Steve McKenna is pleased with the progress the Bay Area Seals have made as they prepare for their first season in the Western States Hockey League.
The general manager of one of the leagueâ€™s latest expansion teams believes things are right on track, not only behind the scenes but in building the team as well.
â€œItâ€™s been an exciting time for everyone,â€ McKenna said. â€œWe have made great connections with a lot of hockey contacts and coach Zac Lytle has done a good job of finding players who are looking forward to having an opportunity to play hockey. Our main goal is to run this team in a professional way and make the experience a good one for the players.â€
Dallas Ice Jets head coach Paul Taylor saw his team nearly win a Western States Hockey League championship in its first season in the league.
Taylor will have high hopes for his team this coming season as well after the Ice Jets finished as the runner-up in the league tournament. The Ice Jets fell 6-5 to the Idaho Junior Steelheads in the championship game.
â€œWe have high expectations for our team,â€ Taylor said. â€œI believe we proved to be a top team last season and came within a goal of winning the championship. Our goal this year is to challenge as a top team and to try and win a title this time.â€ More
Hagmaier has already worn an â€œAâ€ on his chest as an associate captain for the 2011-12 Renegades, so he will certainly be continuing in an official leadership role this season.
â€œWe are looking for Zack to be a leader, building on his role [from last year],â€ said Cook. â€œHeâ€™s already been a strong advocate for us this summer, buying into the program Coach [John] McCreary and I are bringing to Rio Rancho.â€
Hagmaier, a â€™92 from Long Beach, Calif., was an exuberant forward for the 2011-12 Renegades. He scored 23 points and racked up 115 penalty minutes in 39 games.
Itâ€™s about a month and a half until the final invitation-only tryout camp for the Southern Oregon Spartans.
However, in the team offices at Medford, Ore., itâ€™s as if itâ€™s already September. By then, of course, the Spartans will be making their debut in the vastly expanded Western States Hockey League.
â€œThings are going pretty well. Coach [Mike] Stanaway went to several tryout camps and showcases to recruit kids for our Oregon, Wis., tryout camp,â€ said Troy Irving, the Spartans co-owner and director of hockey operations. â€œWe brought back a dozen guys, including some guys who already had college commitments or were aging out. We put those kids with the new kids coming in. We had about 45 players trying out for spots.â€