Knights recognize stellar group of half-dozen graduates from WSHL club
In junior hockey, every season brings a strong group of players to each team that finish out their eligibility as 20-year-olds.
This year, the Phoenix Knights have a talented group of 1997 birth year players that will move on after the 2017-18 Western States Hockey League season ends – all will be missed at AZ Ice Gilbert.
The Knights 2018 class of graduating players is:
Forward Arunas Bermejo: Bermejo hails from Mexico City, Mexico. He first joined the Knights in 2015 after an impressive run at the 2015 World Junior Championship at the Division 3 level where he and the Mexico took silver while he tallied 14 points in five games as the top scorer for the tournament. Bermejo went to win the gold at the 2016 WJC with the Mexico 20U D-3 team. As a Knight, he has amassed 33 goals and 87 points, placing him at sixth and fourth, respectively, among all-time Knights in those categories. This season, Bermejo donned the “A” as an alternate captain. After playoffs, he’ll head to Lithuania as he recently signed a professional contract with Energija Elektrenai.
Forward Michael Caravella: The current Knights captain, Caravella is a local, hailing from Chandler, coming out of the Jr. Coyotes and AHU youth programs. He first joined the Knights for the 2015-16 season and over two seasons, tallied 20 goals and 51 assists over 88 games. Entering the playoffs, Caravella is riding a nine-game point streak, is second on the Knights in points and leads the team in assists with 38.
Defenseman Chase Gillaspie: Gillaspie is another local talent, coming out of Gilbert and the Jr. Coyotes and Bobcats and AHU organizations. He joined the Knights in the 2014-15 season and has been a beacon of consistency for the team ever since. The defenseman ranks fourth overall in games played (103) and points by a defenseman (45) as a Knight. Heading into the playoffs, the Knights’ alternate captain Chase has two goals and 11 assists in 37 games.
Defenseman Juraj Housa: Housa is a defenseman from Cadca, Slovakia. He joined the Knights in the 2015-16 season after playing his entire youth hockey career in Slovakia. After the ‘15-16 season, he returned home to play for his previous 20U team, the MsHK Zilina. He was re-acquired this year via a trade from the Valencia Flyers, where he put up an impressive 21 points in 31 games. After joining the Knights, he continued his great play, adding three assists in the final six games of the season. Entering the playoffs, the addition of Housa bolsters the defensive core for a deep playoff run.
“I’m glad to be here in Phoenix and ending my junior hockey career with the Phoenix Knights organization,” noted Housa.
Defenseman Zachary Kowalchuk: Kowalchuk is a local, out of Queen Creek and is a product of the Bobcats and AHU organizations. The defenseman first joined the Knights in the 2015-16 season and after the playoffs, went off to Arizona State University, where he played for two successful seasons, registering 31 points. He rejoined the Knights this season, picking up four goals and four assists in just 12 games and is poised to continue his hot play as the playoffs begin.
Forward Colton Seeman: Seeman is a Phoenix native from the Bobcats and AHU organizations. He first joined the Knights in 2014-15 season and has accumulated 22 goals and 22 assists over 79 games played.
The Knights finished the season fifth in the Western Division, drawing the fourth-seeded Flyers for their first-round matchup, and came out with a sweep of the Flyers. In the next round, Phoenix drew the Long Beach Bombers.
— Bryan O’Sullivan
(March 23, 2018)