3View: Norwich Sea Captains | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Norwich Sea Captains

September 1, 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.

Norwich Sea Captains

Head Coach: Kevin Cunningham

2022-23 Record: 24-16-7, 55 pts (3rd in the East Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Brian Essing (39 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to Danbury in the East Division Semi-Finals, 2 games to 1

2023-24 Division: East

Entering their third year in the NA3HL, the Norwich Sea Captains have made strides in their second season. Appearing in their first postseason berth, and finishing third in the East Division, under Head Coach Kevin Cunningham.

“We took some significant steps forward last season as we continued to establish the foundation of what we want Norwich Sea Captains hockey to look like,” Kevin Cunningham said. “We took great strides with regard to our commitment to development both on and off the ice and the consistency of the buy-in from our players. This growth was reflected in our record and enabled us to make our first playoff appearance as a franchise.”

With on ice-success building with the Sea Captains, an emphasis on advancing players academically continues to grow with the organization. In their first season, Norwich produced four college commitments to now advancing six players who earned college commitments.

“We are extremely proud that we had six players from last year's roster make college commitments,” Cunningham said. “It is incredibly rewarding to see all of those young men having the opportunity to continue their hockey careers at the collegiate level, particularly since they are all doing so at schools that they are excited to attend where they will have tremendous experiences both on and off the ice.”

Along with advancement to the NCAA level, Cunningham is a firm believer in the NAHL’s Ladder of Development. Advancing players to gain exposure in the NAHL is one of the key parts of the NA3HL, and the Sea Captains continue to strengthen their relationships with the NAHL to gain opportunities for players.

“We were able to utilize the NAHL/NA3HL Affiliate Program to help four of our players gain valuable exposure to and experience with NAHL teams,” Cunningham said. “We are looking forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with the teams throughout the NAHL and creating opportunities for our players to advance to that level.”

The Sea Captains have laid a solid foundation in continuing to be a contender in the NA3HL’s East Division. The focus on succeeding and improving the team is obvious, but with the experience that Cunningham brings behind the bench, the Sea Captain's belief with strong depth and a big number of returners will be a factor in earning wins in the East Division. 

“Our players and staff are excited about our outlook for the coming season,” Cunningham said. “We believe that we have a team that has strong depth at all three positions and that we will be able to rely on every player on our roster to contribute to our successes.”

Cunningham and his staff are very excited about the number of returning players for the upcoming season. Having thirteen players coming back from the 2022-23 season, having the knowledge of how Cunningham wants the team to play is already instilled into those veteran players.

“We have thirteen players returning from our 2022-23 roster, including goaltender Presley Patrin who finished last season in Sweden,” Cunninghams said. “We have five defensemen and seven forwards returning. Camden Bormes, Chris Hamilton, Tim Hayden, Erik Masengill and Tony Morran will anchor our defensive corps and be vital contributors to our efforts to keep our opponents off the scoreboard. Jameson Bain, Carson Dutcher, Brian Essing, Mitchell Goodman, Sava Makarenko, Quinten Olshan and Nicols Piluso return to bolster our forward lines. The skills, experience and leadership of this group will be crucial as our offense looks to continue to light the lamp at an increased rate.”

When building the upcoming roster for the 2023-24 campaign, the Sea Captains relied heavily on the NA3HL tender system and draft process. The NA3HL Entry Draft allows amateur players less than 21 years of age on December 31, 2023 who are not listed on an NA3HL team roster or are listed on an NA3HL team roster but played less than (10) NA3HL regular season and/or playoff games during the 2022-23 season and did not accept a tender from an NA3HL team prior to the 2023 NA3HL Entry Draft are eligible for selection in the draft. A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders, which include two (2) tenders exclusively used on players from the NA3HL - plus or minus any trades - which became active on November 1st. Tendered players are not eligible for the 2023 NAHL Draft.

“We have used the tender and draft process to build our team the past few years and the result is that this season we will have an experienced team,” Cunningham said. “Fifteen players on this year's roster signed tenders with the team and two more were selected in the NA3HL Draft. Those avenues to acquire players will be paramount as we look to continue to build skilled teams that can compete with the best the NA3HL has to offer.”

The Norwich Sea Captains will kick off their third season in the NA3HL with a matchup at home against the Long Beach Sharks on September, 22nd. As the season is just around the corner, the excitement and anticipation is alive and well with the Sea Captains.

“Everyone associated with our program is anxiously anticipating the coming season,” Cunningham said. “We believe that we have an exciting mix of players with the skills, character and commitment to excel, and who will be able to work together effectively to highlight each other's strengths. We are looking forward to working together to make our team one that will be tough to beat every night.”

Next Up: Oregon Tradesmen

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