SHERIDAN — Six players from the Sheridan NA3HL Hawks will compete in the North American Tier III Hockey League Top Prospects Tournament in Attleboro, Massachusetts, Feb. 17-18.
Alex Kesler, Logan Syrup, Jack Royer, Blake Billings and James Downie will dress for the Frontier Division team while Kolton Wright will play for the Northeast Division team.
Kesler said this is an opportunity for him to reunite with friends from around the league that are former teammates and some from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.
Each division in the NA3HL will have roughly 18 players on their roster, selected from the teams within their division.
The mixing of teams within the division roster allows players to make new connections with top players the Hawks have played against all season.
Recent games between the Yellowstone Quake and Gillette Wild featured chippy play and fights. Most recently, the Hawks and Quake had players suspended following their game Feb. 1 due to fights breaking out after the game ended.
Kesler said teams have a chance to build connections with other players, helping cut down on extracurricular activities that happen during those games.
Syrup said he is excited to play with other players from the division. It will be interesting to see how players come together and stack up against other divisions in the league.
Kesler attended the tournament last season and knows the games will be fast-paced. With the best players in attendance, the games will be skill heavy and not have as much physical play.
Players will show what they have against a high level of competition.
The tournament is highly attended by scouts. Every North American Hockey League team will be represented, and 40 colleges had scouts at the games last season, Kesler said.
Hawks head coach Andy Scheib will coach the Frontier Division team. The coach of the team at the top of the division standings is selected as head coach of the division, and the assistant coach is the head coach of the second-place team. Bozeman Icedogs coach Elliot Bates is the assistant coach.
Syrup said Scheib provides a familiar face on the bench and a person from whom he is used to taking orders.
Scheib said each team in the division submits three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie to be one the Top Prospects roster. Scheib and Bates created an 18-man roster with those names submitted. Teams have 10 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.
Scheib said the team flies out of Billings Feb. 16 and will not have an opportunity to practice before games begin Feb. 17. The weekend is about giving players a chance to play. Scheib will set a lineup and organize shift changes. Not much coaching will be done outside of that.
The Hawks play two games Feb. 17 and one game Feb. 18. There are six divisions in the NA3HL.
The Frontier Division team plays the South Division at 11 a.m. and the Coastal Division at 5 p.m. Monday. The team faces the West Division 8 a.m. Feb. 18. all game times are in Eastern Standard Time.