Trio of Bobcats represent program in NAPHL All-Star Games
Players wearing Arizona Bobcats sweaters compete in plenty of meaningful games throughout the season thanks to the high level of play in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL).
A trio of Bobcats skaters took that to a higher level this month when they were selected to compete in the NAPHL’s All-Star Games.
Brendan Winslow (pictured) played in the 18U game and Adam Bricker and Ryan Weick competed in the 16U game as the league’s top players came together in Blaine, Minn., on Dec. 4.
The All-Star teams were selected based on nominations from coaches and player evaluations from North American Hockey League (NAHL) Central Scouting through the first three months of the season.
NAHL coaches Kyle Grabowski (Austin Bruins), Alex North (Coulee Region Chill), Michael Benedict (Minnesota Wilderness) and Gary Harker (NAHL Central Scouting) served as coaches for the squads.
“We are extremely proud of our boys,” Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion said. “All three have been with our program for many years, and all are ready for the next adventure in their hockey careers. Their futures are looking good if they maintain the same level of focus on the details of the game.”
Bricker, a fast, skilled center on the Bobcats’ 16U Elite AAA team, has been with the program for four seasons, and said the experience of playing in the All-Star game represented a significant opportunity to showcase his skills to scouts and coaches.
“Playing against the top players from the league, and even some of the top players in the country, led me to find out that not only can I compete at that level, but I can perform at a high level,” Bricker said.
Weick is a teammate of Bricker’s on the 16U Elite AAA team in his third season with the Bobcats program, and Filion described him as a big, tough defenseman. Weick said he was truly honored to be selected for the All-Star game.
“Being given the opportunity to represent myself as well as the Bobcats organization in front of all of the scouts was one of the best experiences in my playing career,” Weick said. “Competing with and against some of the top prospects in the country was a very exciting experience. The competition and intensity level during the game was outstanding. Everyone was looking to show their best and leave everything on the ice every shift.”
Winslow is a defenseman on the Bobcats’ 18U Elite AAA squad and is an extremely skilled player, Filion said. He’s in his fourth year with the program.
“It meant a lot to me that my hard work paid off and got me recognized by the league,” Winslow said. “It was a great experience. All of the players out there are tremendous hockey players and will likely end up playing juniors somewhere.”
The Bobcats trio said playing in the All-Star game has opened their eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead for them.
Weick said he’s looking at the Western Hockey League (WHL) as the next step in his development.
“Last summer, I attended the Lethbridge Hurricanes training camp, where I was listed and given the option to sign a standard player agreement,” Weick explained. “After talking it through with some past coaches, we decided that to better my development I should come back to the Bobcats for my 16U season and not sign a WHL contract just yet, but it is my goal to secure a roster spot with the Hurricanes next season.”
Bricker sees his path continuing with the NAHL.
“My hope and drive is to play in the North American Hockey League starting in the 2017-2018 year, moving on to the USHL and Division I hockey,” Bricker said. “Those things push me to work harder and harder every day.”
Winslow nailed down his next step by signing a tender agreement recently with the Aberdeen Wings.
“I want to play in juniors and long term, I want to play Division I hockey and get my degree,” said Winslow.
— Greg Ball