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Jackalopes Tender Kyle Herbster

Odessa, TX –The Odessa Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have signed forward Kyle Herbster to a tender for the 2018-19 season. Herbster is the sixth tender the Jackalopes have signed this season.

Herbster, the native of Cary, Illinois, just finished his second year of junior hockey, playing in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League for the prior two seasons.

“I saw that last year the team had a good year and made playoffs, and that’s something I want to be apart of,” says Herbster. “I also talked with a player from the team last year, and he had nothing but good things to say about Odessa; he said I’ll love it. Also, who doesn’t want to play hockey where it’s always nice and 80 degrees most of the time?”

After playing midget hockey in Illinois for Team Illinois U16 and U18 with only 21 points in 51 games over two seasons, Herbster joined the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL.

In his first season of junior hockey, Herbster netter 17 goals and assisted on 16 more for his team in 56 games. The following season, Herbster played in only 55 games, but increased his production a total of 53 points (36-50-86). Herbster’s 86 points earned him the league’s top scorer, as well as a second-team All-Star in the NOJHL.

“I think I finally found a scoring touch,” says Herbster about his production increase. “I definitely had more confidence than I did my first year. My line mates and I clicked really well and that helped us out a bunch.”

“Kyle is a big get for us. He is a down to earth hard working kid that led his team to a league championship this season, and also won the NOJHL scoring title,” says associate head coach Cody Campbell. “He will also be entering his 3rd season of junior hockey and knows what it takes to have success individually but also, more importantly, as a group. We are really excited to have Kyle on board for next season.”

Herbster’s high production rate helped propel his team to the top record and eventual NOJHL Champions. They made it all the way to the Dudley Hewitt Cup before the team lost in the round robin.

“I want to bring what I learned from last years experience to the Jacks. There’s a difference between the regular season and postseason, and I hope that from what I learned, I can share it with the other guys. I especially want to share it with guys in their first year or their first time in the postseason to help us make a run at the championship.”

Herbster joins Martin Pietraszek, Matt Hutton, Cade Roberts, Rex Moe, and Connor Smith as the other Jackalopes tenders who look to break through with the team for next 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 plus or minus any trades, which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft, which will be held on June 5, 2018.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Blake Bride Commits to Air Force Academy

Odessa, TX – Following an outstanding season where he led the Jackalopes in goals, Blake Bride has committed to play collegiate hockey for Air Force Academy, joining Zac Herrmann and linemates Matt Brown and Eric Huss as Division I commits.

“You can’t go wrong with Air Force and everything they have to offer,” says Bride. “It’s a smaller school that offers amazing academics. They have an amazing hockey team too. Not only does the Air Force let me play division 1 hockey, it also will set me up for an amazing future. The opportunities you get after graduating from the Air Force are like nothing else.”

The native of Broomfield, Colorado began the season with the Minnesota Wilderness where he put up only one goal while assisting on five more. Following the NAHL Showcase in Blaine at the beginning of the season, Bride was acquired from Minnesota to play in Odessa. While with the Jacks, Bride scored 22 more times to lead the team, while also putting up 25 assists. Bride finished the season second on the Jackalopes roster with 53 points in 55 games.

“Blake absolutely earned everything he achieved this year,” says associate head coach Cody Campbell. “We traded for him with the hopes that he would provide some offense this season and break out next season. He completely exceeded our expectations and that is largely impart to how hard he works. He became one of our most reliable forwards offensively and defensively. The Air Force Academy is getting a heck of a player and person, and we couldn’t be happier for Blake and his family”

Bride is a ’98 birth year who made the Wilderness roster out of main camp. Bride’s work ethic and mentality to lay it all on the line fits Air Force’s scheme perfectly. Blake is one of those players that is winning to drive to the net and dive in front of an opponent’s shot at all costs to prevent a shot on goal.

“I was always the smallest and lightest kid on every team I played for,” says Bride. “I’ve had to prove myself my whole life in order to standout. For me, I learned to give it everything I got. I need to be the guy that will block a shot and take a hit to make a play. I just want to prove to everyone it’s not about your height or weight, it’s about how much work your willing to put into it and how much you love the game.”

With the commitment, Bride becomes the fourth Jackalope to commit to Air Force, and he will become teammates with Pierce Pluemer and Jake Levin.

Season tickets for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

 Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Jackalopes Tender Connor Smith

Odessa, TX –The Odessa Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have signed forward Connor Smith to a tender for the 2018-19 season. Smith is the fifth tender the Jackalopes have signed this season.

Smith, the native of Pickney, Michigan, just finished his second year of junior hockey, playing in Canadian leagues for the prior two seasons.

“I needed to do what was best for me, and Odessa was a better team in a better league. It is just overall a better option for me, so when the opportunity came I knew I had to do what was best for me,” says Smith. “Signing a tender with Odessa was what is best for everyone involved. I visited Odessa after my season ended to see what it was like, and I joined the guys on a road trip. They made me feel welcome and like I was a part of the team. That was a big factor in my decision to sign with Jacks.”

Following four years of hockey at Pickney High School where he picked up 114 goals and 69 assists in 105 games, Smith joined the Three River Falls Norskies in the SIJHL. In one season with the Norskies, Smith scored 24 times in 53 games while assisting on 14 goals as well.

After one year in the SIJHL, Smith swapped Canadian leagues to the SJHL where he joined the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Despite his team ranking last in the league, Smith was a bright spot, netting 21 goals on the year, ranking in the Top-20 scorers in the SJHL.

“Connor is a long rangy kid that can absolutely fire the puck,” says associate head coach Cody Campbell. “He has been a goal scorer his whole life and with two years of junior hockey under his belt, we expect him to come in and produce for us right away.”

Smith has always been a scorer, tallying 20 or more goals in each of the past four seasons. While he has a quick shot and pinpoint accuracy, his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame can be intimidating as well.

“Since I was a kid I’ve always had a rink in my backyard to skate on,” says Smith. “In the summers I would play roller hockey out in the back yard and as soon as it was cold enough, my dad would make an ice rink for me and my brother. I’ve always had opportunity to skate whenever I wanted, and it has definitely helped me the develop the ability to score.”

Smith gives the Jackalopes a pure scorer that can help elevate the game of everyone else on the team. Smith joins Martin Pietraszek, Matt Hutton, Cade Roberts, and Rex Moe as the other Jackalopes tenders who look to break through with the team for next 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 plus or minus any trades, which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft, which will be held on June 5, 2018.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Eric Huss Commits to Army West Point

Odessa, TX – Days after being named to the South All-Rookie Team, Eric Huss committed to play college hockey for Army-West Point, joining Zac Herrmann and linemate Matt Brown as Division I commits.

“For me, education is huge and West Point’s education, along with their hockey program, is phenomenal,” says Huss. “Their facilities are some of the best in the world, and for me, it was just a great fit.”

The native of Dallas, Texas picked up six goals on the year while assisting on 16 as well. Huss had some milestone goals for Odessa this year, including the first goal of the season and the goal to start the teddy bear toss in December.

“Eric kept getting better all year long,” says head coach Greg Gatto. “He wasn’t drafted or tendered, so he had a lot to work for. He made our team out of camp because he wanted it and he was willing to work for it. He impressed everybody involved.”

Huss is a ’99 birth year who was passed on by teams this summer before joining the Jackalopes out of main camp. The first-year forward worked hard this year, but found himself in and out of the lineup throughout November. He worked his way from a fourth line grinder to a first-line worker throughout the course of the season.

“Growing up, my parents always emphasized hard work,” explains Huss. “For me, I learned a lot from that. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder, whether it was being un-drafted this year or being undersized when I was younger. Facing those obstacles instilled the value of work ethic.”

As a ’99 birth year, Huss still have two more years of junior hockey eligibility before aging out.

With the commitment, Huss becomes the first Jackalope to commit this year, and the third Jackalope to commit to Army.

Season tickets for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Two Jacks Named to All-South Team

Odessa, TX– Ricky Carballo and Zac Herrmann were named to the All-South Division Team on Tuesday afternoon. This is only the second time two Jackalopes have been named to the All-South Team in the same season.

“The south division is full of a lot great players so it’s an honor to be selected to the All-South team,” says Carballo. “I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough for all the help they have given me this past year.”

The native of Keller, Texas posted 56 points in 59 games throughout the 2016-17 campaign between the Aberdeen Wings and Odessa Jackalopes. Carballo was acquired from Aberdeen on November 20th, where he found a home again, picking up 45 points in 39 games in Odessa the second half of the year while tying for the league-lead with six game-winning goals.

“Carballo helped us to close out games in the late parts of the third period,” says head coach Greg Gatto. “He’s a two-year veteran in the south division who understands how to play and get the best out of it. Ricky knows how to put the puck in the net. There’s a reason he led our team in points when it was all said and done.”

Herrmann finished his final season of junior hockey in grand fashion as well. Herrmann was the 4thhighest scoring defenseman in the entire league, racking up 40 points (9 goals, 31 assists). Herrmann started the season as the best defenseman in the league, picking up 10 points in November to be named the Defenseman of the Month, and he finished the season with three assists in three playoff games.

“Zac is a leader for us. We gave him an “A” before the season and he did not disappoint,” says Gatto. “When it came down to it, he’s the guy you want on the ice in any pressure situation. He moves so smoothly and always makes a good play with the puck. He’s the type of player young defensemen should look at in junior hockey.”

Carballo and Herrmann are the sixth and seventh Jackalopes players to earn the honor of All-South Division. Chase joins Connor Hellebuyck (goalie, 2011-12), Kenny Hausinger (forward, 2014-15), Hampus Sjodahl (forward, 2015-16), Daniel Kiraly (defenseman, 2015-16), and Chase Thudium (forward, 2016-17).

Season tickets for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Huss Named to South All-Rookie Team

Odessa, TX– After a slow start to the season, forward Eric Huss picked up his production in the second half of the season to earn himself a spot on the NAHL South All-Rookie Team.

“It was definitely a surprise as well as an honor to be named to this team. There is a ton of talent in the South Division,” says Huss. “The coaching staff really helped me develop as a player, and I owe a lot to them. Coming in as a first year guy, I didn’t know what to expect, but the veterans took the time to show me the ropes and what it takes to be successful in junior hockey. I am very grateful for that.”

The native of Dallas, TX scored the first goal of the season for the Jackalopes, but cooled off until the second half, when his production increased immensely. Through the first 30 games of the season, Huss scored three times and assisted on three more. Since coming back from the Christmas break in December, he racked up 16 of his 22 totals points in the final 30 games, becoming an everyday player for Odessa.

Huss’s work ethic was what helped propel him into the south all-rookie honors. As good of a player on the ice as he is, it all started off the ice when he got into shape to become a next-level hockey player. Huss is now one of the player’s that will go to the dirty areas of the ice and grind his way in front of the net until he his rewarded for his efforts.

“Eric was a great surprise for us,” says head coach Greg Gatto. “He started from the bottom as a fourth-line worker, and made his way to a first-line worker. He found his spot playing top-six minutes with [Blake] Bride and [Matt] Brown, and it obviously worked for him.”

Huss’s honor marks the sixth time a Jackalopes’ player has been named to the South All-Rookie Team, joining players like Connor Hellebuyck (goalie, 2011-12), Christian (defenseman, 2014-15) and Kenny Hausinger (forward, 2014-15), Cooper Zech (defenseman, 2015-16), and Nick Wilson (defenseman, 2016-17).

Season tickets for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Game-Tying Goal Waved Off for Odessa; Brahmas Take 2-0 Series Lead

 North Richland Hill, TX – A game-tying goal was waved off midway through the third as the Odessa Jackalopes (0-2-0-0) dropped the second straight game to the Lone Star Brahmas (2-0-0-0) at the Nytex Sports Centre. The Jackalopes find themselves down two games before returning home next weekend.

The Brahmas got on the board first after Michael Montambault one-timed a shot between the circles for the early lead in the second period.

Odessa would get one back early in the third as Evan Somoza sniped one past Mitchell Gibson’s glove-side for the tie game. Only 1:50 into the third period, Ricky Carballo helped to break three across the goal line before the rink-wide pass found Somoza, who found the back of the net.

Only 24 seconds later, the Brahmas’ Aiden Spellacy regained the lead for Lone Star on an open back door with no backside help. The Jackalopes tied the game midway through the third period, but the linesman would wave it off calling the play offside on a 50/50 puck.

Mitchell Gibson closed off the game with 18 saves in a win for Lone Star, while Brett Epp stopped an outstanding 33 attempts in the loss.

Odessa returns home next weekend on April 20thfor game three against the Lone Star Brahmas, looking to keep the series alive at home.

The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes single game playoff tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or hop on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Jackalopes Drop Game 1 of Playoffs 3-1

North Richland Hills, TX – Despite the first goal of the night, the Odessa Jackalopes (0-1-0-0) couldn’t fend off the Lone Star Brahmas (1-0-0-0) on Friday night at the Nytex Sports Centre. The Brahmas lead the first round series 1-0 after the victory on home ice.

After about ten minute of Lone Star momentum, an undisciplined penalty from Aiden Spellacy led to the Jackalopes first power play of the night. After roughly ten shots in a 30 second span, Matt Brown is finally able to break through for Odessa, giving them the lone goal in the first 20 minutes.

The Brahmas would get one back midway through the second period on a tough angle shot as it escaped Alex Camarre to tie the game at one.

Lone Star would take the 2-1 lead just under halfway in the third period as Justin Addamo burries a backhander by going bar down on Camarre. Kyle Hallbauer iced the game with an empty netted goal with only 19 second remaining.

Alex Camarre made 25 saves in the loss, while Mitchell Gibson blocked 34 shots from Odessa in the victory. Odessa’s special teams was spectacular again, going 1/2 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill.

The Jacks return to action Saturday night in hopes of evening the series at one game a piece before heading back home for a game next Friday, April 20that the Ector County Coliseum.

The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes single game playoff tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or hop on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Jackalopes Prepare For Playoffs Against Brahmas

Odessa, TX – The 2018 NAHL South Divisional Playoffs are right around the corner as the Odessa Jackalopes will travel to North Richland Hills to take on the Lone Star Brahmas in a best of five series starting this Friday and Saturday, April 13thand 14th. It will only be the third time since making the move to junior hockey in 2011 that Odessa will see postseason action.

The Jackalopes finished the regular season in 3rdplace in the south, setting single-season team records for wins (33), points (71), and win percentage (.592%). Odessa has built some momentum heading into the playoffs, winning their last three in pretty grand fashion. After shutting out the IceRays, Odessa won their first two games in regulation against the top-seeded Shreveport Mudbugs to sweep the final regular season weekend of the year.

Odessa is led by the tandem of Alex Camarre and Brett Epp in net, posting very similar numbers through 31 appearances each. Ricky Carballo finished the regular season as the points-leader for the Jackalopes with 56 points after being acquired from the Aberdeen Wings on November 20th. Ricky also gained the most assists by helping on 36 goals. Blake Bride finished the season second on the Jacks with 53 points, and also led the team in goals with 23.

Lone Star had a good run, making the finish for first closer than anyone anticipated. Thanks to a stretch that included no regulation losses in their last 15 games, and 14 of those being wins, the Brahmas finished the season at 86 points as the third-best team in the league. Mitchell Gibson has been the go-to goaltender for the Brahmas this season, appearing in over 70% of the games played and tying the single-season shutout mark (11) this past weekend. All three of their top scorers were acquired beyond the start of the season, as Jon Russell leads the way with 48 points and 31 goals.

The Jackalopes have only won one playoff game in their junior hockey history, beating Amarillo 5-1 in the inaugural junior hockey season. Lone Star, on the other hand, has faired well in the playoffs, including being the reigning Robertson Cup Champions.

On Wednesday, April 11th, the Jacks will host a sendoff for the team in the lobby of the Ector County Coliseum before they head off to take on the Brahmas. To attend the sendoff, you must be a current season ticket holder.

If you would like to sign up for season tickets for next season already, please contact the Jackalopes office at 432-552-7825. The early signup and early renewal period ends May 1st.

The Jacks will return home on April 20thfor game 3 of the playoffs. Odessa is offering a special ticket price for that game if you purchase online. When checking out, input promo code “playoffhockey” for a $5 ticket (plus service fees) in the main and prime sections.

First Round Schedule:
#2 Lone Star Brahmas vs. #3 Odessa Jackalopes
Game 1: Friday, April 13 @ Lone Star, 7:30pm
Game 2: Saturday, April 14 @ Lone Star, 7:30pm
Game 3: Friday, April 20 @ Odessa, 7:11pm
Game 4: Saturday, April 21 @ Odessa, 7:11pm*
Game 5: Monday, April 23 @ Lone Star, 7:00pm*
*if necessary

The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes single game playoff tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or hop on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

5 Goals and Great Goaltending Cap Off Jackalopes Regular Season Finale

Odessa, TX – Dylan Johnson netted two shorthanded goals to lead the Odessa Jackalopes (33-22-3-2) over the Shreveport Mudbugs (41-12-3-4) by a score of 5-2 on Saturday night. Saturday was the final regular season game of the season for both of these teams.

Matt Brown kicked the scoring off halfway through the second period to give the Jacks a 1-0 lead. Brown carried the puck coast-to-coast, threaded the needle between two defenders, and snapped a shot past the glove hand of Gustavs Grigals to gain the advantage.

Halfway through the second period, the Jackalopes found themselves shorthanded, but it didn’t matter. Dylan Johnson and Zac Herrmann joined forces to net two shorthanded goals, expanding the lead to three. Viktor Johansson added one on a power play to increase the lead to 4, as the three goals came within 2:22 of one another.

Shreveport would find their way on the score sheet after a questionable penalty as Cam Cook netted the only two goals for Shreveport on the night.

Cook’s goals were sandwiched by another shorthanded goal for Dylan Johnson, his second of the contest. With roughly 3 ½ minutes remaining, Shreveport headed to the man advantage where head coach Karlis Zirnis pulled his goaltender to try and give his team a chance with the extra man. Johnson blocked a shot at the blue line and skate down for the empty net goal while shorthanded, sealing the deal for Odessa.

Alex Cammare made big save after big save as he stopped 45 attempts from the Mudbugs on the night to earn his 18th win of the season, tying Jonny Hogue (‘17-‘18) for second most in a single-season. Gustavs Grigals started the game for Shreveport, but he was pulled after giving up the third goal, stopping only 11 shots to take the loss. Jaxon Castor stopped 11 of his own in relief.

The regular season may be over, but the Jackalopes don’t miss a step as they head to North Richland Hills to take on the Lone Star Brahmas in the first round of the 2018 NAHL South Divisional Playoffs. Visit the Brahmas website or call their office to buy tickets for next weekend’s contests. The Jacks return home on April 20th to take on the Brahmas in game 3 of 5 in the series.

The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes single game playoff tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or hop on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Also, be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter and Facebook (@LetsGoJacks), Instagram (odessajackalopes), and add us on Snapchat (odessajacks) all year long.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —