22 in 22 Series: Michigan Mountain Cats
August 27, 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.
Michigan Mountain Cats
Head Coach: Chad Grills
2012-13 Record: 15-31-2-0, 32 Points (6th, East Division)
2012-13 Leading Scorer: Guy Soulliere (25 G, 19 A, 44 P, -10)
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
2013-14 Division: East
Home Opener: Sat, September 14th, 2013 7:10 PM vs. Battle Creek at Great Lakes Sports City
The Michigan Mountain Cats found that wins and consistency were hard to come by during the 2012-13 season. Finishing in sixth place in the tough East Division of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), the Mountain Cats were described by Head Coach Chad Grills as a “young team.”
Coach Grills was nothing but positive when reflecting on his teams last place finish a season ago. “The year as a whole was satisfactory for myself and the coaching staff. You always want more wins, but the development our players made is what this league is all about.”
The Mountain Cats had several younger players that were invited to numerous high level junior camps and already have a player from last years team making the roster of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Leading the charge during the 2012-13 season was forward Guy Souillere, who scored 44 points during the regular season, placing him within the top 30 in NA3HL scoring. Souillere, a 19-year-old forward from Romeo, Michigan, was especially dangerous on the power play, scoring 13 of his points with the man advantage.
Another Mountain Cats player, late season addition Adam Morrison, a 19-year-old forward from Macomb Township, Michigan, was rewarded for his strong late season play by being selected in the 2013 NAHL Draft. Morrison was selected in the 9th round by the Wenatchee Wild following his 11-game stay with the Mountain Cats to end the season. During his short run with the team, Morrison tallied five goals and 26 penalty minutes.
Coming into the 2013-14 season, Coach Grills is ready for a new challenge with a team that will be even younger than the previous season. “Our coaching staff doesn’t mind having a young team year in and year out,” Coach Grills said. “The hockey in Michigan is very competitive and we are ready to develop players who are wanting to play junior hockey.”
The tough schedule of playing in the East Division is a challenge that Coach Grills thinks helps develop younger talent. “From the top team in the division to the bottom I feel we (The East Division) have the strongest group of teams in the league.”
The expectations for the players being set by the Mountain Cats coaching staff are simple and to the point. “We want our kids to come in and work hard,” Coach Grills said. “If you’re going to come here to play and you’re not going to work then you probably aren’t going to last here.”
This hard-nosed attitude is something Grills wants his players to take from the practice ice to the off-ice workouts and into games for next season. Beyond the level of work ethic Coach Grills has another specific goal in mind for his team no matter the age of the players. “We want to make the playoffs. Whether we are young or old it doesn’t matter to me and that’s our goal from training camp.”
A team filled with young skaters will have a lot to prove in the NA3HL, but Coach Grills will make sure his team brings a hard working attitude that will help his players learn from their mistakes and ultimately potentially earn the Mountain Cats a playoff berth at the end of the regular season.
Next up in the 22 in 22 series: Minnesota Flying Aces