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Blizzard Announce Goaltending Development Camps
John Lindell Arena
Royal Oak, MI
We will be hosting two sessions, which will be capped at 16 goalies each.
The first is our NAHL Prospects Group (98-01 Birth Year Goalies). Several members from this group will be invited to attend Blizzard Main Camp the following weekend.
The second is our NAHL Futures Group (02-04 Birth Year Goalies). This group includes goalies who are 1-2 years away from playing in the NAHL, but want to give themselves the opportunity to develop and/or get on our radar for future camps and draft opportunities.
Each group will receive 4 hours of on-ice training and 1 hour of off-ice training. The camp will be run by Blizzard Goaltending Coach Rob Liddell, and several other guests with excellent credentials. Other coaches include:
AJ Walczak – Goaltending Coach with Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Erik Schardt – Central Illinois Flying Aces (USHL) and Goaltending Coach with Honeybaked AAA
Jeremy Kaleniecki – Former Goaltending Coach at Army West Point (NCAA DI)
These camps are INVITE ONLY. If interested in attending the Brookings Blizzard Goaltending Development Camp, please contact Coach Liddell at firstname.lastname@example.org – in your email please include your name, level of play, and birth year along with a statement of interest in why you’d like to be considered.
Changes coming to the Front Office
The Brookings Blizzard are proud to announce that Mark Thompson, Play By Play Broadcaster and Sales Executive has accepted a position with Central Illinois of the United States Hockey League (USHL) and is a great opportunity for Mark to advance his career. We would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to Mark for all of his work with the team. Since Mark started with us, he has been a large influence on the team’s direction and we cannot thank him enough for his work in placing the team where we are today. We would like to wish Mark the best of luck in his next career step in the USHL!
Taylor Linder, Director of Operations, has accepted an offer to continue his education at the University of Arkansas-Monticello under a full scholarship to pursue his Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology. We are super excited for Taylor to take the next step in his career path, but are sad to see him go. Taylor has spent the past year with the team, improving numerous parts of the organization. We look forward to Taylor helping transition these projects onto Kristi and Weston.
In that, the Brookings Blizzard are proud to announce the hiring of our two new front office staff.
Kristi Jacobsma has accepted the position of Sales and Marketing Manger with The Brookings Blizzard. Kristi is a Brookings native that has been involved in sales and marketing within the community for the past 21 years. Kristi brings a unique perspective and passion for hockey that has grown over the past 10 years while her 3 sons have developed in the sport. She is also active in the local hockey association’s board by serving on various positions and contributing her time and effort to grow hockey within the Brookings Community.
Kristi and her husband Jamie are happily raising four kids: Cayden (16) Nash (15), Layla (10) and Jager (5). They enjoy spending time with their family attending sporting events at various levels in addition to attending many youth activities that their children are involved with.
Kristi is excited for the opportunity to work with the Brookings Blizzard to grow the interest of junior hockey in the Brookings community. Her experience and passion will help fuel excitement for the upcoming season.
As for Play By Play and Social Media Manager, the Blizzard have hired Weston DeWitt. Weston is a recent graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Journalism. Weston was born and raised in Rapid City, SD for 18 years, before starting his college career at Bethel University in Arden Hills, MN. After two years at Bethel, Weston transferred to Arizona State, where he immersed himself immediately in the student radio station, Blaze Radio. He broadcasted numerous ASU events in baseball, basketball, hockey and football for the station. He later served as the Sports Director of the station for 2017-18 and was named “Best Sports Director” in the country by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).
In his down time, he enjoys working out, watching all the sports he can take, seeing new movies and writing about the UFC, as he is currently a part-time contributor to FanSided and Sports Illustrated MMA. Weston is an avid fan of combat sports, the MLB, NHL and of course his alma mater, Arizona State. His favorite teams include the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes.
Weston is excited to bring his passion and love for broadcasting hockey to Brookings. He played in Larson Ice Center as a young boy with the Rushmore Thunder on the SDAHA, which is the same league as the Brookings Rangers.
“The Blizzard are excited about our new additions to the organization and are excited to continue on the paths of successes from last season. Kristi and Weston are both excited to start their new journies and excited to continue in building upon the foundation that Mark and Taylor have built. Please join us in welcoming Kristi and Weston!” ___________________________________________________________________________
KOVIAK MAKES NCAA DIII COMMITMENT
The Brookings Blizzard, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Connor Koviak has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Koviak (5’10/170) played a year and a half with the Blizzard tallying 56 points in 98 games. That included 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) for the 21-year-old native of Canton, Michigan, during the 2017-18 season.
“I’m excited to play for one of the top Division III Programs. I loved every second of my visit to campus, and I think it will be a great college experience. The coaching staff has had a lot of success, and everyone has had good things to say about the hockey program. I loved my time in Brookings, and I want to thank my billet parents Dan and Suzanne Stluka, and the coaching staff for helping me to achieve something I’ve been working hard for throughout my playing career,” said Koviak.
“Connor is a player that takes pride in his work ethic for practices and games. He is a solid two-way player in both ends of the ice. He has great character that was liked by everyone,” said Blizzard head coach Moe Mantha.
___________________________________________________________________________BLIZZARD SELECT 9 IN THIS YEARS NAHL DRAFT
The Brookings Blizzard, proud members of the North American Hockey League, participated in the Annual NAHL Draft on Tuesday June 9th, selecting 9 players from across the country. The Blizzard were allotted 9 picks in the Draft, which is based on the number of returning veteran players plus the number of signed tenders to get the team to 30 players. Among those selected this year were players from across the US, Canada, as well as a goaltender from Belarus. “In 60 games last year, 27 of them were decided by just 1 goal so this year you can expect us to take a handful of forwards who can score as well as a goalie or two who can handle the high intensity of this league” says Moe Mantha, Head Coach/GM of the Blizzard.
This years picks were a variety of birth years, ranging from the maximum 1998 birth year, and on down to 2001. With the 6th overall pick in the first round, the Blizzard selected Dylan Schuett (pictured above), a forward from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Schuett, who spent last season with the East Coast Wizards, and was selected as the Eastern Hockey League’s “Rookie of the Year” with an impressive 64 points (33g-31a-64p) in 48 games. Schuett also played in two games for the Blizzard last season, notching one goal in the December game. In the second round, the Blizzard selected Kendrick Frost, a Lee’s Summit, MO native who spent last year with the Syracuse (NY) Stars of the NCDC. Frost, a 1999 born forward, put up 36 points (18g-18a-36p) in 50 games last year for the Stars. He is a 2019 commit to Army (NCAA, DI). Next in the Blizzard selections, comes Owen Belisle, a 2001 forward from Thunder Bay, ON, CAN, who spent last season with the Thunder Bay NorthStars of the SIJHL. In the 17-18 season, Belisle posted 32 points (13g-19a-32p) in 52 games last season. In round 5, the Blizzard selected Belarus native Wouter Peeters, a 1998 goaltender who spent the past season with the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. Peeters appeared in 30 games last season for the Phantoms, posting a .902 save average. The 6’4” tall goaltender was a 2016 3rd round NHL Draft pick for the Chicago Blackhawks. In round 6, the Blizzard selected Illinois native John Johnson, who spent last season with the Chicago Mission 16U program. Johnson was able to put up 15 points (7g-8a-15p) in 20 games last year. With their 7th Round Pick, the Blizzard selected another IL native, TJ Koufis, who also spent last year with the Mission 16U team with Johnson. Koufis also notched 15 points (4g-11a-15p) in 20 games last season with the Mission. Koufis is a 2020 commit to the University of Wisconsin (NCAA, DI). Next, in round 8, the Blizzard picked up a strong defensemen from the St. Louis Blues AAA program, Christian Berger. Berger spent the majority of last season with the Blues, collecting 23 points (10-13-23) in 30 games with the AAA team. Berger also spent time with St. Louis University High School (USHS, 12 points in 14 games) as well as Madison Capitols (USHL, 1 point in 7 games). Christian is a 2019 Penn State University commitment. In the 9th round, Blizzard picked up Michigan Native, and Leamington Flyers (GOJHL) forward Nathan Skulley. Skulley posted 17 points (8-9-17) in 38 games for the Flyers. Finally, with their last pick in the 10th round in the 2018 NAHL Draft, Blizzard selected Toronto native David Israel, who spent the past season with the Palm Beach Hawks of the USPHL Premier. Israel, a 6’1” defensemen, posted 24 points (6-18-24) in 41 games last season with the team.
“We’re very excited to pick up these players today” says Mantha. “We’re getting 9 great leaders who all have top notch character and an excellent work ethic. We’re working towards building this program to our vision and these players will all help us get there.”
The Blizzard will host their final Main Camp from July 19-22 at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, NY. Selected players will report to Brookings in late August for training camp. Season Tickets are now on sale for the 2018-19 Season and can be reserved by calling the Blizzard Front Office at (605) 592-9114.
BLIZZARD NAME DEVIN MANTHA AS ASSISTANT COACH
The Brookings Blizzard (NAHL) are proud to announce the hiring of Devin Mantha as Assistant Coach for the 2018-19 Season!
“We’re excited that Devin has accepted the position of Assistant Coach with the Brookings Blizzard for the 2018-19 Season. Devin’s Journey as a hockey player mirrors the experience that our players are striving for. His accomplishments as a player combined with his proven track record as a leader both on and off the ice make him an ideal candidate for this position.” Says Blizzard Owner, Chris Canavati.
Devin joins the Blizzard after 5 seasons of professional hockey in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), amassing over 200 points in those 5 seasons. Included in these years were two years of Captain for the Mississippi Riverkings (SPHL) and a year as Alternate Captain. During his time in the SPHL, Mantha earned a Community Service Award as well as tied two SPHL records (Most Points in a SPHL game with 7 and most goals in a SPHL game at 5). Mantha also spent time with the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) as well as the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the Blizzard. I’m looking forward to the challenges that come with coaching a team. I’m excited to help any way I can to develop these young men and move them on to higher levels of hockey and onwards to their own personal goals.” Says Devin Mantha
Prior to professional hockey, Devin attended the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire where he guided his team to a DIII National Championship in 2013, all while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Leadership. His time at Eau Claire came after two season playing for the University of Miami – Ohio, where they clinched a CCHA regular season title and a spot in the Frozen Four in 2010.
“I am very pleased to have Devin join the coaching staff of the Brookings Blizzard this season. Devin brings with him the skills, patientce, and experience that the players can identify with, and profit from. He will be a valuable resource for the players and myself. He has always had the passion for the game as a player, and now he brings that passion to coaching” says Blizzard Head Coach/GM Moe Mantha.
BLIZZARD NAME GOALTENDING COACH
Rob Liddell has been named the Blizzard Goalie Coach for the 2018-19 season. Liddell hails from the Detroit area, where he has recently been working with the Little Caesar AAA programs. Rob first attended college at Oakland University in Michigan, and then transferred to Eastern Michigan where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. Rob played club hockey for Oakland and Eastern Michigan, and now uses his teaching background with goalies at the amateur, college, and professional levels. Liddell is part owner of Goalie Coaches, which is an internet based company that provides coaching for goalies throughout the United States that don’t necessarily have a goalie coach dedicated to them. Liddell is excited to bring his experience and knowledge to Brookings where he wants to build a culture for goalies and establish Brookings as a goaltender destination. Liddell forms one on one relationships with his goaltenders, and it’s through that rapport that allows his students to receive the tools to help them reach their potential. Tyler Parsons is one of Liddell’s noted students. Parsons was the Gold Medal winning goaltender for the United States in the World Juniors two years ago. Parson’s was a 2nd round pick for the Calgary Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft. And is currently in the Flames farm system.
EACH TICKET PURCHASED AT BOZIEDS COMES WITH ONE COMPLIMENTARY BEER TOKEN.
916 6th St, Brookings, SD 57006.