Ten years ago, the New York Bobcats were the powerhouse of the former Atlantic Junior Hockey League, winning two straight league titles.
By Joshua Boyd
Five years ago, they were charter members of the Eastern Hockey League.
However, in 2016-17, there simply were no New York Bobcats. Due to being left without a home rink, the franchise went dormant. This year, however, the Long Island Royals organization swooped in and bought the Bobcats’ franchise. The Royals, who had a junior team last year in the former NA3AHL, have made the Bobcats their new junior team, attached to the greater Royals youth organization. The Bobcats also have a home rink now, at Dix Hills (N.Y.) Ice Arena.
The Royals won the one-and-only NA3AHL championship last year, and finished 40-6-2. There are “six or seven” players coming back to the franchise from that Royals team to the revitalized EHL Bobcats team.
“A lot of our players are in final tryouts for North American Hockey League teams, so we’ll see which exact players return,” said general manager/head coach Ken Hoey.
The Bobcats project to be very strong at defense, if they get back certain players from last year’s Royals junior team.
Defenseman Matt Araujo (’97) was trying out for NAHL teams, “but he wants to be a No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman,” said Hoey.
“He is a big man, at 6-feet-2-inches, and he’s very skilled,” said Hoey. “He had Division 3 offers last year, but he wanted to come back this year and see what he can get this year.”
Bryan Whelan, one of the leading scorers in the NA3AHL with 73 points, is another player who received offers from Division 3 schools, but also wants to continue to test the waters with a big year in the EHL.
Zach Andersen was flying high with 17 points in six games last year before a collarbone injury shelved him. He hopes to remain healthy in his first EHL season, and attract some big college offers as a power forward (6-2, 220 pounds).
Hoey knows the EHL well, as the Royals sent many players from its former Metropolitan Junior League team to the EHL every year.
“I expect a tough game each and every night, which makes it more fun for everyone,” said Hoey, who said the NA3AHL had a lot of lopsided scores in games. “Nobody wants to play a game like that.”
The New York Bobcats continue to look for forwards. If interested, contact Ken Hoey at 631-885-0497 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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