3View: Gillette Wild | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Gillette Wild

August 26, 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.

Gillette Wild

Head Coach: Ethan Hayes

2022-23 Record: 47 GP, 36-8-3, 75 PTS (1st in Frontier)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Jace Johnson (70 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to the Helena Bighorns in the Frontier Division Finals, 2 games to 1

2023-24 Division: Frontier

The Gillette Wild are back in action, and the anticipation surrounding the 2023-24 season is evident. After finishing the last season with an impressive 36-8-3 record and clinching the top spot in the Frontier Division in the regular season, the Wild have their sights set on an even greater feat. With a loyal fan base behind them, a strong core of returners, and a determined coaching staff led by Ethan Hayes, the Wild are poised to take the next jump in the NA3HL this season.

For Gillette, the 2022-23 season held a lot of accomplishments. Despite claiming the Frontier Division crown, they narrowly missed out on the Fraser Cup Championship. The year before, they reached the Fraser Cup Championships but fell short. These near-misses have only fueled their hunger for success, and they enter this season with a desire to hoist the Fraser Cup.

Hayes emphasized the significance of securing the top spot in the regular season. "The biggest thing for us is we play a lot better in front of our home crowd, so we have to do everything we can to put ourselves in the #1 spot so that we get those home games." Obviously, the home-ice advantage proves to be pretty effective for the Wild, and being able to secure that top seed could be vital throughout a playoff run.

The on-ice product for the Wild should continue to be a threat to the league as well. With at least 11 returners, there is a lot of confidence surrounding these players to bring production and leadership to their lineup.

"We should be relying heavily on Cole Wheaton to stay steady between the pipes. As for forwards, we have a lot of guys that should be really solid for us up front. JP Johnson is coming off an all-rookie team last season, Ryan Hipsag will be a force, and Adam Severson, Isaac Young, and Wylee Gladen will also be carrying weight on their shoulders to help the rookies in any way possible and put points on the board. Our D core will be very solid, with returning 5 guys: Jo Lalli, Wyatt Schmitz, Todd Powassin, Cade Voge, and Jacob Guitard, who I expect to all be key contributors,” said Hayes.

As we know, balancing the aspirations of 25 individuals who are striving for personal goals within the framework of a team can be a daunting task, but Hayes has seemed to find a balance of both development, and winning. "Keeping 25 guys focused on the same team goal while they’re trying to accomplish their own goals at the same time is tough. We just keep it as fun as possible while we’re working every day. A balance that has a very fine line. Our culture is based on the fact that, winning is fun."

As the Gillette Wild embark on the 2023-24 season, they carry with them the lessons of the past, the support of their community, and more determination than ever to achieve the ultimate goal. With their eyes fixed on the Fraser Cup, the Wild are ready to make history this year. They open their season up on Friday, September 15th in Butte, against the Irish. They won’t take the ice at home until Friday, October 6th where they face-off against the Yellowstone Quake.

Next Up: Granite City Lumberjacks

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