Previewing the NAPHL: Arizona Bobcats
August 21, 2015
Over the course of the next two weeks, the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) is proud to feature a new series that will preview each of the 38 teams in the NAPHL for the 2015-16 season. Each day, leading all the way up to the first event of the season at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN, the league will feature a different organization and take a look at both their teams.
Arizona Bobcats 16U
The Arizona Bobcats will enter their second year with the NAPHL. Last year, the Bobcats 16U team finished 3rd overall in the NAPHL standings, and had a record of 27-16-3 on their overall season. 2015-16 is an exciting year for the Bobcats as they enter a new era in managing their own Tier 1 program and everyone involved is looking forward to a bright future.
Head Coach Pat Mahan has been with the Bobcats program since its inception, and has been an enormous influence on many of the club’s all time great players including: projected #1 NHL Draft pick in 2016 Auston Matthews, Christian Cakebread, Matt Jones, Micheal Mahan and Jake Durflinger, to name a few. Pat has proven to be a great bench boss and solid example for his players for the past ten years.
There should be a lot of chemistry on this season's Bobcats 16U team as the majority players on the roster have been with the club for a few years. Four of the players were on last year’s 16U team and the remaining players represented the 15U team. With a veteran team comprised of 19 second-year midget minor players, and one 2000-born player who is a WHL draft pick, there are high expectations for the Bobcats entering 2015-16.
The Bobcats defensive core could be the team's primary strength anchored by defensemen Hunter Cook, Jeremy Massella, and Brendan Winslow, and goaltender Ethan Middendorf between the pipes. Diguilio, Watts, Oliver and Edwards should lead the Bobcats offensively while defensive specialists Beneduce and Kirkpatrick will ensure stability at both ends.
“I have watched this group grow for the past four years, it will be a pleasure to support them an additional season” said Ron Filion, Program Director.
Arizona Bobcats 18U
The Arizona Bobcats will enter their second year with the NAPHL. Last year was a rough one for the 18U group; therefore, some changes needed to be implemented. The Bobcats restructuring began by hiring Brent Cough as the new Head Coach. Brent has spent the past five years coaching and as assistant general manager in the BCHL. Under his leadership, many players have moved on to play NCAA Division I hockey. He is bringing knowledge, experience and a vast contact database to help the Bobcats graduates reach the next level.
The second move in retooling the Bobcats 18U team was to rebuild the roster, which now comprises a solid conglomerate of 1997 and 1998 birth-year players: Jared Sanchez, Tanner Paterno and Clayton Lackey will lead the way on offense, while Josh Lindsey and Zach Kowalchuk will manage the defensive zone.
"I am confident that we will have a very solid hockey club shortly after our season commences,” remarked Program Director, Ron Filion.