When players make the jump to junior hockey, they do so knowing that this is the path they want to take.
By Neil Ravin
They also know this step will ultimately lead them to the next level.
It’s the players in the Eastern Hockey League that control what happens inside the glass. It’s the teams that push to make sure everything is in place for them off the ice.
The East Coast Wizards serve as a prime example of a team that provides many resources and services for its players when they get off the ice.
“We play and practice out of The Edge Sports Center,” said Wizards head coach Freddy Meyer, the only head coach in the EHL with NHL experience. “While it may sound biased, we believe that we have arguably the best facility in the league. The Edge is relatively new, compared to most of the rinks in the EHL.
“The key for us has been the maintenance staff. The group at The Edge keeps the facility in top shape each and every day,” added Meyer.
The Edge Sports Center was developed to provide a state-of-the-art recreational facility for athletes of all ages. The athletic facility and sports complex is anchored with two ice hockey rinks, two outdoor turf athletic fields (one field is enclosed for the winter months), a state-of-the-art physical therapy center and a health club facility.
“The facility was part of what sold me on the program,” said Wizards forward Matt Letmanski. “The locker room is phenomenal, and as a team, we benefit from everything that the complex provides.”
Every weekday (outside of game days), the Wizards practice at 9:30 a.m. and work out immediately following their ice session.
The locker room and the gym are all in the back corner of the building. That helps to give the players a “pro-type” feel to their day-to-day work.
In the EHL, each team strives for this, as in the pay-to-play model, the teams compete each year with one another when it comes to recruiting players.
Meyer played nearly 400 professional games at the NHL and AHL levels, and he knows his team’s facility is one of his biggest selling points.
“Each year when I bring new recruits in, I give them a tour of what we have to offer. The Edge brings a professional feel to it that sets us apart in the EHL,” he said. “When players come here, they will feel like professionals day-in and day-out. I love our space here, as we’re not hidden in the back, but rather it really helps keep the guys focused each day when they arrive.”
The Edge Sports Center is located at 191 Hartwell Road in Bedford, Mass. The East Coast Wizards play all of their home games on the lower rink.
Visit ecwjrhockey.com to view the team’s schedule.
Read past East Coast Wizards articles in our archives: