47 in 24 series: Wisconsin Whalers
September 6, 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 Season: 19-23-5, 43 pts. (3rd in the Central Division)
2017 Playoffs: Lost in the Central Division semi-finals to the La Crosse Freeze, 2 games to 1
Head Coach: Tom McDermott
2017-18 Division: Central
The Wisconsin Whalers were founded as the Quad City Express in 2006, playing in Davenport Iowa. The team changed their name to the Quad City Jr Flames, playing in the Central States Hockey League (CSHL) until 2013. At this time, the team relocated to Madison, Wisconsin and joined the NA3HL as the Wisconsin Whalers. The team moved to Oregon, Wisconsin, for the 2015 season. They have made the playoffs during each of their four seasons in the NA3HL.
In the 2016-17 season, the Wisconsin Whalers advanced four players to the collegiate level. Connor Boscaccy, Taylor Dickert and, Nate Kuta will play for Illinois State University, while Evan Moyse committed to Ohio State University.
Head Coach Tom McDermott, a Massachusetts native, will take his place behind the bench for the Whalers for their fifth season in the NA3HL. McDermott is also the GM of the team.
Coach McDermott admits that his team had a rough start to the 2016-17 season, but was happy with the growth and improvement over the course of the year – and ability to make the playoffs.
“Last season, we were very young, and it showed. The year started out slow, but picked up the pace across the season,” said McDermott.
The difference this year is the evenly matched skill level across all the lines for the Whalers. With a young team last season comes a more experienced group of players this year. In addition to returners, McDermott and his staff are pleased with the new group of kids they have coming in.
“We’re looking for characters that really want to be here. Our goal is to win a divisional title. We have a more solid team this year – there isn’t much difference between the top and bottom lines.”
Like other teams in the NA3HL, player advancement and improvement is a big part of the season. For the Whalers, it’s important for the players to be aware of all their options, both in hockey and other aspects of their futures.
“We help them get into schools, go to visits, and go to main camps. We want to show them all the different avenues they can do and take to figure out what is best for them.
In addition to working off the ice to help advance players, McDermott takes full advantage of the NA3HL Showcase and Top Prospects Tournament.
“The change to Sunday/Monday/Tuesday is a good idea, it will increase the scouts. We do a good job marketing the league, we need to keep producing a good product on the ice.”
In terms of giving back to the community, the Whalers focus a lot on hockey development at a younger level, in addition to education.
“We do a lot with the schools, and this year we’re trying to get more involved at the high school level. We like being in Oregon and working in this community.”
The “young and intense” Wisconsin Whalers begin their season at home on September 15, 2017, against the North Iowa Bulls.
Next up in the 47 in 24 series: Wooster Oilers