3View: Helena Bighorns | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Helena Bighorns

August 27, 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.

Helena Bighorns

Head Coach: Damon Hanson (3rd season)

2022-23 Record: 36-8-1-2, 75 pts (1st in Frontier Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Tyler Bloom (55 points)

2023 Playoffs: Won the Frontier, Lost in Fraser Cup Semifinals to Granite City

2023-24 Division: Frontier

The Helena Bighorns defended their Frontier Division Championship crown for the second consecutive season. During the 2022-23 campaign, the Bighorns were led by Head Coach Scott Cunningham and Associate Head Coach Damon Hanson. During last season, the Bighorns led the league in least goals allowed with 74. The team had tremendous regular season success, along with back-to-back Frontier Division titles, but have fallen short two years in a row trying to claim the Fraser Cup.

“Making the Frazer Cup semi-finals two years in a row, getting knocked out, and returning to Helena empty-handed is never a good feeling,” Damon Hanson said.

Hanson, who has taken back the reins as Head Coach for the Bighorns, found success with the team during the 2021-22 season with getting the team to the Fraser Cup, a Frontier Division title. His 2021-22 Bighorn squad compiled an impressive 42-3-2 record with 86 points.

“It’s gone well so far and has been a part of coaching in the NA3HL for six years,” Hanson said. “I’ve been very lucky to have spent the last six in Helena where I got the chance to play. I think the NA3HL is a great league that allows a lot of opportunity for the players from top to bottom.”

While Hanson and his staff want to succeed on the ice as a team, player development and advancement is always a high priority. With a number of players attending NAHL main camps over the summer, moving on to NCAA hockey, getting tendered and drafted, the Bighorns pride themselves on the advancement of their players.

“We had four out of the six age-outs from last season find a college for this upcoming fall,” Hanson said. “Any time we can move guys on and watch these young men continue to live out their dreams of being a hockey player and getting a college education at the same time is great.”

The Bighorns had a number of players move on to the next level, but there is a good number of returning players. Hanson and his squad have an understanding of what is expected from them this upcoming season.

“Braden and Camden Cunningham had a great first season helping lead our team to a long run last season,” Hanson said. “We are looking forward to having them jump-start our offense again this season. Guys like Ty Moore will bring a lot of grit to our lineup. Garrett Bogan and Dylan Cunningham on the back end logged a lot of minutes for us, we will look to both again this season to drive our back end. At the end of the day, we’re going to need everyone if we want to win. Also, getting to add a guy like Jack Lambert up front who has proven he can produce is great. Goaltender Alex Lamont was another great addition to our team in net.”

The Bighorns are backed by a strong fanbase and with the returning players and new faces they have brought on to the team, expectations are high, and the goal is understood.

“We expect another good season this year,” Hanson said. “We are very excited about the start of the season. We have a great group of guys all wanting to accomplish one thing, and that’s to win a Fraser Cup. Our leadership group is great and our coaching staff is very excited for the opportunity to work with this group. The guys know this is a process and it’s not always kind but at the end of the day, it takes everyone.”

Next Up: Long Beach Sharks

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