22 in 22 Series: Breezy Point North Stars
August 18, 2013
The 22 in 22 series features an in-depth look into all 22 teams in the NA3HL for the 2013-14 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 7th as four NA3HL teams take to the ice on Opening Night.
22 in 22 will go in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 22 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2013-14 season, including taking a look at their roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season.
It will also take a look back on the 2012-13 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 22 in 22 is done to provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
Breezy Point North Stars
Head Coach: Bryan Henrichs
2012-13 Record: 4-43-0-1, 9 Points (6th, West Division)
2012-13 Leading Scorer: Kyle Whipple (5 G, 10 A, 15 P, -56)
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
2013-14 Division: West
Home Opener: Sat. September 14th, 2013 7:30 PM vs. Minnesota at Breezy Point Hockey Center
Being an expansion franchise in any league is always a challenge and the first season for the Breezy Point North Stars was no exception. Last season, the North Stars finished sixth in the West Division of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), gaining nine points during the regular season and missed the playoffs.
The team earned a major milestone early in the year as they got their first win in franchise history beating the Alexandria Blizzard 3-2 on October 24th. The Breezy Point, Minnesota based team looks to make an improvement from their inaugural season and Coach Bryan Henrichs feel they have the right tools in place to do that.
Coming into their inaugural season the North Stars were starting from scratch and fielded a very young team full of rookie junior players. The struggle to find players was acknowledged by coach Henrichs. “The recruiting window was short and intense as we worked very hard to find players to come and play in Breezy Point,” Henrichs said. “Players often lean towards playing for established programs that have tradition and history, which we don’t have yet.”
The season started on a great note as the team sold out their first home game against North Iowa on September 24th. "We are extremely happy with all the positive support from the community," said North Stars general manager Joe Bergquist. "The entire night was filled with energy and excitement. It started with a large tailgate party before the game and continued with the sound and light shows during the game. We also had free open skating and entertainment after the game." Forward Kyle Whipple, the teams leading scorer from last season, netted the first goal in team history.
Coach Henrichs emphasized that the goal for the first season was to field a competitive team in the tough West division. “Our goal from the beginning was to compete and compete the right way. At the end of the year I believe our boys gained respect from the teams in our division for playing the game the right way.”
The outlook for the 2013-14 season from the Breezy Point coaching staff is positive, as they feel that with their mix of 10 veterans returning plus new rookies coming in they will eliminate that “break-in” period that they struggled with last season. “We went out and found rookies with the skill sets that we need to be competitive,” Henrichs commented said about the incoming rookie class.
Going into year two the Breezy Point, Minnesota franchise has one major goal that they think will push them to the next level of teams in the NA3HL. “We’re striding to make the playoffs. We’re setting the expectation to make the playoffs in year two.”
Henrichs mentioned specific aspects that will help his team earn that playoff spot, “Preparation will be far better. Understanding what we need every night and making sure that teams earn their wins against us.”
For the visitors of Breezy Point, Minnesota their goal is to relax and take it easy. From the way that Coach Henrichs is forming his team, any NA3HL team visiting Breezy Point will have anything but an easy stay.
Next up in the 22 in 22 series: Chicago Jr. Bulldogs