3View: Austin Ice Bats | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Austin Ice Bats

August 23, 2023

The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2023-24 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 2023-24 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 2022-23 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.

Austin Ice Bats

Head Coach: Kirk Golden (3rd season)

2022-23 Record: 47 GP, 9-37-1, 19 pts. (7th in South)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Jack Hanson (43 points)

2023 Playoffs: Did not qualify

2023-24 Division: South

After a challenging 2022-23 season that saw the Austin Ice Bats finish with a 9-37-1 record, the team is ready for a fresh start and a new chapter for the upcoming 2023-24 season. The Ice Bats are set to redefine their identity and rebuild under the leadership of their new head coach, Kirk Golden.

Golden comes to Austin already with some NA3HL experience. Being on the bench with the Great Falls Americans in the 2020-21 season, and two seasons with the Butte Cobras to follow, he has appeared in the Fraser Cup Playoffs twice, and is looking to give the Ice Bats their first playoff berth. For Golden, being a new face in a newer organization, creating a competitive environment, and a culture where everyone has a desire to improve is at the forefront of his priorities.

“We are focusing on accountability this season. The guys have to want to get better. As a coaching staff, we aim to set them up for success. There are no secrets in hockey, you just have to do things the right way. Usually that is the hard way, but it brings results,” said Golden.

When a new coach comes on board with a new and struggling franchise, there are a lot of question marks. Amongst those is forward Lance Insko, who was taken 4th overall in the NA3HL Draft. Despite the uncertainty regarding his status for the upcoming season, Golden is confident they will remain competitive regardless.

“Our 4th pick overall from the draft is still undecided where he is playing next season. We have a solid group of guys coming in. We see ourselves being a competitive team either way. This is a new season for the Bats, and we are bringing in a new mentality with it,” Golden stated. Aside from their 4th overall pick, there are some other new faces that are expected to make big contributions for the Ice Bats.

“A few new guys that we expect to have large roles for us are Forwards Hank Kasch, Kian Bendico, and Jaydin Feliciano. Back on Defense, we expect Rex Kronick and Ashton Morin to be huge for us. We have some great local junior hockey veterans who have returned to Austin in Luke Bradley, Dustin Smith, and Mario Mendez who we believe will be leaders with our culture rebuild.”

As the Austin Ice Bats embark on this new season, they are not just looking to improve their on-ice performance, but also build a positive and winning culture within the organization. With Kirk Golden leading the way, an improved roster, and emphasis on accountability up and down the roster, the Ice Bats are ready to face the challenges ahead with more experience and confidence. Austin kicks off their season at home Saturday, September 9th against their division rival, the Texas RoadRunners.

Next Up: Badlands Sabres

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