3View: Sheridan Hawks | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Sheridan Hawks

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.

Sheridan Hawks

Head Coach: JJ Santagata (1st Season)

2022-23 Record: 27-18-1-1, 56 pts. (3rd in Frontier Division)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Ryan McKenna (78 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to the Gillette Wild in the Frontier Division Semi-Finals, 2 games to 0

2023-24 Division: Frontier

The 2022-23 season was something to build on for Sheridan, making the playoffs for the second time in franchise history and sending a large group of players to the next level. Newly appointed head coach JJ Santagata not only wants to continue that regular season success but bring that into the playoffs as well.

“Our goal is the Frontier division playoffs and cause some noise once we get there. Our priorities every single day are going to be a relentless group that plays both sides of the puck well. We want to build off last season and walk away with more wins,” said Santagata.

This will be Santagata’s second season in Sheridan, spending the 2022-23 season as an assistant coach. He saw first-hand the individual development and advancement of players that come through the organization. Eight players who wore a Sheridan sweater committed to play college hockey last season.

“Our first and foremost priority is advancement for these kids, we are a Tier 3 league and with that we need to push advancement and development. The NA3HL is one of the best Tier 3 leagues in the nation with their clear development path to the NAHL and we want to be a team that pushes guys on every single season.”

Since joining the league in the 2019-20 campaign, the Hawks have made the playoffs twice in the Frontier Division. Santagata knows that the division will only continue to improve and become more of a challenge to reach the Fraser Cup playoffs.

When asked about his experience so far in the division and league he said, “It's been great so far, a lot of the coaches in this league, specifically the Frontier, are awesome people, they want to build competitive teams and make the league a strong junior league.”

The Hawks will be led by a strong group of returning players to compete in the Frontier. Caleb Murray and Daniel Shelden will be coming back to lead the way on offense, both finishing top 10 in scoring for the Hawks last season with 29 and 22 points respectively. Jaxon Call and Niko Kempa will be looked towards to bolster the blueline.

Santagata weighed in on the importance of these and other returning players to the roster. “We expect a lot out of our returners on and off the ice. To continue to build a strong, hardworking culture here and set a good example for our new players this year.”

When asked about what to look for in their new group of players he said, "We have a lot of new guys on the roster, a handful of guys have junior experience within the league or other junior leagues, with a few returners and a lot of new guys our new guys will get a chance to contribute to the line up every night.”

The community of Sheridan has embraced the Hawks since their inception. Coach Santanata and the entire organization want to return the favor as much as they can. “Sheridan has a great support system here; the community really loves their hockey here and they are always supporting the team and the players in any way they can. Being a small community, we as our program do our best to make sure the community knows how much we appreciate them.”

Sheridan will open their season on September 15th against the Bozeman Icedogs and will have their home opener the following weekend against the Helena Bighorns.

Next Up: St. Louis Jr. Blues

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