3View: Butte Irish | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Butte Irish

August 24, 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.

Butte Irish

Head Coach: Marc Brodeur (2nd season)

2022-23 Record: 25-20-2, 52 pts (4th in Frontier Division)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to Helena in the Frontier Division Semi-Finals, 2 games to 0

2023-24 Division: Frontier

Formally known as the Butte Cobras, the team rebranded recently to the Butte Irish. The Butte Cobras made their debut in the NA3HL beginning with the 2018-19 season. In that time span, the Cobras have improved their record in each subsequent season in the NA3HL, which included a 25-20-2 record in the most recent 2022-23 season and the team’s first ever playoff appearance.

In their five seasons in the NA3HL the team has compiled a 63-161-4 record. The original Butte Irish made their debut in the now defunct America West/Frontier Hockey League during the 1996-97 season. The team played in the AWHL until the 2021-22 season.

This upcoming season the team will be completely under the full direction of Head Coach Marc Brodeur, who came in last season near the midway point of the season in December. Brodeur looks to take the excitement of the rebrand of the team in the community and transition that excitement into a winning product on the ice.

“We are very excited about this upcoming season with the re-branding of the team and the excitement it has already created in the community and with our players,” Brodeur said. “We only have 7 returners from last season so we are going to be young but I feel we are going to be very strong in nets and on defense with the players we have contracted.  Up front we will be pretty good but still need to round out the offense like we want.”

With a little less than a year under his belt as Head Coach, Brodeur has been a key part of players advancing to the Collegiate level and is ecstatic with the amount of players making their leap to the next level.

“We have several players that will continue their hockey careers in the ACHA Division 1 ranks,” Brodeur said. “Those will be Nick Bradshaw and Luke Schleusner at the University of Mary, Caleb Cross at Northern Illinois University and Robbie Arver at Waldorf University.  In Division 2 ACHA we have Jonathon O'Brien playing at Providence University in Great Falls, MT.  Carter Large and Nikolai Wallery will be at Montana State University.  Casey Otis will be at Northern Arizona University and Drysten Bailey will be playing at Williston State University.”

Along with players moving on to College hockey, Brodeur believes in the development that the NAHL promotes. Last season two players Caleb Cross, who spent time with the Kenai River Brown Bears and Cade Wessman appeared in a game with the Maine Nordiques, made their NAHL debuts.

“Last year I inherited the team and they were very talented and fun to coach,” Brodeur said. “Moving forward I will do everything in my power to promote the NA3HL because it is way more talented than the other Junior options on par with us.”

With the 2023-24 season right around the corner, Brodeur has a positive outlook on the upcoming year. With a new mindset on the bench, and a few returners, the Irish cannot wait to get the season going.

“We have what I think is the best goaltending in our division and one of the best defensive-core in the Frontier. I have two high quality Defensemen returning in Carson Streich and Weston Villers and traded with Mid-Cities for Josh Field who was one of the best Defensemen in the South Division last season. We also have prolific goal scorer Patrick Crooks returning up front. I think this season is going to be good," said Brodeur.

The Irish are carrying high expectations into the 2023-24 season. With a core of returning veterans and a highly praised goaltending presence, the Irish are going to bring experience and skill to the Frontier this season.

Next Up: Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks

 
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