47 in 24 series: Lansing Wolves
August 24, 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: 22-22-1-2, 47 pts. (4th in the East Division)
2017 Playoffs: Lost East Division semi-finals to Metro Jets, 2 games to 1
Head Coach: Mark Lawrence
2017-18 Division: East
Looking at the numbers on paper, it would of been easy to dismiss the West Michigan Wolves when looking at their first round matchup with the Metro Jets in last year’s playoffs. The last seed in the East Division was up against the 47-0 juggernaut in a best two-out-of-three series. Many thought the series was over before it started.
That’s why they play the games.
The Wolves jumped out to quick lead in Game 1 scoring two goals in the first five minutes of action. They would lead 3-1 after the first and add two more goals in the second period to increase their lead to 5-1. They would ultimately knock off the Jets 5-2 and hand them their first defeat of the 2016-17 season.
It would be their final win of the year as the Jets would rebound to win the series. Although there is no such thing as moral victories, this may of been the closest thing to it. This was proof to those in the Wolves organization that this team could compete and, more importantly, beat some of the elite teams in the NA3HL.
Looking to build upon that playoff win, the team will be starting a new era in 2017-18, as they have shifted operations from Battle Creek, Michigan over to Lansing and will now be known as the Lansing Wolves.
“With the move to Lansing, we are excited for the new start,” said Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lawrence. “Playing on an Olympic sized rink our main focus will be on skating, speed and making plays at high speed,”
No stranger to the game, Lawrence was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1991 and made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars during the 1994-95 season. He would move on to the New York Islanders and have his best season in 1998-99, scoring 14 goals and adding 16 assists in 60 games.
He will bring his experience and his team to The Summit Sports & Ice Complex in Lansing. It was the former home to the the then Capital Centre Pride of the North American Hockey League. The facility features a 1,200-seat Olympic seed and a NHL size practice rink.
This season the Wolves will be relying on veteran players Bear Ross, Jacob Redman and Ryan Weaver to lead the charge back up the East Division standings.
Ross, a native of Cumming, Georgia, finished 5th on the team in points last season. He scored 13 goals and had 16 assists. Redman was one of the top defenseman for the Wolves, he scored six times and ended up with 15 points. Weaver ended his season with four goals and 10 points, he was steady on the blue line as well as he had a plus-9 rating. Lawrence will look for these players to replace the five college advancements the Wolves had last season.
The last time the Lansing franchise changed their name, the team advanced all the way to the Silver Cup Championship Tournament. The Wolves are hopeful that history will repeat itself.
Next up in the 47 in 24 series: Long Beach Sharks