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Eastern Hockey League: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights return, with direct ties to NAHL program

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights may be new to the Eastern Hockey League, but they are not strangers.

By Joshua Boyd

The Knights were part of the EHL from 2013-15, before the organization focused its junior efforts on its new North American Hockey League team for its inaugural 2015-16 season as a Tier-2 squad.

The NAHL Knights kept a developmental junior team, first in the former Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, then in the NA3AHL. This year, many of the former NA3AHL teams moved over to the Eastern Hockey League. EHL Knights head coach Josh Fusco is very excited about the opportunity to be playing at the EHL level, while still maintaining the link with the NAHL team.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the organization. It’s an outstanding league, one that is special to be a part of,” said Fusco, who was also coach of the NA3AHL team last year.

The Knights provide a nearly unparalleled experience of holding single-stream tryout camps for both the NAHL and EHL teams.

“That was, for the most part, how it worked out. We had a Pre-[NAHL]-Draft camp that was a little bit of an EHL tryout. We also have a lot of guys coming to our main NAHL camp who are trying out for the EHL team,” said Fusco. “Having the NAHL team helps attract players to the organization, especially your ’98’s, ’99’s and 2000s. The EHL team will be the feeder team for the NAHL.”

Fusco and his staff have also hit showcases throughout the spring. The New England Pro-Am Pre-Draft showcase in May was among his scouting stops.

The team does have a pair of longtime Knights products forming a good leadership team in Josh Edwards and Rhett Padgett, a pair of ‘99’s. Fusco coached them with the Knights’ former 16U squad in the NAPHL, and last year on the NA3AHL team.

“[Edwards and Padgett] represent our organization professionally and with pride,” said Fusco. “They are the hardest-working kids and they represent everything we do here in the Knights organization.

“They are both guys who are still competing for a NAHL spot, and the door’s open for them to get there with how well they’re doing,” said Fusco. I look at them as veterans who will have a big role to start with on this [EHL] team.”

For more information on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights junior program, contact Josh Fusco at jfusco@wbsknights.com or 607-435-6885.

 

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