48 in 24 Series: Skylands Kings
August 28, 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: 18-26-0, 36 pts. (4th in East Division, *in NA3EHL)
2016 Playoffs: Lost in the East Semi-Finals to Cape Cod, 2-0
Head Coach: Alex Shindelman
2016-17 Division: Northeast
The Skylands Kings finished up their first season last year as part of the NA3EHL. They made it all the way to the playoffs, a good accomplishment in their first season, and they hope to continue that success into the new league. The Kings were part of the 13-team merger between the NA3EHL and the NA3HL this summer, they will be entering their first season in the NA3HL but second season as a team.
Rita Mitchell, the General Manager for the Kings, sees their inaugural season as a huge success even with a few hiccups throughout the year.
“The Kings hit a few stumbling blocks early on with a short bench,” Mitchell said. “But [they] quickly righted themselves, and qualified for the playoffs which was the goal at the outset. Coaches Alex Shindelman and Patrick Choules believe that had they had a bit more depth, the outcome at playoffs may have been different. The main goal was to develop and place players last season, and they did that successfully as several of their graduates have moved on to NCAA.”
The Kings saw quite a bit of action in the off-season. They had one player advance, forward Tim Vant, who committed to the Aurora University’s ACHA Division II Men’s Hockey Team. They also added a new recruiter, Bill McCreary (a former NAHL, NCAA and pro player), to their staff to focus on the future of the team.
“The focus this year is on rostering up and player development,” Mitchell said. “In building the team the Kings focused on complimenting their returning players. The Kings have a strong core to build off of and are acquiring depth and talent in the hopes of surpassing last year's finish.”
With the league merger, the NA3HL will now feature 48 teams in eight different divisions; the Kings will be a part of the Northeast Division. The new teams obviously add a lot more competition in the league but also new opportunities.
"It will be an exciting year for our community to watch the Kings as we grow into the 48 team league, and see, what we believe to be, stronger competition, and better exposure for our players," Mitchell said.
Although the Kings are a new team, they have already fostered a great relationship within their community. With new partnerships and youth hockey programs, they are quickly gaining a lot of local support.
“The Kings are launching a new campaign to get their athletes into the community this season and gain the support of the local area,” Mitchell said. “The partnership with Atlantic Sports Health as the exclusive sports medicine provider of the Skylands Kings, allows the opportunity to visit local hospitals and charities and give back to the community that supports the Kings. The Skylands Kings Youth Hockey program, as a large supporter of our Junior Team, will also benefit as the players join them in the gym and on the ice, as a way of paying it forward.”
Next in the 48 in 24 series: Southern Tier Xpress