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Philadelphia Little Flyers: Players pushing for Amarillo Bulls roster spots

One promotion from the Philadelphia Little Flyers to the Amarillo Bulls (North American Hockey League) may beget a handful more.

By Joshua Boyd

This past spring, former Little Flyers head coach Rocky Russo was named head coach of the Bulls. In his four years, Russo helped the Little Flyers win three straight regular season championships, and they reached the deciding Game 5 of this year’s playoff championship series.

Russo, now in charge of the on-ice product for Amarillo, had a good amount of his 2016-17 Little Flyers at Amarillo’s main camp.

“Some of our guys were skating there and were invited back for their preseason training camp,” said George Lewis, the new Little Flyers head coach and former assistant under Russo. “I see a handful of our guys from Philadelphia playing there.”

“Our 19-and 20-year-olds each season will want to go to college, but the young guys’ goals are to move up to play Tier-2 [NAHL] and maybe the [Tier-1] United States Hockey League, eventually, and that’s what we want to do in terms of advancement,” Lewis added. “In Amarillo, you have a [NAHL] head coach who has coached in the EHL. [He] knows the EHL is made up of quality players.”

There is, of course, still a 2017-18 Little Flyers team to put together and Lewis said the roster for this next season’s EHL team is “85-90 percent full.”

“We are going to have a nice corps of veterans coming back. [Our number of veterans will be] in the ballpark of five players from last year,” said Lewis. “I like to have a fast team with skill, but also guys who can bring some grit and physical toughness.”

Among the veteran leaders this year will be third-year Little Flyer Trevor Lewandowski, a key piece of the defensive corps.

“We’re going to look for him to help some of our younger guys,” said Lewis. “He is about as sound defensively as they come. He will be a rock out there.”

Lewis said the team still has some prospects attending NAHL camp. After the Lone Star Brahmas and the Corpus Christi IceRays, he’ll have a clearer picture.

“We’re rooting for them to make those teams, but if not, those guys will have a home in Philly,” Lewis added.

The Little Flyers have not yet solidified their start date for the 2017-18 preseason training camp, but Lewis said his team will be ready to go when the games begin on Sept. 9. That day, they face the new Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights at the Little Flyers’ home IceWorks Complex at Aston, Pa.


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Core defensemen key to playoff success

Undefeated in regulation after 17, but much work remains