The ‘17 in 17’ series features an in-depth look into all 17 NA3HL teams, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 8th. ‘17 in 17’ will go in-depth into each 3HL team and will include interview with all 17 3HL head coaches as they prognosticate and break down their outlook for the upcoming season.
Quad City Jr. Flames
Head Coach: Tom McDermott
2011-12 Record: 14-28-6, 34 pts. – 4th in Central Division
Playoffs: Lost in the Division Semi-Finals to St. Louis, 2-1
2012-13 Division: Central (2011-12 Central)
Opening Night: Saturday, September 15th vs. Alexandria – 7:00 pm at Rivers Edge
Taking a look back at the Quad City Jr. Flames season, the goals of the season was not just about wins, but about how to get players to the next level. Head Coach Tom McDermott did just that. Of last year’s roster, four are moving on to pursue education while still playing hockey. Goaltender Tanner Jones has moved onto UMASS-Boston (NCAA DIII) while defenseman Mike Skopinski and forwards Luke McCarthy and Jared Fielden were selected to play for notable ACHA DI programs around the country. Goaltender Collin LeMay, acquired in a trade from Pittsburgh at the start of last season, also moved along in his hockey career in December to play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL and finishing the season with the Topeka RoadRunners in the NAHL.
Another loss to this year’s roster will be goaltender Michael Meadows. Playing in 34 games last year, Meadows had an impressive .904 save percentage, ranking as 10th in the league. McDermott trusts that all the new goaltenders will make the same impact on the Jr. Flames as Meadows and Jones did.
The focus will be the same this year for the Jr. Flames, Coach McDermott said, along with trying to make a playoff run and get home ice. “We will go from there and see where it takes us,” he said. A handful of veteran players will be returning for the 2012-13 season to help McDermott lead the new team to success. The veteran forwards are Halen Sampson, Anthony Caroselli and Peter Coppola. All three will be the oldest returning players, along than defensemen Chayce Conen. Conen will be backed behind the blue line by a young defensive group comprised of Zach Turner, Colin Bales and Latvia native Nauris Buskevics.
The players joining the returning seven come from all different hockey backgrounds; midgets, high school and juniors. “The team reported last week, and I am very happy with how the team is looking at the moment,” McDermott said.
Quad City, Peoria and St. Louis will be welcoming new Central Division opponents Battle Creek and Queen City to their regular season match-ups. With the shift in the footprint, McDermott is looking forward to having two new teams join the Central. “It adds additional talent to the division, which will make it more competitive,” he said.
On Saturday, September 15th, McDermott and his team will host the new NA3HL club, the Alexandria Blizzard at home to kick off the season.