ODESSA, TX (MAY 4) – The Odessa Jackalopes 2015-16 season will go down as one of the best in team history. An early playoff exit is a lone blemish on what was a fantastic campaign. A record ten players on the Jackalopes final roster were committed to NCAA Division I programs; Odessa made the playoffs for the first time in four years, and multiple single-season Jackalopes records were shattered.
Road Warriors: The Jacks won more road games in 2015-16 then they had ever before (12-17-1) in a single season. Including wins in Amarillo for the first time in the regualar-season, a win in Lone Star for the first since October 26, 2013, four wins in Corpus and the first since January 17, 2014, and a win in Topeka for the first time since November 23, 2013. The Jacks also won 3-of-4 games in Blaine, MN for the NAHL Showcase, a franchise high.
King Hampus: Jacks center-man Hampus Sjodahl, who was voted the Jacks 'Bill & Tracy Nyborg – MVP Award', turned in the best individual season in Jacks team history. The 20-year set single-season franchise records in goals (35), points (69), and plus-minus (+16). Sjodahl was one of four Jacks who made a mid-season Division I commitment by committing to Bemidji State University (WCHA) and ended the season 2nd in the league in goals and 3rd in points. Sjodahl was also named South Division MVP/Top Forward and named to the NAHL All-League Team.
Brown’s Town: Third-year Jack Derek Brown ended his junior career by setting an Odessa single-season franchise record with 50 assists. Brown goes down as Odessa all-time leader in assists (88) and points (128) and second in games played (168). Brown will forgo his final year of junior hockey to begin his college career at Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey) next season. Brown’s point streak of 16-games went down as the leagues longest of the year and the longest in Jacks history. Brown finished the season 5th in the league in points (14-50-64).
Master McLean: Jacks third-year d-man Drew McLean will end his Jackalopes career as the organization's all-time leader in games played (169) and penalty minutes (310). McLean will also go down as the clubs all-time leader in assists (42) and points (55) among defenseman.
Rising Rookie: First-year Jack Cooper Zech was one of Odessa’s most consistent players all year despite being its youngest. The South Lyon, MI, native committed to Alaska-Fairbanks (WCHA, D1) in January and completed his impressive rookie campaign by being named a NAHL All-Rookie team member. Zech was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 Phase II USHL Draft by the Bloomington Thunder.
Rivalry Renewed: The Jacks and Amarillo Bulls long-standing rivalry was pretty lopsided in favor of Amarillo since Odessa joined the junior ranks in 2011. Before 2015-16, Odessa was just 2-33-2 all-time against the Bulls and had never won at the Amarillo Civic Center in regular season in team history, but that all changed this season; Odessa went 8-3-1 against the Bulls in 12 games including four wins at the Amarillo Civic Center.
Farewell Tour: The Jacks will say goodbye to 11 players. Nate Werhane, 21, raps up his Jackalopes career having played 61 games, totaling three goals four assist and 117 penalties minutes (PIM). Danny Kiraly, 20, will play Division I hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (WCHA) next season and ends his Jacks career as the team's single-season scoring leader among defenseman (12-28-40), appearing in 90 games over two seasons with Odessa. Derek Brown, 19, will play Division I hockey at Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey) next year and ends his Jacks career as the team's all-time leader in assists (88) and points (128) in 168 games played over three seasons. Ben DiMaio, 20, who was traded for mid-season, appeared in 32 games with the Jacks totaling four points (0-4-4) and will continue his hockey career next year at Division I Dartmouth College (ECACHL). Matt Rypien, 20, concluded his final year of junior hockey in the NAHL after playing his first two in the AJHL with the Calgary Canucks. Rypien scored four goals and tacked on eight assists in 53 games played with 92 penalty minutes (PIM). Drew McLean, 21, ends his Jacks career as the team’s all-time leader in games played (169) and penalty minutes (310). McLean played 57 games this season scoring five goals, 22 assists with a plus-six rating and 108 penalty minutes (PIM). Gray Marr, 21, was a key cog on the top line appearing in all 60 games totally 51 points (16-35-51) and a plus-three rating. Hampus Sjodahl, 20, will go down as one of the greatest of all-time to don the Jackalopes sweater. Sjodahl will head to Bemidji State (WCHA) next season after ending his Jacks career having played 115 games, scoring 54 goals and 49 assists in two seasons. Dean Shatzer leaves for college after one season with the Jacks, forgoing his final year of junior eligibility. The Dartmouth (ECACHL) commit appeared in 37 games going 13-15-3 with a 3.23 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. Last, Brennen Miller, 20, was acquired via trade mid-season and appeared in 34 games tallying nine goals, ten assists, and a plus-one rating.
Derek Brown – Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Oliver Celec – Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Ben DiMaio – Dartmouth College (ECACHL, D1)
Daniel Kiraly – University of Alaska-Fairbanks (WCHA, D1)
Jake Levin – Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Pierce Pluemer – Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Jon Russell – Harvard University (ECACHL, D1)
Dean Shatzer – Darmouth College (ECACHL, D1)
Hampus Sjodahl – Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1)
Connor Wood – University of Alabama-Huntsville (WCHA, D1)
Cooper Zech – University of Alaska-Fairbanks (WCHA, D1)
2016-17 season tickets are on sale now and start as low as $179. Contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.
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