3View: Rochester Grizzlies | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Rochester Grizzlies

September 3, 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.

Rochester Grizzlies

Head Coach: Tyler Veen (1st Season)

2022-23 Record: 33-9-2-3, 71 pts. (1st in Central Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Spencer Klotz (45 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to the Oregon Tradesmen in the Central Division Finals, 2 games to 0

2023-24 Division: West

Living up to a previous season of winning the championship is never an easy task. Following their 2022 Fraser Cup Championship, the Rochester Grizzlies built on their momentum by finishing 1st in the Central Division but were unable to advance to St. Louis in the playoffs. Newly appointed head coach and last season’s assistant coach Tyler Veen reflected on this past season.

“Last season we had a successful year but just came short of our ultimate goal. We always measure our success by how many guys we advance up during the year and ultimately after the season. The year prior, we had 11 guys play in the NAHL and last year we only had about 5 guys get games. We are a developmental league and that's why I view us coming up short both in the developmental side and results.”

During the 2022-23 campaign, the Grizzlies roster saw five players get called up for games in the NAHL and nine players commit to play college hockey. Although that call-up number is six less than the previous season, Veen and the entire Rochester organization continue keying in on not only making their players better on the ice but better people off the ice as well. 

“Our number one goal is developing and advancing our players to the next level. First and foremost, we are creating a better person first. If you are not a great person, schools and teams do not care how good you are at hockey. We emphasize that team success equals individual recognition. Our whole organization is built around great people and putting the team first.”

The Grizzlies will be transferring to the West Division in the 2023-2024 season, joining the most recent Fraser Cup champion Granite City Lumberjacks and other difficult opponents. Veen weighed in on what he expects in the West and what his goals are for the upcoming year. “This West Division is truly going to be a battle night in and night out. I believe it is going to be great for coaches, fans, and most importantly players for exposure to the next level. My goal is to develop young men first and foremost, and give them every tool and opportunity to continue to advance their hockey careers.”

Rochester is looking to make a splash in their entrance to the West Division which will be led by a strong group of returning players. Spencer Klotz, Maksim Lakic, Ty Petzke, and Tate Cothern are just some of the names Veen is looking forward to developing as individuals and leading this new Grizzlies roster toward another championship. Tyler weighed in on a few of these players.

“Look for Spencer Klotz to lead us night in and night out on and off the ice. One year of experience with us, spent time in the NAHL last year and Anchorage this season is only going to help him reach his goals… Look for Tate Cothern to take the net as we compete with our goaltenders. Won our starting job last year, have the expectation he will be that guy every night, but he must earn it.”

In addition to those key returners, Veen and the Grizzlies see new additions to the roster making a large impact as well. “Expect John Schmidt (F) to compete and bring physicality night in and night out as well as point contributions. Look for Gavin Griffin to develop and be a consistent high-energy defenseman with offensive skill.”

These returners along with the new faces joining the roster are not only in a great position to succeed and develop on the ice but also in a great community that embraces their success. “We have the best support system with our fans and especially billet families. We hope to continue to put on a show and represent our organization and city as one,” said Veen.

The Grizzlies will begin their season with a home-and-home matchup against the defending Fraser Cup champion Granite City Lumberjacks on September 15th.

Next Up: Sheridan Hawks

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