Henry Lazar

Eastern Elite Prospects League: Parity early in season on both U16, U18 sides

Eastern Elite Prospects League: Parity early in season on both U16, U18 sides

In early Eastern Elite Prospects League action, at the 16U level, the Connecticut Oilers, Greater New York Stars and Philadelphia Revolution were leading the way after the first couple of weeks.

For the Oilers, Brian Silard had nine points, with Declyn Thornton and Max Fuld close behind with six points each. In goal for the Oilers, Donny Battimelli led the stingy Oilers.

For the upstart GNY Stars, Ethan Cohen, Dan Edmonds and Dean Owen each have two goals each for the 2-0 Stars from Brooklyn.

For the Revolution, Andrew Bean had two goals in the first two games to pace Philly.

On the 18U circuit, the Rhode Island Hitmen were off to a quick 5-1 start.

Eric Pesola’s five goals and five assists for 10 points led the Hitmen offense. Steve Schmitt has been tough to beat in goal early this year, with a .925 save percentage.

For Ken Hoey’s Long Island Royals squad, Matt O’Shaughnessy led a strong offense with six goals and five assists for 11 points. Joe Bonsignore is a close second with nine points.

The 4-1 Royals are averaging more than five goals per game on offense. For the 3-1 Richmond Generals, on offense, Tyler Jahn and Jack Zielinski were leaders.

The 2-0 Cyclones were right in the early mix with Ed Ziegenfuss at the forefront of the offense with six points.

Many of the teams were set to begin their full EJEPL schedules after this group, as the New Hampshire Monarchs, Philadelphia Little Flyers, Jaguars, New York Apple Core, Boston Bandits, Connecticut Chiefs and CP Dynamo will all become major factors in the competition.

“Many of the games played so far have been close and pretty exciting,” said commissioner Henry Lazar. “The league is finalizing its plan for its All-Star Jamboree, which will be hosted by the Boston Bandits in January. Initial responses by junior and college scouts have been very positive through September.”

Lazar also announced that the league will announce academic help solutions for struggling students as grades are a major priority moving forward.

For more information regarding the EEPL, please go to the web site at EEPL.com. The team’s directory of teams and contacts will appear in each issue of the USA Junior Hockey Magazine.

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Midget circuit excited for big sophomore season

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Midget circuit excited for big sophomore season

The much-anticipated 2013-4 second season of the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League begins next week with the Brewster Labor Day showcase over the Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 weekend.

Many of the League teams in the two Midget Divisions will be in attendance.

The EJEPL will feature an 18U Division of 11 teams and a 16U Division with 15 teams. The 20-game league schedule features showcases in Brewster, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., Howell, N.J., Hudson, N.H., Bridgewater, Mass., and southern New Jersey.

Junior and college scouts have been very enthusiastic about coming to these events. The 26-team league, up from 11 in the inaugural season promises to showcase many of the top 15-to 18-year olds on the East Coast. The complete league schedule is on the website ejepl.com and rosters of all the teams will be complete on the site effective Aug. 28.

“Many of the teams claim they are ready to lead the way,” said commissioner Henry Lazar.

In the 16U division, the New York Apple Core, Boston Bandits, Connecticut Oilers, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Long Island Royals and Philadelphia Little Flyers are all talking up their teams.

In the 18U division the Monarchs and CP Dynamo may be the favorites.

The all-star event will be hosted by the Boston Bandits over Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend, and the playoffs will again be hosted by the Monarchs.

There have already been inquiries for 2014-15 for expansion franchises and the league will be looking into Fast Hockey and other media extras moving forward. There are tournament-bound teams at each level and with the strong 16U teams in the League, it is possible to have a couple of representatives at the Nationals.

“The owners and coaches have been very cooperative and the ‘family of teams’ is being cultivated nicely,” said Lazar.

The all-star event will include a college seminar and college coaches will be invited to speak to the players and their families.

The League teams include the Apple Core, New Jersey Titans, Monarchs, Little Flyers, Greater New York Stars, Connecticut Oilers, Connecticut Chiefs, Boston Bandits, CP Dynamo, Northern Cyclones, Frederick Freeze, Richmond Generals, Philadelphia Revolution, Rhode Island Hitmen, Royals, Freeport Arrows and Igloo Jaguars.

The league has teams in seven states: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia and Rhode Island.

“Good luck to all the teams as the season is just about to begin,” added Lazar, in late August.


Read past EJEPL stories in our archives:

Hitmen crowned regular season champs; Maksymum Hockey wins playoffs

All-Stars announced for first-year league

Parity is key word for new circuit

New York Apple Core: Santini drafted by New Jersey in second round

New York Apple Core: Santini drafted by New Jersey in second round

Congratulations are in order for Steven Santini as his hard work has paid off big time.

The former New York Apple Core player became the New Jersey Devils’ first pick (42nd) overall in Sunday’s NHL draft at the Prudential Center.

“Almost 75 friends and family gathered at the draft to see the reward for all the hard work,” said proud grandfather Bob Santini.

Steven played for the Apple Core in 2010-11 as he made the 130-mile round trip to Long Beach while a sophomore in high school. After his year at the Core, Steven was selected for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, for which he starred for two years.

Steven will attend Boston College as a true freshman this fall and will play for head coach Jerry York. All of Steven’s family was there as well as many friends of the family and many staff from Brewster Ice Arena, the family business.

The family is extremely happy that Steven will be playing locally so the entire family can go to Devils games.

Father Steve Santini Sr. works for the New York Rangers as an off-ice official, as well as running the Brewster Ice Arena.

“The Devils just picked up a quick 200-300 new fans,” stated his mother Sandy. Uncle Dave Santini, who runs the Pro Shop at the Brewster Ice Arena, will be stocking New Jersey Devils jerseys, T-shirts, hats and clothing.

Steven will now take a little time off as he relaxes after a demanding testing and interview period leading up to the draft before resuming training and preparing for BC.

“Having been lucky enough to have coached Steven for a year, I saw immediately that he had the maturity, even at 15 to get to the show,” said Apple Core GM Henry Lazar. “He handled every on-and off-ice situation professionally and even though already committed to BC, he never wore any of their hats, shirts, or discussed the BC commitment around the older players, some five years older than Steven.

“That showed maturity beyond his years,” added Lazar.

Steven’s father Steve Sr. played for the University of Maine and coached Steven up through the ranks and taught his son all that was needed.

There is a certain way to handle yourself and play the game the right way and that’s what the Devils see in their first draft pick. All his friends at the Core wish Steven only the best and will be rooting for him … even when the Devils play the Rangers and Islanders.

New York Apple Core: Alum Santini should be early pick in NHL Entry Draft

New York Apple Core: Alum Santini should be early pick in NHL Entry Draft

New York Apple Core alum Steven Santini is living every player’s dream come true: a potential first round selection in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft on June 30.

He will be starting his collegiate hockey career at Boston College playing for coaching legend Jerry York.

“Steven is a dedicated, hard-working defenseman who can play the game any way he has to,” said Apple Core general manager Henry Lazar. “He is mobile, a big hitter and extremely smart with the puck. As a 16-year-old, Steve Jr. was driven the 70 miles each way from Mahopac, N.Y., by his father Steve Sr. to practice at Long Beach and he still did great in school.”

After his Apple Core season, Steven went to the U.S. National Team Development Program where he excelled on the 17U and 18U teams. He will be the Core’s ninth player to play in the NHL when that happens.

“His friends are hoping he will be drafted by an East Coast team, but Steve, mature as he is, just wants to play for whoever drafts him and believes in his talents,” Lazar added.

Alumni update: Former Core defenseman Willie Brown is the new head women’s hockey coach at Nichols College. Former coach Chris Cosentino, head coach of New York University’s American College Hockey Association (ACHA) club team, is the proud father of a baby girl. He is also excited that NYU may jump to NCAA Division 3 in the future.

Congratulations to other Apple Core alumni on their college commitments: Kevin Lohan (Michigan), Tyler Young (Williams), Sal Magliocco (Elmira), Colin Reilly (Colby), Kyle Zelanka (Penn State/ACHA) and Jordan Cosby (NYU/ACHA).

New league, new excitement: The Apple Core flagship junior team has joined with 17 other top organizations to form the Eastern Hockey League (EHL).

These 18 teams have sent over 1,000 players on to college and universities, and college coaches are extremely happy with the make-up of the league and the commitment to excellence.

The Apple Core Tier-3 development model will also consist of teams in the Metropolitan Junior League and in the USPHL’s Empire Division. The renovated Long Beach Arena will be completely ready for the start of the 2013-4 season with “just about new everything,” said Lazar.

“[Superstorm Sandy in October 2012] devastated both the rink and the community,” he added, “but the community is rebounding and the rink will look like new.”

The three Apple Core teams will be welcoming many new faces for the 2013-14 season and they will be introduced in our August article in USA Jr. Hockey Magazine.


Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Hitmen crowned regular season champs; Maksymum Hockey wins playoffs

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Hitmen crowned regular season champs; Maksymum Hockey wins playoffs

Congratulations are in order for the Jersey Hitmen and Maksymum Hockey.

Hitmen head coach Bill Thompson and his staff for leading the U16 New Jersey Hitmen to an impressive record of 18-2-0-0 (for 36 points) in the Eastern Junior Elite Prospect League‘s inaugural regular season.

“Coach Thompson is a veteran coach who knows what he is doing,” said Eastern Junior Elite Prospect League commissioner Henry Lazar. “Bill and his staff worked very hard to gain the regular season championship.”

The Hitmen didn’t lose a league game in December, January or February, a streak of 10 wins to end the season. The Hitmen were led by ’97 forward Alex Whelan, with 19 points in 17 games.

Close behind the Hitmen were the Connecticut Oilers (17-3-0-0, 34 points) and Maksymum Hockey (14-3-0-3, 31 points).

The playoffs were very exciting, as each of the eight teams had some type of success during the regular season against the top three teams.

Along with hosting the inaugural EJEPL playoffs, the Monarchs have done a great job over the years hosting Eastern Junior, Empire and Eastern States league all-star events at their Hooksett, N.H., home rink. One such event was the EJEPL’s first-ever all-star weekend, where the 16U division was very exciting and went down to overtime to determine the winner.

“My team is all pumped up and ready to go,” said Maksymum head coach Dave Maksymiu, before the playoffs. “We have played and practiced hard to be the champion.”

That is just what happened. Maksymum beat the Junior Bruins in the semifinals. The Connecticut Oilers upset the Hitmen, 4-2, in the other semifinal and met Maksymum in the Feb. 24 final. Maksymum defeated the Oilers, 5-4.

Connecticut’s Jack Badini scored two goals (one shorthanded) to give the Oilers an early 2-1 lead, but Maksymum’s Tyler Cavalier scored his first of two to tie the game. Maksymum’s Joey Saraceni scored two second period goals to extend the lead to 5-3. Connor Dahlman pulled Connecticut to within one, but that was as close as the Oilers would get.

Also at the playoffs were the New Hampshire Monarchs, Islanders Hockey Club, New York Apple Core and the Boston Bandits.

Former Eastern Junior Hockey League commissioner and league founder Dan Esdale was in attendance on Sunday to present the winner the Esdale Trophy.

The two playoff brackets were named for EJHL founding fathers Gary Dineen and Phil Coleman. Both men did a lot to get the EJHL to where it is today and, before passing on, helped make the “EJ” the top junior league on the East Coast.

Read also: All-Stars announced for first-year league

Read also: Parity is key word for new circuit

Read also: Eleven teams primed, ready for season to get rolling