus, who is from Pittsburgh, PA,  recorded 19 points (1 goals, 18 assists) for the Stars U18 Midget Major squad. He added three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in four Dixon Cup Playoff appearances.

Overall, Norkevicus, a post grad from Carrick High School, recorded 70 points (12 goals, 58 assists), including six power-play goals and one shorthanded goals, in 70 games played.

"Ian had an outstanding season and quarterbacked our defense," Kosick said. "His handling of the puck and skating are on an elite level."

Norkevicus tendered with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL for the 2023-24 season.

NAPHL Announces 2022-23 Academic Honor Roll

By DLG 08/18/2023, 9:00pm EDT


The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its 2022-2023 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 2022-23 school year ... including a minimum 3.5 GPA.

In total, 19 member of the 2021-22 Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program were honored. This included ten players at the U16 Midget Minor level and nine players at the U18 Midget Major level, and .

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

U16 - Landon Buterbaugh, Carson Cuddy, Noah Driscoll, Zac Goldfain, Camden Kiste, Jonathan Leishman, Evan Ng, Preston Phillis, Joseph Wateska, Carter Williams

U18 - Cole Bianchin, Nathan Burlando, Zachary Hardy, Colin Ruffner, Wesley Schwarzmiller, Aaron Stawiarski, Aiden Tarasovich, Mark Trischler, Nikita Volski

"I am incredibly proud of these young men," said Esmark General Manager Dave Kosick. "We celebrate these student-athletes for their ability to attain academic excellence, while meeting the extraordinary demands placed upon them as elite athletes.

Celebrating its 14th anniversary season in 2022-23, 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.

"We salute the NAPHL for celebrating and honoring their players academic accomplishments," Kosick added.

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.

Sanctioned by USA Hockey, the NAPHL is designed to maximize the exposure of its Midget and Bantam participants through the NAHL's high-profile recruiting events which attract hundreds of college, junior and professional scouts.

Esmark Star's 18U Forward Selected in NAHL Draft

By DLG 06/18/2023, 2:30pm EDT

Bianchin Drafted by Rochester Jr Americans

Pittsburgh, PA - The Pittsburgh-based Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club has announced that Cole Bianchin, a member of the 2022-23 Esmark Stars AAA U18 squad was selected with the second pick in the ninth round by the Rochester Jr Americans in the 2023 North American Hockey League (NAHL) Entry draft, held on Thursday, June 14.

Bianchin  (5'10", 170 lbs), a left-handed shooting forward, who was a late-season addition to the the Stars Midget Major squad, helped the Stars U18 squad down the stretch to the Tier 1 Hockey Federation (T1HF) Playoff Championship (as well as the T1HF Regular Season Title) and the USPHL Cup Championship during the '22-'23 season.

Bianchin, from Franklin Park, PA, scored 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists), including 3 power-play goals in 20 games played.

"Cole was a great addition to our squad just prior to the USA Hockey deadline," said Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick.

"Not only was he a high-end offensive addition to our squad," Kosick added, "he also added a calming maturity to our locker room that quickly was absorbed by our group."

The NAHL, which will be celebrating its 49th anniversary during the 2023-24 season, is the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league. The league boasts 32 teams in 18 states across the United States.

The NAHL is part of the USA Hockey National Junior Development Model, which includes the USHL and the US National Team Development Program. The NAHL works closely with NCAA College Hockey, the NHL, the USHL, and USA Hockey's National Development Program in order to best serve as an imperative piece in the development system for collegiate and professional hockey.

The Junior Americans, who will begin play in the NAHL with the 2023-24 season, are located in Rochester, NY.

They will play their home games, under the direction of head coach Francois Methot, at the Rochester Ice Center.

The Junior Americans will play in the NAHL's eight-team East Division, along with the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks (Danbury, CT), Johnstown Tomahawks (Johnstown, PA), Maine Nordiques (Lewiston, ME), Maryland Black Bears (Odenton, MD), New Jersey Titans (Middletown, NJ), Northeast Generals (Attleboro, MA) and Philadelphia Rebels (Sewell, NJ).

"Cole truly plays a solid and complete 200-foot game ... one who prides himself on his work in both ends of the ice" Kosick added.

"He will be a solid addition for coach Methot and will quickly become a favorite of the fans and coaching staff of the Junior Americans. "