47 in 24 series: Alexandria Blizzard
August 15, 2017
The 47 in 24 series will feature an in-depth look into all 47 teams in the NA3HL for the 2017-18 season, with new teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 47 in 24 goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 47 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2017-18 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 2016-17 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 47 in 24 will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
2016-17 Record: 32-12-3, 67 pts. (2nd in West Division)
2017 Playoffs: Lost in the West Semi-Finals to the New Ulm Steel, 2 games to 1
Head Coach: Jeff Crouse
2017-18 Division: West
The Alexandria Blizzard set a team record for wins during the 2016-17 season, but unfortunately, they could not take the next step when it came to the post-season. For the fifth season in a row, the Blizzard were eliminated in the first round of the NA3HL playoffs. Once again losing in a winner-take-all Game 3.
“Overall I thought last year was an overall success for us despite falling in the first round of the playoffs. I thought we performed very well in the playoffs and ran into a hot goalie and did not get the outcome we were hoping for,” said Head Coach Jeff Crouse.
For the first time since becoming a NA3HL team, the Blizzard finished second in the heavily contested West Division and earned home ice advantage in the postseason.
“I love playing in this division. You have to show up every single night and compete every game, top to bottom. It really allows the players in our division to develop each and every game and makes for great rivalries throughout the entire season,” Crouse said.
Coach Crouse believes building from the back out will be the key to maintaining success out west.
“You have to have good goaltending and play very solid defensively in our division if you want to have success. With the players tendered and drafted, I am hoping those players can come in here and fill those holes for us.”
Year in and year out, Alexandria continues to be one of top teams in the league in terms of attendance and Coach Crouse is ready to reward the passionate Blizzard fans.
“Our expectations for the season are always very high. We want to compete for the West Division title and also the Silver Cup. I think the main focus this year for improvement will be our consistency day in and day out.”
Although it may only be August, Crouse already has the wheels in motion when it comes to helping his players reach the next level.
“We have already started the process with some of my returning players. We make sure the players are proactive in their recruiting and get emails, video highlights and clips put together and sent out to college and NAHL teams as early as possible,” said the veteran coach. “Developing players on a daily basis and providing our players with every possible piece of information to help them improve is a must for our organization.”
Crouse has been involved with the NAHL for 15 years, with many connections at the college level. The team placed 10 players into college last season.
Going into their 15th season overall in Alexandria, the Blizzard are heavily involved within the community.
“We are very involved with the Special Olympics, hockey, bowling and swimming. We do multiple chamber events with the city of Alexandria and surrounding communities. We are tied in with the school district supporting after school activities. We have taught hockey to smaller communities in the area and are very active in our youth hockey association,” Crouse added.
With an emphasis on developing their players and energetic fanbase, the Alexandria Blizzard look prepared to finally clear that next hurdle.
Next up in the 47 in 24 series: Atlanta Capitals