NAPHL alumni make history in the NAHL in October
November 5, 2013
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) reached a unique milestone earlier this week as three former alumni, Alec Butcher, Josh Bretner and Collin Delia, were named as the three players honored by the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in their Player of the month awards for the month of October. It marks the first time in NAHL history that all three winners during the same month were alumni of the NAPHL.
“We are fortunate to be able to see the NAHL relationship with the NAPHL grow and become stronger each and every year,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “This great accomplishment by these players gives us something to point to and tell the ladder of development story a little louder to the rest of the hockey community.”
The NAHL honored Kenai River Brown Bears forward Alec Butcher as its Forward of the Month for October. Prior to his arrival in Kenai River, Butcher played in the NAPHL during the 2011-12 season for the Pikes Peak Miners 18U team. During that season, Butcher was selected to the All-NAPHL 1st team as he led the 18U Division in goals and points that season, and ultimately signed a tender with Kenai River.
The native of Anchorage, Alaska, led the Brown Bears to a perfect record during the month and help them climb to the top of the Midwest Division standings. In seven games, Butcher had 11 points, which included four goals and seven assists. He was also a remarkable +10 during the month, showing his attention to detail at both ends of the ice. Butcher had multi-point games in four of the seven outings and recorded at least a point in six of the seven contests. For the season, Butcher leads the NAHL in scoring with 23 points.
“The NAPHL was a really good league and the first place I really was introduced to the level of speed and physicality it takes to keep up in the league like the NAHL,” said Butcher. “I think I am a perfect example of a kid who worked hard during my time in the NAPHL and never gave up that dream of playing junior hockey and great things have happened for me since. I think the NAPHL is as good of a league as any to provide exposure and opportunity for the players.”
The NAHL next honored Austin Bruins defenseman Josh Bretner as its Defenseman of the Month for October. Prior to his arrival in the NAHL, where he is now in his third season, Bretner played two years in the NAPHL, first for Team Maryland in the inaugural 2009-10 season and again for the DC Capitals during the 2010-11 season. During the 2010-11 season, Bretner helped the Capitals capture the NAPHL 18U Championship and was named to the All-NAPHL 2nd team that season.
The native of North Potomac, Maryland not only proved himself from the defensive side of things with a +5 rating during the month, but he also was a key ingredient in the offensive success of the Bruins. During October, the Bruins went 5-2 and Brenter recorded eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in those seven games. Bretner’s 15 points to date is third on the Bruins roster in scoring and ranks 2nd among all NAHL defensemen. His +12 rating to date is also second best among NAHL defensemen.
“We had some memorable season and good teams during my two years of playing in the NAPHL. The league had a lot of really good players compared to what we were used to prior to that,” said Bretner. “It was also good to branch out and play against teams from across the United States. You got to see what was out there without having to travel across the country. It was a fantastic stepping stone in my preparation for the NAHL.”
Finally, the NAHL honored Amarillo Bulls goaltender Collin Delia as its Goaltender of the Month for October. Now is his second full season with the Bulls, Delia played in the NAPHL prior to arriving in Amarillo both during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. During the 2010-11 season, he played for the California Titans 18U club towards the end of the season and during the 2011-12 season, he played for the Orange County Hockey Club (now Anaheim Jr. Ducks) 18U team.
Delia is currently the top goaltender in the NAHL and his month of October was a big reason why. Delia went a perfect 4-0 and allowed just two goals in 243+ minutes of action. His goals against average during the month was a miniscule .49 and his save percentage was 98.1%. Delia’s .93 goals against average and 96.5% save percentage both currently lead in the NAHL.
“I think the NAPHL is a great breeding ground for future junior hockey players because it is so competitive. You went into every game knowing that it would probably be a battle,” said Delia. “A lot of my former NAPHL teammates who are now at the next levels of hockey and it is cool to stay in touch with them and follow their progress. We all have that NAPHL experience in common and it is great to see so many of them having success in their hockey careers.”