3View: Granite City Lumberjacks | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Granite City Lumberjacks

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.

Granite City Lumberjacks

Head Coach: DJ Vold (1st season)

2022-23 Record: 47 GP, 39-6-2, 80 pts. (1st in West Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Tucker Skime (53 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost in the West Finals to Alexandria, 2-0. Won the Fraser Cup Championship as the wild card

2023-24 Division: West

The last couple years for the Granite City Lumberjacks have made for a remarkable story of heartbreak, redemption, and the sweet taste of victory. The 2022-23 season was a journey of highs and lows, ultimately culminating in a thrilling and historic Fraser Cup victory. The Lumberjacks entered the 2022-23 season with the weight of unfinished business on their shoulders. The prior season had seen them reach the Fraser Cup Finals, only to fall just short of lifting the Fraser Cup.

The Fraser Cup Finals of 2023 will be etched into the memory of all those who witnessed it. In a thrilling contest, the Lumberjacks found themselves trailing 5-3 going into the third period. However, determination knows no bounds. In a dramatic turn of events, they scored three goals in just 11 minutes, including the game-winner, which found the back of the net with a mere :09 seconds remaining.

"Going all the way to the championship game and losing in 2022 was one of the toughest things a team can go through but I don't think there is any better motivation for 2023 than that,” said head coach DJ Vold. This burning desire for redemption ignited a fire in Granite City, driving them to relentlessly pursue their goal of a championship.

To achieve such remarkable success, the Lumberjacks demonstrated resilience not just on the ice but also in their approach to roster changes. Coach Vold emphasized their "next man up" mentality, recognizing that player turnover is an inevitable part of junior hockey. It's an attitude that sees each transition as an opportunity for another player to step up and contribute to the team's success.

As they look ahead to the 2023-24 season, the Lumberjacks have an array of returning players poised to lead the way. “It's tough not to mention the guy who scored the game winner in the championship game, Carson Van Zuilen. To go along with him up front will be Hayden Johnson. On defense we will lean on guys like AJ Schemenauer, Finn Greeley, and Sam Brennan. Also, having Jack Louko and Easton Portner back will be a huge boost. We really like the group of guys we have coming back and are looking forward to them leading the way,” Vold stated.

As they prepare to defend their championship and build on their legacy, the Lumberjacks story stands as a reminder that, in the world of sports, redemption is often the sweetest victory of all. The Lumberjacks kick their season off in Rochester, Friday, September 15th against the Grizzlies and return to home ice the next day to complete the two-game set.

Next Up: Great Falls Americans

 
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