3View: St. Louis Jr. Blues
September 5, 2018
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2018-19 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2018-19 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 2017-18 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
St. Louis Jr. Blues
2017-18 Record: 38-9-0, 76 pts. (1st in Midwest Division)
2018 Playoffs: Lost to the Metro Jets in the Fraser Cup Championship Game, 3-2 (OT)
Head Coach: Chris Flaugher
2018-19 Division: Central
One goal. That was how close the St. Louis Jr. Blues came to taking home the Fraser Cup last season. A year with so much success came to a heartbreaking end as the Jr. Blues suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Metro Jets in the final game of the season.
Although the loss was tough, General Manager and Head Coach Chris Flaugher believes the season will be remembered for a long time.
“I thought last year was one of the more memorable seasons. We had a long win streak at the beginning of the season, we saw players get called up to the NAHL, we had multiple players sign NAHL tenders, we saw several players commit to college hockey and we made a long playoff run coming on goal from winning the Fraser Cup,” said Flaugher.
The Jr. Blues will have a lot of key pieces to replace including the NA3HL’s all time leading goal scorer Jake Cox, who finished with 105 goals over his career. He will be playing his college hockey at Southern New Hampshire University. St. Louis will also be without Jack Hatton, who ranks fourth in all time points with the team, he earned a commitment to St. Mary’s University.
As for the upcoming season, Flaugher will rely on a good mix of veterans and newcomers to keep the Jr. Blues tradition going strong.
“We look for players that want to compete and play at a high level. We want goal oriented players that are committed to their development,” Flaugher said. “We return eight of nine guys. We will look for them all to show the new players what it’s like to play for our program and play in our league.”
The Jr. Blues had four players sign NAHL tenders during the 2017-18 season, Bud Winer (Corpus Christi), Mark Capkovic (Shreveport), Dante Jones (Bismarck) and John Shively (Topeka Pilots) are proven examples of the NA3HL’s ladder of development.
“I feel that any event our league puts on is a first-class event. The showcase gives our players the chance to be seen by every NAHL coach and so many colleges. Top Prospects is a special event, again due. To the exposure of having multiple representatives from all the NAHL teams and literally every NCAA team in the same building. With the Fraser Cup, it’s another first-class event that allows the team participating in it to compete for a championship while getting the attention of NAHL and college coaches,” Flaugher explained.
There will be some new and some familiar foes as the Jr. Blues move over to the Central Division in 2018-19. They will once again be paired up with the Peoria Mustangs and Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts but they add the Coulee Region Chill, formerly the La Crosse Freeze, the team they defeated in the Fraser Cup semifinals back in March, the newly formed Milwaukee Power, the Wausau RiverWolves and the Wisconsin Whalers will also be divisional foes for St. Louis.
“I’d say the biggest expectation is to compete every night and play hard. We as coaches have only one goal and that’s to make our players better hockey players on the ice and better men off the ice,” said Flaugher. “Our team will set goals they would like to achieve as a group and we will help them in achieving these goals if they are willing to compete and take responsibility for their development.”
St. Louis will surely be looking to remain a top contender in the NA3HL. With their great track record of advancement to the NAHL and college hockey, the only thing missing is a Fraser Cup Championship.
Next up in the 3View series: Texas Brahmas