Connecticut Nighthawks,Jason Olson,Kyle Richards,USPHL Premier,USA Junior Hockey

Connecticut Nighthawks: Experienced leaders help team to success

The Connecticut Nighthawks have crossed the median line of the season.

By Jim Smith

Head coach and general manager Brett Tryder believes his team has the talent to compete and needs to develop more consistency in their performance.

“I think we have the talent to compete and we need to be more consistent. We need to get an identity for ourselves and play our own game,” said Tryder. “We have plenty of talent here.”

Their “own game,” as Tryder mentioned, is the need to “hunt pucks, jump on those pucks consistently and play better away from the puck.”

As for competing on a consistent basis, the Connecticut coach shared his perspective.

“You go into every game as an underdog,” he added. “The kids that do that are the more consistent players. They are not looking down the schedule, figuring out who they are playing and giving an effort according to who they are playing.”

Among the points leaders for the Nighthawks are Timmy Hazelton, who played for Tryder in the past, and Shea Flanagan.

“Hazleton played for me last year for the Wolves and he is solid on the back end for sure. He is getting more comfortable offensively. Timmy is one of our more consistent players for sure and is a quiet leader,” Tryder said.

Hazleton’s previous experience with Tryder has also led to leadership opportunities for the defenseman from Commack, N.Y.

“[Hazelton] is a translator for me,” Tryder added. “Sometimes I talk in code and Timmy gets it and delivers it to the boys.”

Flanagan is another player with prior experience with the Connecticut coach and his leadership has also drawn Tryder’s attention.

“I had both of [Flanagan’s] brothers and have probably known him since he was 8 or 9 years old. He is a young kid assuming a lot of responsibility and is a mature leader at a young age.”

Evan Maloney, a forward who has returned to the ice after playing collegiate lacrosse for a year, has been a noticeable contributor to the Nighthawks’ improved production this season.

“Evan has probably been our most consistent player. He is a good athlete, a good team guy and works hard all the time,” added Tryder. “He loves the game and couldn’t stay away from hockey. I didn’t know what to expect from him but I am very happy with him.”

While the players will have some time off during the holiday season, Tryder knows that consistency also plays a role for a coach and general manager.

“I will be getting a jump on recruiting for next year.”


Follow Jim Smith on Twitter @BlueLineNotes


Read past Connecticut Nighthawks articles in our archives:

Tryder takes on coaching, management duties

Olson, Richards lead organization into new era