The Potomac Patriots are the youngest team in the EJHL South.
While most teams are comprised of skilled players that were born between 1992 and 1994, the majority of the Patriotsâ€™ roster is made up of players with 94-96 birth years.
â€œWe knew we would have a young team, but honestly did not expect the other teams to be quite as old as they are,â€ said general manager R.J. Zeigler. â€œ[In terms of team selection], we have made a commitment to players in the Washington, D.C., area to provide an opportunity for local talent to showcase their ability.â€
While the Patriots still depend on leadership and mentoring from players such as Andrew Turgeon, Matthew Wipper, John Rempe and JoJo Harding, they have had countless younger players step up and fill large roles on the team.
On the back end, the youngest member of the defensive core leads the team in plus/minus. Ian Edgington â€™96 will never stand out with flash but is as consistent as they come.
Heâ€™s positionally sound, makes a great first pass, and has the poise of a seasoned veteran.
â€œTo think that this kid could play juniors for four more years after this is amazing,â€ commented Patriots defensive coach Jon Mahaffee.
In addition, import Andreas Bagfeldt and James Vuillemot (both â€˜94â€™s) are both big, strong skating defensemen that add stability to the Patriots blue line.
Vuillemot is also an assistant captain. The remaining three Patriots defensemen are coming off a successful year with Gary Pouliot and the Ashburn Extreme U16AA team.
Kevin McDonald, Grayson Runey and Carter Schultz (all â€˜95â€™s) have made a nice transition into junior hockey. McDonald and Runey have done particularly well on the power play.
Up front, you would be hard pressed to not find good things to say about â€™97 Cameron Smith.
â€œAs Cameron matures both physically and mentally, weâ€™ll see him dominate the game just as he has at every other level heâ€™s played,â€ said Zeigler. â€œThis is the first time heâ€™s played against guys five years older than him.
Nathan Marks â€™95, Travis Reece â€™94, Mikey Carr â€™95, Evan Sterling â€™95 and Joe Pouliot â€™96 are all youthful players that are regular contributors for the Patriots.
Marks shows perhaps the most promise offensively, while Reece could easily be the fastest player in the league.
When you add goaltenders, Dustyn Moyer â€™94 and Garrett Forrest â€˜97 to the mix, the Patriots boast a talent filled youth group that has immediately shown the ability to compete at the highest levels of junior hockey.