The 2023-24 season is quickly approaching! The Pennsylvania Huntsmen have had a busy offseason. The Huntsmen broke into the EHL Premier last season and had a successful inaugural campaign. The Huntsmen finished 2nd in the Mid Atlantic Division, defeated the New Jersey Renegades in the 1st round of the playoffs, but the run came to an end against the New Jersey 87s in the Division Finals.
In a season of firsts, the Huntsmen are gearing up again for another one. The success of the Premier team has now led to the Huntsmen gaining a spot in the EHL. The organization will now have two teams at the junior level skating out of Power Play Rinks and that is a big step for the organization. Having both teams (EHL/EHLP) helps the recruiting process, especially for younger players. The organization can see potential in a younger player, and they can develop in the EHL Premier and then climb the ladder within the organization and move up to the EHL team and beyond. It also gives flexibility during the season; players can move up and down as necessary when a team might be short due to injury.
Head Coach Blaise Kilroy and Assistant Coach Lou DeCola are back on the bench for the Premier Team and getting ready for year two. Matt Reid is the Head Coach for the EHL Team. Reid played NCAA Division I at Clarkson University, played professionally in Europe and in the ECHL. He also runs Reider Hockey, which is a program to help develop players and get them noticed by other recruiters across the country.
Training Camp has wrapped up for both teams and now full practices are in effect. The teams are working hard on and off the ice preparing for the season. There are a few familiar faces on both teams so here’s what Ryan Arendes (EHL) and Luca Palachick (EHLP) had to say about the teams’ progress and how things are overall.
“We had a good first year and surprised a lot of teams. Coming into training camp, it was exciting to meet the new guys. Coming back for my second year, myself, and the other returners are trying to help out the newer players. There are kids who haven’t played juniors before, and we understand that, so we are trying to show them the systems and guide them through the journey.” Palachick
“It’s been great,” says Arendes. “The pace is faster, day in and day out it’s a battle. Everyone has high energy. We are all working hard, and Coach Reid has done a great job so far and knows what he's doing. We’ve bought in to what he's been saying and teaching. It’s nice coming back here because I can get the older guys acquainted with the area and things like that, but also, I’m looking up to the EHL guys that have come in. I want to hear about their experience and learn from them because they went through a whole year in the league.”
The hard work continues for both teams as the season is just a few weeks away. Both teams will start their season on the road. The EHL team will face-off against the New Jersey 87s on September 15th while the Premier takes on the Philadelphia Little Flyers on the 16th.
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By: Joe Sindoni
Play by Play Announcer