NAPHL impact and advancement significant in NA3HL Draft
It is draft season and the NAPHL and its players have had a significant presence in a number of drafts across the junior hockey landscape, as team’s continue to build their rosters for the 2020-21 season.
First up was the 2020 NA3HL Draft, which was held back on April 23rd. In total, 36 players that played in the NAPHL or in NAPHL events were drafted by NA3HL clubs.
That includes 16 players from NAPHL Tier 1 teams, six players from NAPHL Tier 2 Showcase Division teams, three players from the NAPHL’s Prep Division, and almost a dozen more from NAPHL guest teams.
The 36 NAPHL players selected represented 26% of the selections in this year’s Draft, which represented a sizable increase from a year ago. In 2019, 14% of the players selected played in the NAPHL.
In addition, 66 more NAPHL players have been tendered by NA3HL clubs for the 2020-21 season. In total, 102 NAPHL players were either drafted or tendered by NA3HL teams for the 2020-21 season.
“What this shows is that NA3HL teams are doing their homework by attending and scouting NAPHL events throughout the season. Each year we are experiencing more advancement up the ladder of development than the year before,” said NAPHL Director Tony Zasowski. “We have a common core mission of providing more places for players to play than any other hockey property of our kind, and we are excited to be seeing more and more of players from every level in the NAPHL, Tier 1, Showcase, and Prep Divisions, being recognized and selected.”
“The NA3HL Draft is always an exciting day and credit to our teams because they have been working hard and put in the time during the regular season to scout the players at NAPHL events. It is very important for players in the NAPHL to have some certainly of where they will be playing next season and the draft does just that and provides some certainty. There are some great teams with some great opportunities, and the NA3HL Draft represents an important step in the developmental process,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.
The first selection of the 2020 NA3HL Draft belonged to the Oregon Tradesmen, who are a new team to the league for the 2020-21 season. The Tradesmen selected Sioux Falls Power 18U and NAPHL All-Star forward Nate Mohr. Mohr finished 2nd in team scoring for the 18U Power during the 2019-20 season with 22 points in 17 NAPHL games. He was also selected to and played in the 2019-20 NAPHL All-Star Game.
The NAPHL’s Showcase Division made its debut during the 2018-19 season and has been a big success the past two seasons. The Showcase Division includes teams from the Central States Development Hockey League (CSDHL), which is a highly competitive USA Hockey-certified hockey league for the elite youth hockey teams within the Midwest and Southwestern United States.
The Highland Park Falcons of the CSDHL, who finished as an 18U Finalist in the 2020 NAPHL Showcase Division Playoffs, saw two of their 18U players who played in the NAPHL this past season selected in the first round of the 2020 NA3HL Draft as defenseman Ibrahim Arifi was taken third overall by the Peoria Mustangs and forward Christopher Kondiles was selected 19th overall, also by Peoria.
“The coaching staff at the Falcon hockey Association could not be prouder to have two of our 18U players selected so high in the NA3HL Draft. We have been so impressed with the job the NAPHL has done in not only giving the players the exposure they need for advancement, but the all-around education they provide to the players. We all know what a complicated path Juniors can be, but the NAPHL has done a great job of breaking it all down for the players. Our players are definitely better off now that we have become a part of the NAPHL,” said Bob Heelan, Bantam and Midget Director for the Highland Park Falcons Hockey Association.
The NAPHL’s Prep Division also saw players drafted in the NA3HL, which included two players from the Tahoe Prep Academy, who were the NAPHL’s Prep Division Playoff Champions in 2020. The NAPHL’s Prep Division is a collection of some of the best High School, Prep, and Academy teams in the country. Forward Cade Schiefelbein and defenseman Jacob Nordorf, both of Tahoe Prep, were selected in the 3rd round of the NA3HL Draft, while Pilot Mound forward Colby Bear was selected in the 5th round.
“One of the benefits of joining the NAPHL is the ability to move players through an established pipeline. Having both Cade and Jacob exposed to scouts throughout each league event enabled them to be drafted in the NA3HL, and further their overall development. It truly shows the model works, and demonstrates how hard work, and dedication can be rewarded when the right opportunity presents itself,” said Michael Lewis, Atheltic Director for Tahoe Prep.