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48 in 24 Series: Cincinnati Thunder

August 14, 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.

Cincinnati Thunder
2015-16 Record: 13-28-6, 32 pts. (4th in the Midwest Division)
2015-16 Playoffs: Lost to St. Louis is the Midwest Semi-Finals, 2 games to 0
Head Coach: Ryan Colville
2016-17 Division: Midwest Division
Under owner and head coach Ryan Colville, the Cincinnati Thunder made some good strides in 2015-16. The team won 13 games and made the playoffs. The club got off to a great start, struggled in the middle part of the season, but finished with a flourish. They gave Midwest Division Champion St. Louis all they could handle in the Midwest Division Semi-Finals, losing two close games, including one in overtime.
Head Coach, General Manager and Owner Ryan Colville was pleased with the team’s progress. “Last year was a good step forward for our organization.  We began with the re-branding to the Cincinnati Thunder and we had a young roster that went through some ups and downs.  I was proud of the way our group finished with a strong end to the season, a playoff birth and a hard fought playoff series against eventual division winner St. Louis,” said Colville.
Colville also stated that a lot was learned by the organization and its members. “I think from a group standpoint a lot was learned. Our young players grew a lot, gained experience and confidence that I think will carry over to this year.  As an organization we have continued the transition as a new ownership group in a small, but growing hockey market.  The process to stabilize the organization, despite a few challenges along the way, is ongoing.  We are excited about the future in Cincinnati,” stated Colville.
The team also had success in the commitment department with five players making college commitments, which included four players heading off to the NCAA.
Moving forward this season, the Thunder will be playing in a new building, as the Cincinnati Gardens was closed over the summer. The divisional opponents will be the same and Colville is building a team that will have a veteran presence. “This season we have quite a few returning players, so for this year it was bringing in the right players to complement the group,” said Colville.
With the NA3HL growing to 48 teams thanks to the merger with the NA3EHL, the reach is now even bigger, especially in the Eastern half of the United States. Colville believes that it is a positive thing for his team and for the league. “The new structure adds an Eastern presence to our league and I think that is a good thing. Overall I want good organizations who do things the right way and markets that add something to our NA3HL product, whether it be an important market or an untapped region,” stated Colville.
However, the biggest goal for the Thunder remains the advancement of players.  Thanks to the college commitments last season, as well as, others moving onto the NAHL to have success, Colville stated that advancement remains a big priority for the team.
“The biggest thing about advancement in Cincinnati is we want to prepare players to not only move up, but to be prepared when they get there.  So we really work on developing the on ice and off ice skills that are needed to make our players transition to the next level a successful one,” Colville concluded.

Next up in the 48 in 24 series: College Station Spirit
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