Esmark 18U goalie Strobel signs NAHL tender
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U goaltender Connor Strobel has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Amarillo Wranglers of the NAHL’s South Division.
The 18-year old Butler, PA, native, shared duties in net for the U18 AAA Stars for both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons and helped guide the Esmark 18U AAA program to back-to-back spots in the USA Hockey National Championships (as the 2019-20 18U Tier I Mid-American District Champion and as a 18U Tier I "at-large" selection for the '20-'21 season).
Following the 2019-20 season, Strobel, a 2020 graduate of Butler High School, was tendered by the NAHL's Johnstown Tomahawks. He was returned to Esmark in December of last season, to get additional playing time and work in, and then returned to Johnstown as an "affiliate player" after the conclusion of the 2021 USA Hockey Nationals.
In three NAHL starts for the Tomahawks, Strobel recorded a 1-1-0-1 record with a .884 save percentage and a goals against average (GAA) of 3.66.
During the '20-'21 season, Strobel (6'2", 170 lbs.), recorded a record of 15-7-2-0 in 25 overall appearances with the U18 Stars, with a .928 save percentage and a goals against average (GAA) of 2.12, including two shutouts. In five regular season NAPHL appearances this past season, he had a 2-3-0-0 record, with a .906 save percentage and a goals against average (GAA) of 2.73. And in two NAPHL Dixon Cup Playoff appearances, he recorded a 2-0-0-0 record, with a .964 save percentage and a goals against average (GAA) of 1.08.
During the 2019-20 season, Strobel recorded a record of 27-2-4-1 in 35 overall appearances with the U18 Stars, had a .936 save percentage and a goals against average (GAA) of 1.75, including seven shutouts and three assists. In nine regular season NAPHL appearances, he recorded a 7-0-0-1 record, with a .940 save percentage, a goals against average (GAA) of 1.50, and three shutouts. And in four NAPHL Dixon Cup Playoff appearances, he recorded a 3-1-0-0 record, with a .859 save percentage, and a goals against average (GAA) of 3.42.
"During the past two seasons, Connor has certainly demonstrated that he among the upper realm of elite goaltenders in the nation," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick.
"He has a perfect pulse for the goaltender position," Kosick added, "regardless of the situation, he simply does not get rattled."
Prior to joining the U18 squad, Strobel tended the nets for the U16 Esmark Stars during the 2018-19 season. During the 2018-19 NAPHL 16U season, Strobel had an overall record of 23-11-2-0, with a .913 save percentage, a goals against average (GAA) of 2.34, including five shutouts, in 35 appearances. That included a 8-6-0-0 record, with a .889 save percentage, a goals against average (GAA) of 2.36, with three shutouts, in 14 regular season and NAPHL Dixon Cup playoff appearances.
Strobel will join teammate John Camp, who also signed a tender with the Wranglers, in Amarillo for the upcoming season.
"Connor helped get my club to the USA Hockey Nationals in consecutive season," Kosick added. "He will give Amarillo a goaltender who knows what it takes to climb to the top of the mountain in a tough Southern Division."
The Wranglers, who are relocating to Amarillo from Kansas City and rebranding from the Kansas City Scouts to the Amarillo Wranglers, beginning with the '21-'22 season, will play in the eight-team NAHL South Division.
Strobel, becomes the eighth member of the 2020-2021 Esmark AAA team to sign a tender with an NAHL club, and the ninth '20-'21 Esmark player overall to sign a Junior A tender offer.
He joins teammates Nathan Dickey, goaltender, Kenai River Brown Bears; Ryder Brophy, forward, Lone Star Brahmas; Yahor Ramanau, defenseman, Wichita Warriors; Michael Felsing, forward, Minnesota Wilderness; Dominic Dezort, El Paso Rhinos; Zachary Stoner, Johnstown Tomahawks; and John Camp, forward, Amarillo Wranglers, in signing tenders with NAHL Junior A clubs for the 2021-2022 season.
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 NAPHL - plus or minus any trades - which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the 2021 NAHL Draft.