Tag Archives: Tender

Knights Trade for Tendered Defenseman, Jordan Strand

Shortly after their 2017-18 season came to a close, the Knights made a trade for 2018-19, acquiring tendered defenseman Jordan Strand in a trade with the Chippewa Steel (formerly the Coulee Region Chill).

The 19-year old spent most of 2017-18 as a key presence for a Sioux Falls JR. Stampede U18 team that went to the NAPHL’s playoffs this past February. After a regular season that saw him record a goal and eight assists in 15 games, Strand produced at a point-per-game rate on the biggest stage, scoring two goals and four points in four playoff games. Offense however, is his not his primary focus.

“I’m more towards a two-way defenseman, he said. “I take care of the d-zone first. That’s my main goal; to shut down the other team’s top line and then chip in on the offense too. I go into every game with the mentality that I really, really enjoy playing the good teams and shutting down their top players. Coming from Minnesota high school hockey, we had a bunch of top-notch players and that was my favorite thing. Going against these guys that get drafted in the NHL or are going division one, and I go against those guys and shut them down. When I’m on the ice, I just want to make sure those top guys don’t get points. For the offensive side, I guess I go into every game hoping to get a point or at least help my buddy or my line mate get a point, but I like to be a shutdown d, that’s my main thing.”

“Jordan is a steady shutdown defenseman that has the ability to log big minutes on the back-end,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “We are excited to add Jordan to the right side of our defensive core.”

Strand has already had a taste of NAHL hockey, after playing a pair of games with the Minot Minotauros in 2017-18.

“Last year I was kind of going in blind,” he said. “I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. From my high school, I’m one of the first players to go on to play junior in quite some time. Now I know what I’m getting into. Playing in Sioux Falls this past year has gotten me way more prepared to go into it. Seeing the NAHL practices with Minot, playing in games, you realize how fast it is. That’s prepared me for this offseason training and going into next season.”

So what does the Cottage Grove, Minnesota native know about a junior hockey team from Pennsylvania? The Knights most recent trip to the State of Hockey grabbed his attention.

“I heard a little bit,” he said of the Knights. “The teams that made it to the Robertson Cup final four, I was looking up. Being with Minot, I knew about Wilkes-Barre. I knew that they were a good team, a talented team. I didn’t know about the coaching staff, or where they were located, before I was traded, but I knew they were good.”

“Nowadays you can’t have enough skill on the blue-line,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We wanted to add a player with Jordan’s ability to play good defense in his own zone, while also having the ability to transition into a playmaker up the ice. Bringing him into the fold helps not only our defensive depth, but continues to add versatility to our team as a whole. It was an easy trade to make.”

In trading for Strand, the Knights believe the benefits extend beyond just the ice. A former captain for Park High School, Strand leads by example.

“I’m not really a big talker, I like to show it on the ice,” he said. “That’s my big thing, my work ethic. I like to go in and try to motivate guys on my team to work harder because of my work ethic. I do less talking and more working. Some guys are good at the talking part, but I’m more of the work-hard, guys notice it, and then they work hard as well.”

With the opportunity to secure a place on an NAHL roster, Strand is motivated to achieve not only his personal ambitions, but to help continue the Knights ascent, heading into their fourth season in the NAHL.

“Team goals-obviously you want to go to the Robertson Cup and win the Robertson Cup. That’s my big thing, I love winning. Coming from a team this past year that made it to nationals for U18 and made it a good, successful year. I really loved it. I want more, so I’m hoping to win that Robertson Cup. Personally, I want to start talking to colleges. Get a college offer, and if that doesn’t come this next year, than the year after. I’d also like to get 30 points or so this year, play on the power play, be a good team player. That’s my goal.”

The Knights will get their first chance to see Strand at their rink, when the organization holds their main camp on July 20th at the Revolution Ice Centre. Strand will have the opportunity to make a team that shares his aspirations of winning a Robertson Cup.

“I’m just really looking forward to it,” said Strand. “I’ve heard really good things about the coaching staff, really good things about Wilkes-Barre. I’m really excited to get out there and get going.”

Jason Stachelbeck Signs Tender with Knights

Last week, the Knights added another member to their tender class following forward Jason Stachelbeck’s signing of a 2018-19 tender. A native of Brampton Ontario, Stachelbeck played last season in the OJHL where he split 52 games between the Aurora Tigers and Whitby Fury.

“Jason is a power forward with a terrific skill-set,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “He has experience at the junior A level and we are excited to add him to our group of forwards.”

“I like to think I’m a power forward,” said Stachelbeck. “I have a good shot and pretty good hands around the net and I’m pretty good at making plays. I bring some energy. Hopefully a couple of big hits every game to get the boys fired up, some goals scored, and putting up some points with my teammates.”

The right-handed forward was adept at both scoring and making plays last season, recording 24 goals and 11 assists in 2017-18.

“Jason is a player that checks a lot of our boxes,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We like to have a good blend of size and skill in our forward group and he has both. His  previous experience playing junior hockey in Canada should help him adjust. We’re excited to bring him into camp to see how he can help our team.”

After playing over 100 games of junior hockey in Canada, the right-handed shot is ready and eager to make the move to the NAHL.

“I heard the NAHL’s a good league and that it’s high-paced,” he said. “Obviously I want to do well with the team, but I’m also looking to get a scholarship this year. I’m looking to put up quite a few points if I can. I’m looking to go far in the playoffs and hopefully win a championship. I’m looking forward to getting started. I think I’ll do well there.”

The Knights recent run to the final four of the Robertson Cup Playoffs is the new standard in the organization. Stachelbeck took notice of the team’s efforts this past spring, and it helped bring him around to the idea of signing a tender with the Knights.

“It just struck me as a good organization,” he said. “I saw they did really well last year, and that there was good coaching there. That really sold me on coming to the team.”

Stachelbeck will have his chance to join the Knights cause this July at Main Camp, which is set to kick off on July 20th at the Revolution Ice Centre. To stay up to date on all Knights tender signings click here.

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Dawson Bradford Signs Tender with Knights

The Knights added another player to their offseason roster last week with forward Dawson Bradford agreeing to a tender for the 2018-19 season. Bradford is a prospect from the Dallas Stars U16 program out of the T1EHL. The Stars are the same program that produced Knights veterans Reed Robinson and Lincoln Hatten, along with William Otwell, a Knights draft pick last Tuesday, a teammate of Bradford’s.

“We have some really great players, and they do a great job bringing in guys early at the 14, 15, and 16-year old levels,” said Bradford of the Stars program. “I’ve had really great coaches here, and they’ve come in and have really helped me develop. Everything about Dallas is about hockey, and they continue to bring in some really talented players.”

Bradford is no exception.

“Dawson plays a very heavy game, especially for a player that is on the smaller side,” said Knights assistant GM Justin Schreiber. “He is one of those guys you hate to play against.”

“I’d say I play tough and hard,” said the forward who has recorded 24 goals and 37 assists over the course of his last 65 regular-season games. “I’m not the biggest guy-I’m pushing 5-9, 160 pounds. I try to play bigger than I am. I like to play a rough game, get in front of the net, get in the corners and battle out, throw the body around and try to be a presence out there that’s hard to play against.”

“He plays a hard-nosed North-South style and is able to fill multiple roles throughout a lineup,” added Schreiber. “We are excited to add a player of Dawson’s ability to our organization.”

A native of Flower Mound, Texas, a town just outside of Dallas, Bradford is no stranger to the Knights.

“I really started gaining interest in the Knights with Coach Kowal coming down to Top Notch in Dallas the last few years,” said Bradford. “One of my good buddies and former teammates is Lincoln Hatten, who’s already on the Knights. I’ve stayed in touch with him. He’s told me how it’s been there-we hang out when he’s back-he said it was awesome. You get to go up there and really get the junior hockey experience. I’ve really heard nothing but great things.”

“There’s a lot of good hockey players that come out of the Stars program,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We’re happy to have had a few on our roster over the years. We’ve seen enough of Dawson to know that he’s a guy that shares a lot of traits we look for in our players. He’s a younger guy, but he plays with the toughness and tenacity needed in our league.”

With Bradford comes the aforementioned William Otwell, a Knights fourth-round pick in the 2018 NAHL draft. The pair combined for 25 goals and 41 assists in 2017-18 for the Stars U16 team.

“He’s actually one of my closest buddies on the team,” said Bradford. “We’re always hanging out. We skate together during the week and workout on the other days. We talked about it. We’re both super-excited. Once Coach Kowal offered me the tender and I accepted it, I knew he was talking to Will at the same time, telling him he had some potential draft interest in him. Once he got picked it was a pretty cool thing. We’re actually going to be coming up to camp together. I think it’s pretty cool, especially if we make it on the same team, to have that familiar face to start with.”

“As an organization, we make it a priority to move our players onto college and higher levels of hockey,” said Kowal. “We  jump at the chance to bring in guys who might be younger and new to junior, but have a skill set we can help develop. It’s a win-win when we can put a talented young player in front of scouts while also knowing that player is going to help us win hockey games.”

With a little over a month before Knights main camp, Bradford is excited to get started on carving out his role on a Knights team that is fresh off it’s best finish in its NAHL history.

“I think the ultimate goal is ultimately to get to the Robertson Cup,” said Bradford. “I think coming up short this year will ultimately add some fuel to the fire for the returners. I just want to come in and give it my all and prove to everyone that I want to be there and that I want to take the next step in my career. I want to try and do everything that I can to help the team move on and reach that end result which is winning the Robertson Cup.”

The Knights report to main camp at the Revolution Ice Centre on July 20th. To stay up to date with all Knights news, notes, and transactions, follow the team on the social media:

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Brett Postula Signs Tender with Knights

Brett Postula, an 18-year old forward from Michigan, has agreed to a tender with the Knights for 2018-19. The ‘99 has spent the last several seasons with Meijer Hockey, a youth hockey organization that is lauded for producing junior hockey players, including another Knights tender Zak Currie and veteran forward Tyrone Bronte.

”No I haven’t had the chance to speak with Tyrone yet-he’s been pretty busy,” said a laughing Postula, during the Knights Robertson Cup Semifinals. “He was a great player here though and was a great teammate when he was here. Meijer is a great organization. Coach Sherry is a wonderful coach and it’s truly a wonderful place to play.”

This past season, Postula wracked up 23 goals and 20 assists playing AAA and Midget hockey for Meijer.

“I’m a go-hard type of guy,” said the 6-0, 170-pound forward. “I can go win battles on the walls and in the corners. I’m aggressive in front of the net and I can score.”

”Brett is a talented player who can fill a lot of roles throughout a lineup,” said Knights assistant GM Justin Schreiber. “He really came on strong toward the end of his midget season and caught the eyes of our staff.”

Postula was one of many following the action in this past weekend’s Robertson Cup Playoffs. The Knights were among the final four teams left in the playoffs before being eliminated by the eventual champion, the Shreveport Mudbugs. He believes he can be a part of the next step.

”I want to come in, work hard and win a Robertson Cup,” he said plainly.

Postula will get the opportunity when the Knights resume work following the NAHL Draft on June 5th with Main Camp from July 20th-22nd.

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Skylar Gutierrez Agrees to Tender with Knights

The Knights and forward Skylar Gutierrez have come to a tender agreement over the weekend. From Anchorage, Alaska, Gutierrez stands at 6-2, 180 lbs as just a 2001 birth year.

“I bring a strong presence around the net,” he said. “I like to play strong down low, throw the body, play with some jam and get pucks to the net.”

“Skylar is a power forward that plays with a lot of speed and grit,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “We are very excited have a player of his caliber part of our organization.”

Gutierrez, even at 16, is no stranger to the NAHL. He’s recorded one assist in five games with Kenai River as an affiliate player this season.

“It was a really good experience,” said Gutierrez. “It was way faster that the level I’m used to. I was really glad to get that experience to help prepare me for the next level.”

Currently a member of the Alaska Oilers U16 AAA program, Gutierrez is a current and long-time teammate of fellow Knights tender Jeffrey Bertrand.

“We’ve been teammates for a long time,” said Gutierrez of his fellow Anchorage-native. “He told me how great his experience was and how much he liked the organization. For me, I really liked how professional the interaction was with the Knights, and how quickly we were able to come to a tender agreement. That really stood out to me.  I’m just excited to get to work, to prove I’m a good player at the next level and bring it every day.”

The Knights are excited to welcome Gutierrez to the organization and look forward to helping him develop and advance in his career!

Knights Agree to Tender with ’01 Defenseman Greg Japchen

Greg Japchen became the latest in a line of talented prospects to sign on for the Knights 2018-19 campaign. The 2001-born defenseman agreed to a tender that was finalized today. Already committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA DI-NCHC) Japchen has drawn the attention of the hockey world for his highly-valued skillset.

“I’m a puck-moving defenseman,” said Japchen of his playing style. “I can skate the puck up ice and and I have the speed to make plays.”

“Greg is a highly-skilled defenseman that sees the ice extremely well,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His stick and mobility make him one of the top 2001 birth year defensemen in the nation. We are very excited to have Greg part of the Knights organization.”

A native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Japchen has already given the Knights a preview of his high-ceiling. The left-handed defenseman joined the team for a road contest against the Philadelphia Rebels in mid-January. He didn’t disappoint.

“I thought he played well,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “I think he showed us why he’s such a sought-after talent. In a game against one of our better opponents, it was exciting to see that he didn’t look out of place out there.”

“Playing with the Knights, it was easy to see they’re a quick, skilled team,” said Japchen. “They have some really fast forwards up front, and strong goal tending. The Rebels were a fast team too. They skate to the puck hard, they play a good game. Being able to play junior hockey has given me a good idea of the pace of that level. You have to be able to pick your head up and make decisions with the puck quickly. It’s helped me to get faster and improve my overall skillset.”

Japchen will finish 2017-18 with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers 16U program before preparing for next season. Through 31 games, he has recorded three goals and six assists. That does not include his game with the Knights, as well as one game in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. The 16-year old is confident he’ll be ready for whatever opportunity comes his way.

“Over the summer I plan on getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” said the 5-11, 175 lbs defenseman. “I want to focus on skill and stick-handling-things of that nature as I work to improve my game.”

The Knights are excited to welcome Greg to the organization and look forward to following his hockey career!

Defenseman Reid Miller Signs Tender With Knights

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are excited to announce Reid Miller has signed a tender with the team this week. The left-handed defenseman brings with him a good blend of youth and experience as he’s already accrued 23 career games in the NAHL as 17-year old.

“Reid is a dynamic defenseman that has the ability to make plays in all three zones,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His league experience makes him an exciting addition to our organization.”

“I think of myself as a puck-moving defenseman,” said Miller of his style. “I like to play on the offensive side of the ice, and join the rush. I know it’s weird to hear it from a defender, but I really like being offensive-minded.”

After playing 23 games with the Philadelphia/Aston Rebels, a chief Knights rival in the NAHL, Miller has as a savvy understanding of the division.

“I think it helped me, playing games in the East,” said Miller. “It’s surrounded by big schools, it’s close to some USHL teams, and it’s heavily scouted. It’s a tough division. I think it helped build my physicality. It’s fast: you have to make quick plays and you really can’t hold the puck too long. It’s a big jump from midget hockey. I really enjoyed it.”

As it turned out, having ice time against the Knights helped endear the organization to Miller.

“The Knights have a great facility,” he said of the Revolution Ice Centre, a venue he’s visited on multiple occasions in his playing time with the Rebels. “Their players there are allowed to be themselves. Having talked to Coach Tom and Coach Whiteside, I’m confident they’ll allow me to be myself, and play my style.”

That style will one day return to the NAHL and the Knights while in the meantime Miller continues to play with the Oakland JR. Grizzlies U18 program. The Knights staff is happy to have Miller aboard their tender list and look forward to helping him develop his hockey career!

 

Knights Sign Jeffrey Bertrand to NAHL Tender Agreement

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are happy to announce they’ve signed forward Jeffrey Bertrand to a tender agreement. Bertrand, a 2001 birth year from Anchorage, Alaska already owns an impressive hockey resume.

“I’m a skilled, power forward,” said the 6-2, 170 16-year old. “I like to play a very intense style of hockey: fast and aggressive. I like skating down deep, putting pucks on net, and setting up my teammates.”

After standing out for the Alaska Oilers U15 AAA Midget program in 2016-17 (10-19-29 in 32 GP), Bertrand landed a roster spot with USA Hockey’s U17 team for their Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic this past August. Jeffrey was a key part of a gold-medal finish for the U.S. in the tournament.

“To play for team USA, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I was proud to play for my country. They took really good care of us. We had a good group. It was a different experience playing in the Czech Republic. The game’s played a little bit differently there. They have different street signs and handshakes, but it was really special.“

Bertrand continues to play for the Alaska Oilers in 2017-18 at the U16 level of their organization, but he’ll have his chance to preview junior hockey.

“We’re happy to have Jeffrey as a tender for our NAHL program,” said head coach Tom Kowal. “Keep an eye on the roster, as he’ll have an opportunity to be an affiliate player for us later on this season. We’re excited to see what he brings to the NAHL level.”

The role of affiliate player will allow Bertrand the opportunity to play in a select number of games for the Knights in their 2017-18 NAHL campaign.

“I’m just excited,” he said on his feelings following his tender. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Knights. I’m pumped to play for them and I’m looking forward to playing junior hockey.”

Having scouted and evaluated the forward personally, Knights Assistant GM Justin Schreiber is fully aware of the potential Bertrand brings to the table.

“Jeff is one of those rare players that can take over a game with his high-end skill and physicality,” said Schreiber. “He’s consistently one of the hardest workers on the ice, a guy you hate to play against. He is an exciting addition to our organization.”

 

Knights Sign Tender Zak Currie

The Knights have signed their first tender this season in forward Zak Currie from Meijer AAA hockey. Currie is a 1999 birth year from Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 27 games this year, the right-handed shot has scored 20 goals and recorded 13 assists for Meijer AAA 18U.

“Zak is an electric, skilled forward capable of putting up points in bunches as made evident by his stats this year,” said Knights assistant GM, Justin Schreiber. “He has had a great start to the year and we are excited to add a player of his caliber to the organization.”

“I picked the Knights because I like the staff and I think the organization is a good fit for my style of play,” said Currie. “I play a fast and skilled game. As far as the rest of this season, I just want to continue to improve areas of my game and continue to contribute to my team’s success.”