34 in 34: West Michigan Wolves
August 31, 2015
The 34 in 34 series will feature an in-depth look into all 34 teams in the NA3HL for the 2015-16 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 34 in 34 goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 34 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2015-16 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2014-15 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 34 in 34 will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
West Michigan Wolves
2014-15 Record: 31-15-1, 63 pts. (1st in the Central Division)
2014-15 Playoffs: Won the Central Division, finished 4th at the Silver Cup
Head Coach: Mark Lawrence
2015-16 Division: East
The West Michigan Wolves had one of the most impressive turnarounds in the history of junior hockey a season ago. During the 2012-13 season the Wolves (then the Battle Creek Revolution) managed just 7 wins. The season after in 2013-14 was even worse as they only captured one win. Then last season the Wolves took a drastic jump in the right direction as they were able to put together an unforgettable year. They amassed a remarkable 31 wins, won the Central Division, and earned a berth to the Silver Cup. It was a truly historic turnaround for the franchise and they will look to continue that success again this season.
There will be a change from last season as former coach Marc Fakler will not be back with the Wolves this season. Mark Lawrence will be taking over as head coach of the Wolves for the 2015-16 season. Coach Lawrence had a long playing career that included stops at the AHL and NHL level. Following his playing career he took over as head coach of the Kalamazoo K-Wings of the UHL and over past six years coach Lawrence has been the head coach of the West Michigan AAA midget major team in the NAPHL.
Coach Lawrence brings a great understanding of hockey in the West Michigan area and looks forward to starting his first season in the NA3HL. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach the West Michigan Wolves. The coaching staff and myself are eager to get the season started and we look forward to the challenges that the season will bring,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence will have the luxury of having a few veteran returners from last season’s division champion team and those players will be relied on heavily to help the younger players adjust to junior hockey. Lawrence is excited to get his team on the ice and get the season started.
“We are excited to start the season. We feel we have a good mix of young talent coming in to add to our 5 returning players. We will be leaning on Corey Siwula to bolster down the defense with Tait Aptakin, Josh Somers and Devan Farkas leading our forward group. We are looking to build off the successful season from last year. Being my first year in the NA3HL, We will still focus mainly on development and getting these players ready for the next level, whatever that may be for each individual player,” said Lawrence.
The Wolves will also have another change this season as they will be moving from the Central division to the East division. They had played in the Central division since 2012 and had some strong rivalries. The East division will provide them with a great opportunity to develop some new rivalries and create a great inter-state matchup with the Metro Jets. The Wolves will open the season on the road with a weekend series in Jamestown, New York against the Southern Tier Xpress on Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12.
Next up in the 34 in 34 series: Wisconsin Whalers