The Beast Tournament Series U16 Division promises to be highly competitive, with as many as 27 teams participating in some fashion in the Showcase season, including a handful of new programs.
Here’s a look at some of the participating programs:
ATLANTIC COAST HOCKEY ACADEMY
Coming in as a largely new group, the U16 Atlantic Coast Hockey Academy is ready to show what they can do.
The team will be coached by Josh Rabbani and he has a number of key players who are up to the challenge in this competitive league.
“We are excited about the mix of hard work, skill and creativeness throughout the lineup,” said Rabbani. “Once they are able to get some chemistry going, we have high goals and expectations for them in every game this season.”
Some key offensive players that Rabbani will turn to are two centers in Bailey Yates who hails all the way from Scotland and Parker Carrabba (Billerica, MA).
On the blue line, look for Mark Pych (NJ) and Tony Guadagno (NY) to lead the way and behind them in goal will be Istvan Szunyogh from Texas, who Rabbani will also look to be a leader in the locker room.
Some new players looking to be in the mix are forward Mike Poggi (Longmeadow, MA), a, forward Drayton Lasker (SPA) and Rocco Crescenzo from Top Gun.
RED BANK GENERALS
Coach Jack Callahan will look for a great compete level from his U16 Red Bank Generals group.
Some key offensive weapons for Callahan will be Michael McCabe (Matawan, NJ), Cameron Estok (Malboro, NJ), Shane Corson (Freehold, NJ) and Anthony Matrone (Staten Island, NY).
“Michael McCabe has been the captain of this group since he was 14 years old and I expect him to continue that this season,” said Callahan. “Shane Corson, Cam Estok and Stephen Shnarevich will also be relied upon heavily to fill leadership roles within this team.”
Shnarvich will be a top defenseman for the Generals along with Kyle Katz, Zach Price and Ben Arturi, who will all play key roles.
Between the pipes, look for Brendan Allen to be strong with a solid defense in front of him.
A few key new players who are looking to make an impact are forward Danny Faletta and two defensemen in Anthony Callano and Quinn Heanue.
MAINE NORDIQUES ACADEMY
Coach Joe Laskero is hoping good team chemistry that has been built over the summer will help translate into success for his U16 Maine Nordiques Academy squad.
“I am looking for the boys to come out playing a hard blue-collar game every weekend,” said Laskero. “We will continuously try and establish throughout the season a strong transition game through the low and high points of the neutral zone. We would like to initiate a strong forecheck that can sustain offensive zone pressure from our quick re-groups and smart puck management through the neutral zone.”
Key forwards to watch will be Demetrios Camene (FL), Brady Wilson (MA) and Roman Brown (CO), all of who should make an impact.
Two defenseman that hail from the Midwest will be key on the blue line. They are Brady Nelson (MN) and Rocco Watson (IL).
In goal, look for two strong contenders in Brayden Nebus (RI) and Zach Roller (CO) who will split the time for Laskero.
Four forwards to keep your eye on that are new to the program are Ryder Gibbs, Tyger Lister, Aiden Shockley and Bryan Thompson. Noah Billing (defense) and Indiana Billing (goalie) are also two new additions to the team.
NEW JERSEY ROCKETS
Good sound two-way hockey and discipline will be the keys to success for the U16 New Jersey Rockets. The team will be coached by Noel Rubin and they have a number of key returners to make for a successful run in the Beast Series.
Rubin will turn to key returners at forward in Dante Rodriguez, Dan Hussa, Aidan Wilson and Ty Kuznier, all who were solid last season to make an impact.
On the blue line, Kris Richards and Max Wright will be key, both of who are returners from last season. Matt Minchak will be a primary option between the pipes for the Rockets and expect him to be solid.
Rubin will also have a few new players to the organization looking to make an impact and they are forward Rocco Marinucci and defenseman Jackson Accardi.
NEPONSET VALLEY RIVER RATS
The U16 NV River Rats will be tough to beat as they have a roster filled of top prep school players, including two college commits.
Dan Panciocco will be behind the dasher and he is looking for good compete level, a team first mentality and good team defense to pave the way to his team’s success.
Leading the way on offense and in the locker room will be junior Michael Munroe from Avon Old Farms, who recently committed to the University of Maine. Joining him is Grayden Robertson-Palmer, a junior from Phillips Andover who is committed to Dartmouth and is new to the program this upcoming season.
Other top forwards that Panciocco will turn to are junior Tommy Anderson from Thayer Academy and two sophomores from Dexter Southfield in Jake Assad and Joe Marchi.
Key defensemen will be junior Collin Rowe (Dexter) and two sophomores Evan Handler (Rivers) and Gus Chong (Berkshire).
In net, look out for a strong showing from sophomore Anthony Palmer, now at Avon Old Farms after a stellar freshman season with St. Mary’s Lynn (MA).
EAST COAST MILITIA
One team no one can take lightly will be the EC Militia, stacked with talent at all positions.
“This is a balanced team that controls the possession game and is difficult to play against, said coach Jacob Hixson. “The team gets better everyday as, unlike other programs, we actually train multiple times per week.”
The leadership group up front will include juniors Nick D’Olympio (CM) and Ben Kramer (Xaverian), and sophomores Justin Graf (Rivers) and Matthew Homer (New Hampton).
Junior Nathan Patch (Xaverian), sophomore Brian Burke (St. Sebastian’s) and freshman Nathan Rooney (Roxbury Latin) are solid on the blue line. In goal, the Militia will have junior John Quinn (CM) and Tyler Moschela (Thayer).
Newcomers ready to step right in are forwards Declan Grenache (Williston), Jack Fitzpatrick (Xaverian), Ethan Goodrich (St. John’s Prep), Tristan Parmentier (Tabor) and Tyler Curry (St. Sebastian’s), and defensemen James Baker (Dexter Southfield), Jack Hartwell (Nobles) and Alex Dzavik (Hingham).
SEACOAST PERFORMANCE ACADEMY NATIONAL
The U16 Seacoast Performance Academy (National) is ready to compete and coach Dan O’Connell expects all his players to have an impact in their first Beast Series.
Top forwards for the SPA will be Clinton Sousa, Dasan Akwue, Koby Francis, Samuel Šedivy and Ben Jones.
O’Connell will have plenty of depth on his bench and will turn to Charlie Cronin, Austin Nguyen, Pavel Martinu, Cale Harrington, Tyler Gualberto and Dempsey Grim to all be key contributors on offense as well.
On the blue line, look for Kaylob Knopp, Rich Jenkins and Vlad Tsapko to log a lot of minutes as well as Henry Bartlett, Mattias Zvonicek and Kole Leary.
Goaltending will be handled by Garret Lant and Conor O’Brien, who will share the time in net.
NEW JERSEY TITANS NATIONAL
The U16 New Jersey Titans are ready to go with a competitive group under coach Gary Biggs. Biggs is stressing the importance of structure in his team within all three zones.
“For our team to have success this season, we will have to pay attention to our details in our structures in all three zones,” said Biggs. “From the net out, we will be forced to have to play team defense and bring a high level of compete.”
Three top forwards that Biggs will rely on are juniors Ian Aitkenhead and Jack Conrod as well as sophomore Wyatt Capro and defenseman Sal Iorio.
“Ian, Wyatt, Jack and Sal are all multi-year players who have a firm understanding of what the expectations are both on and off the ice,” said Biggs. “Their compete levels are high both in practice and in games and they will be a huge part of our success.”
Also returning on offense are junior Aiden Alon and sophomore Landon Hopwood and on the blue line junior Braden Buckley.
A new player up in the organization is sophomore Aidan Maryam who is making the jump from Bantam Major AAA to 16U as an 08 birth year.
LONG ISLAND GULLS
The Long Island Gulls have 13 returning players from last year’s squad that was a top 5-7 in the rankings all year and advanced all the way to the USA Hockey National Quarterfinal, ultimately losing 3-2 to Little Caesars. With plenty of experience coach Dan Cassano knows his team is ready to go.
“There is strong belief in the room and an amazing core group of players coming back with unfinished business,” said Cassano. “We have brought in talent from all over North America to put the team over the top and we are good enough to win the whole thing.”
Some key members of the offense returning are Jesse Orlowsky, Ethan Wyttenbach, and Nicholas Sykora.
On the blue line, the Gulls welcomes back Jared Petruso, Kirby Perler and Nathanial Poole, and in net Ryan Cameron will be handling the duties.
Two new players that Cassano knows will have impact are forwards Cooper Dennis and Poul Anderson.
VALLEY FORGE MINUTEMEN
The U16 Valley Forge Minutemen will look to have good team defense and strong team chemistry to have a success run under coach Toni Porkka.
Four key members of the offense will be Nick Smith (Harleysville, PA), Tyler Newby (Broomall, PA), Eric Kloss (Emmaus, PA) and Jan Bach (King of Prussia, PA) who will all look to contribute.
On the blue line look for Nicholas Kotsch (Whitehall, PA) and Matthew Barbacane (Garner Valley, PA) to make strides for the Minutemen and log a lot of minutes.
In goal, the Minutemen will have Mason Caruso (Hamilton Square, NJ) handling the tough task.
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOUNTAIN KINGS
With a whole new team on the horizon, the U16 New Hampshire Mountain Kings are hoping for a successful season, their first in the Beast Series. Coach Brett Heigl is hoping his team establishes a team identity and they can have leaders and top players emerge as the season gets underway.
As for team leaders on and off the ice, Heigl is looking to the players that have already lived away from home to help the new players adjust.
“A lot will be expected from them,” said Heigl. “I am expecting our team’s leaders to emerge after the first few weeks of the campaign and we are really looking forward to a great inaugural season.”
Heigl is hoping the team chemistry clicks in right away as they look to start the season off on a high note.
“We are looking to establish a solid brand of hockey,” said Heigl. “Hard-working, strong on pucks and keeping things simple will be a good recipe for us right out of the gate.”
MID FAIRFIELD NATIONAL
U16 Mid Fairfield is ready for a new fall season under coach Chris Gragnano and he is thrilled to see the team coming together.
“We have a group of players that have been together for several years and they are all great kids with leadership qualities,” said Gragnano. “They are ready to lead this team and help our new players get accustomed to the way we do things on and off the ice.”
Leading the offensive attack will be Tommy Coccaro (Westminster), George McCaffrey (Westminster), Luke Dow (Kent) and Ryan Hedley (Salisbury).
On the blue line keys will be Cooper Stockdale (Gunnery) and Zach Martsching (Trinty-Pawling). Jack Fichthorn (Westminster) and Steven Luciano (Salisbury) will be sharing the goaltending duties.
“Every fall is exciting, but this group is especially exciting,” said Gragnano. “We have great kids with a lot of talent and its going to be fun to work with them and have them come together each week to try to improve individually and as a group.”
The U16 Connecticut Chiefs have a strong team going into this season.
“We have an offensive powerhouse team with three solid scoring lines and five standout defenseman who can control the game,” said head coach Adam Thomas.
Powering the offensive attack will be Tucker Labreque (Farmington Valley), Colton Bishoff (Kingswood Oxford), Declan Bayne (EO Smith), Nicholas Garilli (Northwest Catholic), Max Miller (Trinity Pawling) and John King (New Milford).
The Chiefs will have a really strong defensive core made up of Nathaniel Thomas (Rockville), Mason Buckley (Newington Co-Op), Jay Pinnover (Daniel Hand) and Travis Wilcox (Northwest Catholic). In goal, the Chiefs can turn to Kyle Kundrath (Rocky Hill Co-op) and Kian Kelsey (Shamrocks HC).
NORTH SHORE ACADEMY
Veteran head coach Sean Tremblay should have a solid group.
Up front, Nolan Beauchain is back for his second campaign with the North Shore U16s and will bring it on every shift. Los Angeles native James Lu is a super-skilled two-way forward.
Also back for a second season with the 16s is goaltender Joey Pearl, who will be a big part of the team’s success this fall.