Previewing the NAPHL: Pikes Peak Miners
September 8, 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.
The Miners have gone back to their original colors of Green, Blue, Grey, and White from over 20 years ago and have changed their logo for a new look this season. Luke Fulghum begins his 2nd year as the program director for the Pikes Peak Miners. The Miners are excited to provide brand new locker rooms this season for both of their teams. The Miners have added Cliff Cook to their program's coaching staff. Cliff brings an excellent track record of development at the midget and junior levels. As an original member and 2 time NAPHL champion the Miners are excited to once again compete in the NAPHL for the 2015-16 season. Once again the Miners will provide players with an excellent environment to train and thrive as student athletes.
Pikes Peak 18U
The Miners 18 team will look to bring a high paced brand of hockey this season to the NAPHL, and the forwards will undoubtedly be a strength for this team. Up front the 18U Miners will have contributions from first and second year players alike. Returning players JP Nolette and Trevor Paradise will lead the way. Nolette is a crafty forward with an excellent shot who has been able to score at every level, while Paradise has a high-end skill set to go along with tremendous separation speed. 1998s Brendan Doyle, Ross Hanson, Ethan Daniels should make an immediate impact at the 18U level as well. Overall, the depth at forward will be a driving force for the Miners success this season.
On the back-end the Miners will strive to be consistent and poised. Gritty 1998 defenseman Calvon Boots is a strong skater who will chip-in offensively. Preston Weekes is a big, strong 1999 defenseman who plays an intelligent game. Weekes should garner a lot of attention as a 1999 playing 18U.
Goaltending this season will be an great asset for the 18s this year. There will be healthy competition for the starting job between returning 1997 Ty Bever and 1998 Jeremy Swayman from Alaska.
Greg Vanover is entering his 8th season as the Miners 18U head coach and 15th year in Tier 1 hockey. Greg has a phenomenal history of player development. Accountability, discipline, character, and hard work make up the foundation of his message. “I am excited to coach this team! I am also looking forward to working with some top notch character kids."
Pikes Peak 16U
Luke Fulghum will take the reins for his 2nd season as the Miners 16U head coach. Luke spent his midget hockey playing for the Miners nearly 20 years ago. Luke spent 3 seasons in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks and the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Luke was a part of the back-to-back NCAA title teams at the University of Denver in 2004 and 2005. Luke was fortunate to have the opportunity to play 10 seasons as a professional throughout North America and Europe. Luke brings an abundant amount of knowledge and experience to his players and the program. Luke’s passion and respect for the game is unwavering. Integrity, character, discipline, dedication, and accountability represent the foundation of his message to his players and the program.
“I am excited to get going in the NAPHL. It is truly an honor to get the chance to compete in such a phenomenal league. Year after year the NAPHL has provided excellent opportunities for our players to be seen and advance onto higher levels of hockey. I expect that the 16 team will bring an exciting style of play to the league this season. This year’s team has a nice balance of size, speed, and skill."
The Miners last season struggled to find an identity in the first couple of events in the NAPHL. In the final 3 events of NAPHL the Miners were playing an excellent brand of hockey. With a solid finish to their last 15 games the Miners climbed out of the bottom and finished 10th out of 16 teams. Last season was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the 16’s but had some great players that made an impact throughout the season. Goaltender David Fessenden was undoubtedly the Miners MVP of last season. With his tireless work ethic he was able to get better everyday. He will be returning to Blaine this September but not as a Midget. He will be playing this season for the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL. Ross Hanson was a dominant scoring threat for the 16U Miners last season, finishing in the top 5 of the NAPHL for goals. He tendered early with his hometown team the Kenai River Brown Bears.
Going into this season the Miners will look to hit the ice with a much clearer identity. The 16U team will be deeper with a lot more of AAA experience under their belt. The returners will provide excellent leadership and help guide the team to achieve their collective goals. The Miners goals for this season in the NAPHL will be to enter every game with a consistent disciplined effort and to make the playoffs with a strong regular season effort.
Returning players Noah Kiemel, Martin Pietraszek, and Nick Kiemel will lead the way this year. Noah is a big defenseman with the speed, skill, and IQ to control the ice. Nick is a tenacious power forward with an excellent shot, while Pietraszek is a big, crafty forward with breakaway speed. Connor Karo (defensemen), Luke Ciolli (forward), and goaltender Maison Balboa can be expected to contribute and should have an immediate positive impact on the Miners 16U team.
Next in Previewing the NAPHL: Pursuit of Excellence