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Jacks Roster Takes Shape at 2012 Main Camp

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July 30, 2012

 

JACKS ROSTER TAKES SHAPE AT 2012 MAIN CAMP

Over 70 skaters from around the world take part in three-day tryout camp in Dallas area.

 

GRAPEVINE, TX– In an event that officially signaled the start of year two in the North American Hockey League for the Odessa Jackalopes, over 70 skaters and goaltenders participated in the Jackalopes’ 2012 Main Tryout Camp, from July 26th to 29th at the Polar Ice House in Grapevine, TX.

Over the course of eight regulation games spread throughout four full days of on-ice sessions and a Sunday morning game featuring the top 40 players in camp, Odessa coaches, scouts, team executives and staff evaluated a diverse group of players that featured a dozen returning members of the Jacks’ 2011-12 roster and a host of players from as far off as Hungary and the Czech Republic.

For Odessa Head Coach Paul Gillis, the vast array of talent at 2012’s Main Camp was a promising sight. “I think camp went very well,” said Gillis Monday, “We had much more talent and much more depth this year, but that said, we’ve still got much more work to do…we’re going to continue to fill the gaps that we have, so our work is just beginning.”

In addition to the dozens of new faces, Odessa’s 2012 Main Camp provided Gillis and Assistant Coach Matt Cressman their first opportunity since the end of the 2011-12 season to evaluate a deep crop of returning players. “I thought all the returning players looked good,” said Gillis, “You could see that they learned a lot through their first year with us…I thought it was really positive to see.”

For many returning players, Main Camp was the first chance since the end of the season to reconnect with their teammates and coaches from a year ago. For veteran winger Ryan Doucet, camp was a welcome return to a hockey frame of mind. “It was a good feeling getting to see all your old teammates,” said Doucet Monday, “You get that feeling that the season is starting up again and I’m just excited.”

Doucet, who recently committed to play Division 1 college hockey for the Air Force Falcons starting in 2013-14, says the Jackalopes’ 2012 camp featured a number of quality newcomers. “Camp was very high paced…there were 23 or 24 good forwards out there that had a great shot at making the team,” said Doucet, “From a returning player’s perspective, I think our team has a lot of potential to go far this year.”

With the start of the 2012-13 NAHL regular season looming in mid-September at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, the next step for Odessa coaches and players is training camp, slated to begin August 27th in Odessa. Between now and then, Gillis, Cressman and Jackalopes Scouting Director Craig Sarner will whittle the roster down to 30 names, with 23 players ending up on the official roster by the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.

 

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

NAHL Announces 2012-13 Schedule

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July 1, 2012

 

NAHL ANNOUNCES 2012-13 SCHEDULE

Following Showcase, Jacks’ 60-game schedule features solely South-Division opponents.

 

FRISCO, TX– The North American Hockey League, America’s largest and oldest junior hockey league, announced its regular-season schedule for the 2012-13 campaign Friday at league headquarters in Frisco, Texas. The NAHL’s 24 teams will be broken into four Divisions, the North, South, Central and West in 2012-13 and the Odessa Jackalopes, members of the league’s South Division, will play, with the exception of the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota September 12-15, solely South Division foes in 2012-13.

Excluding the NAHL Showcase, the Jacks remaining 56 regular season games consist of twelve showdowns apiece with the Amarillo Bulls, Corpus Christi IceRays, the defending Robertson Cup champion Texas Tornado and Wichita Falls Wildcats and eight total games vs. the Topeka RoadRunners.

Odessabegins its regular season September 12-15 at the NAHL Showcase in Minnesota, then embarks on a seven-game road trip to start the season, beginning in Topeka on September 17th and concluding October 12th in Amarillo for the second of a two-game weekend series. The Jacks’ home schedule gets underway Friday and Saturday, October 26th and 27th with a pair of games against the Topeka RoadRunners at Ector County Coliseum.

After just six total games in the month of February, the Jackalopes will play a total of 13 games in March, including nine home games. Odessa’s 2012-13 regular season will culminate with a two-game weekend series in Corpus Christi, March 29th and 30th.

For a complete look at the 2012-13 NAHL regular-season schedule, please visit www.nahl.com.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.

 

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Hellebuyck Taken in 5th Round of 2012 NHL Draft

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June 23, 2012

 

HELLEBUYCK TAKEN IN 5TH ROUND OF 2012 NHL DRAFT

Jackalopes netminder, NAHL Goaltender of the Year chosen 130th overall by Winnipeg Jets.

 

PITTSBURGH, PA– After just one season as a member of the North American Hockey League, the Odessa Jackalopes have already produced an NHL Draft pick as 2011-12 Jackalopes MVP and reigning NAHL Goaltender and Rookie of the Year, Connor Hellebuyck, was selected Saturday in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft, 130th overall, by the Winnipeg Jets.

“I was literally speechless when it happened,” said Hellebuyck Saturday, “It’s surreal…I’ve had a mile-wide smile on my face since the pick, it’s still on and I can’t get it off.” Hellebuyck, who received serious interest from, by his estimation, seven to ten NHL teams in the leadup to the draft, says he had a feeling Winnipeg would end up topping his list of suitors. “I did a lot of interviews with teams, but the Jets really upped their interest in the past few days,” said Hellebuyck, “I had a pretty good inkling it’d be them.”

A Commerce, Michigan native, Hellebuyck dominated the South Division in his lone NAHL campaign, leading the league in appearances (53), minutes played (3084:37) and total saves (1695) in 2011-12 and, according to Hellebuyck, it’s that heavy workload that allowed him to blossom as a person and a player. “Playing all those games in one year is exactly what I needed,” said Hellebuyck, “The Jackalopes really gave me a chance…they set me up for success and with the amazing coaching and the support and work of the professional staff…thanks to them, I really couldn’t fail.”

 Hellebuyck’s selection is not only a major milestone in the former Jacks backstop’s playing career, but also a significant step for the entire Jackalopes organization, says Odessa General Manager Joe Clark. “Congrats to Connor…he worked very hard this season and is passionate about what he does,” said Clark Saturday, “It’s also a big day for our organization, our staff, the South Division and the NAHL…[having players drafted] makes being a part of junior hockey worthwhile and our fans should be very proud.”

With their selection, the Jets will retain Hellebuyck’s professional rights through the conclusion of his NCAA career at UMass-Lowell, therefore, Winnipeg’s selection of Hellebuyck will not impact his college eligibility or plans to suit up in Hockey East in the 2012-13 season and beyond.

Hellebuyck was the second of two NAHL players selected in the 2012 draft, behind fellow South Division goaltender, Corpus Christi’s Anthony Stolarz. The New Jersey native was taken in the second round, 45th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.

 

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —

Trio of Jackalopes Announce College Commitments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

June 15, 2012

 

TRIO OF JACKALOPES ANNOUNCE COLLEGE COMMITMENTS

Lapic, Obregon commit to Division-3 schools, Doucet headed to D-1 Air Force in 2013.

 

 

ODESSA, TX– As the team gears up for its second North American Hockey League season, the Odessa Jackalopes announced Friday that three players from Odessa’s first NAHL roster have committed to extend their hockey careers with NCAA schools, joining Connor Hellebuyck (UMass-Lowell) and Willie Faust (Army) as members of the Jackalopes’ inaugural alumni class. Forwards Josh Obregon, Darren Lapic and Ryan Doucet have all made verbal commitments, Lapic and Obregon to Gustavus Adolphus College and Johnson & Wales University, respectively, starting with the 2012-13 season and Doucet to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, beginning with the 2013-14 season.

A 6’4” winger from San Jose, California, Doucet joined the Jackalopes in early February 2012, following a trade-deadline swap with the Jacks’ NAHL South Division rivals, the Topeka RoadRunners. In 21 combined regular season and playoff games with Odessa, Doucet tallied ten goals and 15 total points to go along with a plus-five rating and a spot on the Jacks’ top line alongside leading scorers Lawrence Cornellier and Jalen Krogman. As a player at Air Force, Doucet will square off in conference play against former Odessa captain Faust and the Army Black Knights, fellow combatants of the Falcons’ in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

“I give the Jacks a lot of credit for being open to my strengths and my game,” said Doucet Friday, “Unlike other places I’d played, they let my play dictate my role, not the other way around…[the Jackalopes] gave me a chance to showcase my best assets, my size, my scoring ability, and that openness led to me making this commitment.” Doucet’s 2013 commitment means that not only will the 19 year-old power forward enter the 2012-13 season with his future plans already laid, but also that he will be returning to west Texas in July to rejoin the Jackalopes, this time as a key cog in Head Coach Paul Gillis’ offense from day one. “Ryan’s a big, strong guy and he did very well for us down the stretch last season,” said Gillis, “I really think he’s going to be a big, big part of our team next year and have a very strong season.”

Meanwhile, former Jackalopes winger Darren Lapic is returning to his home state of Minnesota to continue his playing career in St. Peter, Minnesota with the Golden Gusties of Gustavus Adolphus College. Located just 30 miles from his hometown of New Prague and a Division-3 member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), Gustavus Adolphus offered Darren not only the opportunity to take the next step in both his career and life, but also to reunite with his older brother Tyler, who will be transferring from the University of Wisconsin to play alongside Darren for Gustavus in 2012-13.

“Playing college hockey has always been my dream and to get to do that and get back into going to school and thinking about life after hockey is a great feeling,” says Lapic, “After a season in Odessa with the way the organization treated me and prepared me, I think I’m ready for it.” In his second NAHL season in 2011-12, Lapic scored six goals and earned 16 total points in 64 combined regular season and playoff games, en route to claiming the 2011-12 “Rick Gasser Ironman” Award as one of only three Odessa players to appear in every contest in the campaign.

Omaha, Nebraska native Josh Obregon is also headed for a career in Division-3 college hockey, as the high-scoring Odessa centerman has made a verbal commitment to play for Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Northeast (ECAC-NE) member Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island beginning in 2012-13. A major part of Odessa’s offensive attack following his acquisition in late November 2011 from the Corpus Christi IceRays, Obregon finished 2011-12 with more goals than any other Jackalopes player (18) and Obregon’s 31 points were the third most among Odessa skaters in the 2011-12 regular season.

“It feels so good to make my choice,” says Obregon, “Playing college hockey speaks for itself, it’s a great feeling.” A veteran of multiple junior hockey programs, Obregon credits the Jackalopes staff, professional organization and the team’s commitment to player development as major reasons he’s continuing his career in college. “The Jacks are first class…they way they treated us [players] on and off the ice and the concepts of the coaching staff…they [Head Coach Paul Gillis and Assistant Coach Matt Cressman] taught me things about hockey that I’d never known.”

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now, starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.

 

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —