47 in 24 series: Rochester Ice Hawks
September 2, 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.
Rochester Ice Hawks
2016-17 Record: 10-36-1, 21 pts. (4th in the Central Division)
2017 Playoffs: Lost Central Division semi finals to the North Iowa Bulls, 2 games to 0
Head Coach: Eric Hofmann
2017-18 Division: Central
The Rochester Ice Hawks’ second season in the North American 3 Hockey League was a struggle at times as the team finished with just 10 wins. They also made a coaching change as long time bench boss Nick Fatis stepped aside, allowing Eric Hofmann to become the new leader of the Ice Hawks.
With a new voice in the locker room, the Ice Hawks improved on the ice. After winning just two of their first 18 games, Rochester made strides forward. They won 8 of their final 29 games but had a large number of one-goal losses.
“They’re starting as a whole to really buy into the systems and buy into what the coaching staff is telling them,” Hofmann told Jason Feldman of the Rochester Post Bulletin in January. “They’re gaining the confidence in themselves that, it doesn't matter how young or inexperienced we might be, we can play and compete with anyone.”
Heading into their third year of competition in the NA3HL, the Ice Hawks are ready to climb up the Central Division standings.
“We hope to create an identity for ourselves not only in Rochester but within our division and ultimately the league. We want to position ourselves as a threat to each team in our division, every game, throughout the entire season,” said Hofmann. “While challenging ourselves to be as competitive as possible and finding a way to win every day.”
Rochester is also looking to advance more players to the next level, whether it be the North American Hockey League or college hockey.
“We are actively working on developing relationships with the NAHL clubs as well as collegiate programs in addition to the relationships we already have. We actively try to advance players into the NAHL. Whether it be getting players out to practice with an NAHL club, called up for NAHL games and ultimately a tender and/or commitment from NAHL clubs.” Hoffman added. “Furthermore, our league does a fantastic job on providing advancement opportunities through the league showcase, top prospects and the Silver Cup.”
The Ice Hawks saw Ethan Sievek get the call to the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL. Sievek played four games with the Bobcats, going pointless in those four games. Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Sievek signed a tender with Bismarck back in March.
The Ice Hawks have a had long storied history within the Rochester community and the attendance sheet proves it. The Hawks averaged just under 700 fans last season and hold many special events through the season.
“We work with local elementary schools and have players join classroom sessions, often reading books to younger classes. We participate with “Join the Journey” for their cancer walk fundraiser. We have a “Pink the Rink” night as well as a military appreciation night,” explained Hofmann. “Both of which include special events throughout the game raising money, as well as specialty jerseys worn for those games. The jerseys are then auctioned off at the end of the game with all proceeds donated to respective charities within the community.”
With a full offseason to prepare Hofmann will have his young club ready to play as the season approaches. The Ice Hawks will start their season a week from today as they’ll travel to La Crosse for a division matchup against the Freeze.
Next up in the 47 in 24 series: Skylands Kings