48 in 24 Series: Alexandria Blizzard
August 10, 2016
The 48 in 24 series will feature an in-depth look into all 48 teams in the NA3HL for the 2016-17 season, with new teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 48 in 24 goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 48 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2016-17 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 2015-16 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 48 in 24 will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
2015-16 Record: 22-21-4, 48 pts. (4th in West Division)
2015-16 Playoffs: Lost in the West Semi-Finals to Granite City, 2 games to 1
Head Coach: Jeff Crouse
2016-17 Division: West
The Alexandria Blizzard came across an all too familiar end of the season for the fourth season in a row. The Blizzard had a solid regular season, but the playoff conclusion was something that resembled deja vu. During the first round of playoffs, they met the Granite City Lumberjacks for the fourth year in a row. While the Blizzard forced a third and decisive game, they again fell victim to the Lumberjacks in the playoffs.
The Blizzard, under head coach Jeff Crouse, has been a developing team in the last four seasons. The team had finished 3rd in the West Division the first three seasons, and finished the 2015-16 season in 4th place.
When asked about thoughts on last season and what his expectations were for this season, Coach Crouse said, “Expectations were much higher to start the year then where we actually finished. We had a very rough start to the season, but I was also very pleased with how the team responded the second half of the season by going 16-6-2.”
“We definitely learned not to take things for granted and that you have to show up every night and compete in our division. Our expectations are always very high every year. We set our standards high on and off the ice to strive to be the best we can be every day and hopefully the outcome at the end of the year will resemble the hard work we put in during the year.”
Coach Crouse has coached in the NAHL for 10 years, so he knows a lot of the coaches and has developed relationships with college coaches as well over the years.
As for as advancing his players to that next level, Coach Crouse said, “Our main goal as an organization is player development. We strive on moving players up as quickly as possible and at any given time.”
The community support is very important to Coach Crouse and the rest of Alexandria:
“Our players are very active in the community, usually on a weekly basis. We work very close with the United Way, Special Olympics, the school district and the local hockey association. It is very important for us to show our support in any way we can to help the people that support us. These players not only develop on the ice but also off the ice to help them mature and grow as a person.”
The final tryouts for the Alexandria Blizzard ended yesterday.
Next up in the 48 in 24 series: Atlanta Capitals