Thursday, August 14, 2014, 11:35PM
- Shawn Hutcheon (High End Hockey Journal)
Each summer High End Hockey has a variety of programs for skaters ages five up to and including National Hockey League players.
One of the most popular programs is the 3 vs 3 league. Teams, comprised of nine skaters and one goaltender, can enter the league or High End Hockey can place players on teams. The ice is divided in half by temporary boards and two games are played simultaneously.
The circuit lasts from early June to the end of August and the teams compete for the coveted HEH Championship t-shirt that each player is awarded after his team wins the playoff round.
This year, the Elite Division, comprised of professional and college players, consisted of ten teams. After a six week regular season then two weeks of playoffs, it all came down to the championship match between the Blues, also known as, the Northeastern University Huskies versus the Senators, a club led by New Jersey Devil Joe Whitney, Winnipeg Jet Will O’Neill, Pensacola Ice Flyers (Southern Professional Hockey League) Steve Bergin and Joe Caveney, Norfolk Admiral (American Hockey League) Steve Whitney, and United States Premier Hockey League standout Tyler Whitney.
It was a fast, highly skilled, back and forth affair but as with most championship games, goaltending was the difference and incoming freshman netminder Jake Theut made several highlight reel saves in backstopping his Northeastern squad to the High End Hockey title.
It is NU’s second consecutive HEH 3 vs 3 championship.
After the tilt, three champions discussed how playing in such a league enhances their skills
Senior Torin Snydeman uses his 3 vs 3 experience to help him become a better offensive player.
“You have to play in small areas,” said Snydeman, who attended the Arizona Coyotes Development Camp in July. “It helps you work on being creative offensively and because there are a lot of goals scored, it gets you used to finishing and capitalizing on your chances.”
Snydeman also likes the freedom of a league that has no coaches or referees.
“It’s fun,” continued the native of Groton, Massachusetts. “It’s exciting because you just like the freedom of not playing the systems that you do during the regular season.”
Adam Reid, a senior, who hails from Chino Hills, California agrees with his teammate.
“It (3 vs 3 league) gets your confidence back up quite a bit,” Reid, an alum of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, explained. “You get to score more goals than in the regular season, create more offense in small spaces, and just being with the guys is fun because it’s a little bit different from what we do during the year (regular season). It’s the purest form of the game and my first time playing 3 on 3. I really enjoy it and I’ll be back next summer. It works for everybody. You can benefit from playing 3 on 3.”
Colton Saucerman, who is entering his junior year at NU, agrees with Snydeman and Reid in that the league helps with being creative with the puck and feels it enhances other parts of his game, as well.
“For me, personally, it helps with patience and on ice vision,” said Saucerman, who hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I like to be creative and make plays and I think this league helps with that. It allows me to try things that I normally wouldn’t try in game situations and I gain confidence. It also really helps me with one on one battles below the goal line.”
Saucerman made it a point to mention that it is a fun circuit to play in.
“This is really competitive,” he said. “Playing against guys like the Whitney brothers and other guys of such high caliber has really helped improve my game and it’s a lot of fun to just go on the ice and try new things.”
It may be no surprise that Northeastern University is one of the premier teams in Hockey East, the preeminent college hockey league in the country. The players on that team have achieved that through countless hours of intense effort on and off the ice. Playing 3 vs 3 hockey is one such method of enhancing their skills and improving their play.
While 3 vs 3 hockey has its critics, one would be hard pressed to make the argument that it has not assisted in giving players of all ages the edge over those who do not participate in such leagues.
High End Hockey Owner and President Jon Hutcheon, who instituted the 3 vs 3 leagues into his company’s programs did so with one belief in mind.
“The point of 3 vs 3 hockey on a small ice surface is to make players think and react quicker,” Hutcheon, who played five seasons of professional hockey before establishing HEH, said. “Despite the ice surface being 200 feet by 85 feet, the game of hockey is played in small areas so it only makes sense that in order to improve your skills and thought processes, you need to play in a confined area. The players really enjoy it and that’s why, mostly through word of mouth, we have more NHL, AHL, and college players, including NHL draft picks, coming here to play each summer. They see, and feel, the improvements they make and take their improved games back to their winter teams which only helps their teams be better also. It’s a win/win situation.”
After winning two consecutive HEH championships, no truer words have been spoken about the Northeastern University Huskies.
Monday, August 4, 2014, 8:43AM
This week we enter the final week of the regular season for Elite 3 on 3. The schedule is as follows:
6pm - Flames vs Nordiques
7:10pm - Gators vs Blues (Rink A)...Blackbears vs Flyers (Rink B)
8:20pm - Kings vs Stars (Rink A)...Capitals vs Coyotes (Rink B)
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 12:08AM
Riley Wetmore (left) and Mathieu Tousignant (right) with Jon Hutcheon
Three players who have spent the past two summer training with High End Hockey have inked NHL deals recently. Chris Kreider (NY Rangers), Mathieu Tousignant (Calgary Flames) and Riley Wetmore (Columbus Blue Jackets) will spend the next 6 weeks preparing for their seasons with HEH.
Kreider, who was a restricted free agent, re-signed with the Rangers after a breakout rookie campaign saw him tally 17 goals and and 37 points in 66 regular season games. After recovering from a broken hand he went on to help the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. In 15 playoff games Chris scored 5 more and added 8 assists for 13 points.
Tousignant joins the Flames organization after spending a year with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. The 5th year pro looks to break into the NHL with the Flames after spending the most of the past four years in the AHL with Texas, St. John's and Milwaukee. The St. Etienne, Quebec native posted an 8-13-21 line to go along with 158 penalty minutes this past season.
Wetmore will be entering his second year of pro hockey after splitting time between Bridgeport (AHL) and Stockton (ECHL) in the NY Islanders system. In 53 total games he scored 5 goals to go along with 11 assists for 16 points as a rookie.
"All three of these guys have been working extremely hard and should build on the success they had last season. They push each other everyday and are great to work with." said Jon Hutcheon of High End Hockey.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 8:14AM
Nolan Vesey Drafted By Toronto Maple Leafs, Brother Jimmy Offers Advice
From the time most young hockey players lace up their skates, they dream of playing in the National Hockey League. And never let it be said that the thought/fantasy never runs through the minds of parents of a youth players either.
All moms and dads spend some time daydreaming of when they will hear their child’s name called out by a general manager at the NHL’s Entry Draft.
This year, that dream became a reality for the second time for the Vesey family of North Andover, Massachusetts when Nolan Vesey was selected in the sixth round (158th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The first time Nolan’s family enjoyed the excitement of the draft came in 2012 when Nolan’s brother, Jimmy, was chosen in the third round (66th overall) by the Nashville Predators.
Jimmy will enter his junior year at Harvard University in the fall, where he has accumulated 40 points on 24 goals and 16 assists in 58 career collegiate games. He was also an integral member of the gold medal winning Team USA at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
Nolan has quite an impressive resume as well. He captained his Austin Prep Cougars squad to the Massachusetts Super Eight tournament championship game in March, 2013. Two weeks later, as a member of the Massachusetts Midget Tier I champion Neponset Valley River Rats, Nolan was on a bigger stage, competing at the 18-Under USA Hockey Midget Tier I National Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The big forward made scouts sit up and take notice in the Steel City with an outstanding tournament. A tournament, from which, the River Rats emerged as national champions.
High End Hockey owner and president, Jon Hutcheon was the head coach of that national championship team and he watched Nolan grow as a player during the midget season.
“During our first game of the season in Providence, Rhode Island Nolan was frustrated because he felt he wasn’t playing his best. I took him aside and told him to relax and just have fun out there. He was one of the youngest player on the team but he went on to become one of our leading scorers and was respected by his teammates for giving 100% every game,” Hutcheon said.
“Playing for Hutch (Jon Hutcheon) was the best decision I’ve made in hockey. He taught me a lot and had confidence in me which helped me get to where I am today.”
The younger Vesey took that work ethic to the South Shore Kings of the United States Premier Hockey League last season and promptly won the circuit’s scoring title with 26 goals and 40 assists for a total of 66 points in only 48 games and committed to the University of Maine.
High End Hockey Journal sat down with the Vesey brothers after a recent HEH three versus three summer league game at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, Massachusetts where the brothers discussed what being drafted means to their family and what is in store for each.
Asked what was the initial reaction to Nolan being drafted and both young men answered with enthusiasm.
“We (the Vesey family) didn’t really know what to expect,” Jimmy said. “We were just watching the draft on TV and hoping, and if any team was going to draft him, it was going to be Toronto because that was one of the teams he spoke with. When we saw it, we went crazy.”
“I just gave him a big hug,” Jimmy continued. “I was really happy for him because I know that he worked really hard during the last couple of years and made a lot of strides over that time.”
“It’s a pretty indescribable feeling,” Nolan added. “You work so hard your whole life to be drafted and to have it happen is pretty special. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and to have my family with me made it that much more special.”
Naturally, as the saying goes, blood is thicker than water and Jimmy had some sage advice for his younger brother concerning what to expect at an NHL Development Camp.
“This is my third Development Camp so I know what to expect,” Jim offered. “I just told him not to be nervous and play with the style that’s gotten him to this point. It can be kind of a shell shock at first. It will be the highest level that he’s played, so far. He just needs to take it all in stride and try to impress the people in the Maple Leafs organization.”
Nolan is ready for camp and will use his brother’s advice.
“I’m really excited to get there and learn as much as I can and learn how to be a professional (player). I’ll soak it all in.”
Nolan plans on using what he learns in Toronto this Fall when he suits up for the Black Bears.
“I leave for school about two weeks after I return from Canada and will begin getting ready for the college season,” Nolan said. “I’m really looking forward to playing for Maine. I like everything about the team and the school and can’t wait for the season to start.”
While Nolan will use Development Camp to learn how to be a pro and to help prepare for his first collegiate season, Jimmy’s objectives for his third Development Camp will be a little different.
“Well, at the first one, I was just getting my feet wet,” Jimmy explained. “Last year, I felt more comfortable and this year, I’m looking to try to go in and kind of be a leader for the younger guys and also impress all the people in the Predators organization and show them that I’m one of their top prospects.”
Nolan and Jimmy Vesey have trained under the watchful eye of Jon Hutcheon and his High End Hockey staff for the past three off seasons but Hutcheon’s relationship with them goes back further than that.
“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching each when they played at the midget level and it’s been fun to see them improve and achieve dreams that so few are able to do,” Hutcheon said. “We’re very excited for them and can’t wait to see what the future brings for the Vesey boys. Their father, Jim Sr., played in the NHL for St. Louis and Boston. It would be great to see his sons follow his in footsteps.”
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 1:23PM
Monday, May 26, 2014, 12:13PM
mALATESTA tO hEAD tO qmjhl!
Congratulations to Zach Malatesta (Wilmington, MA) on his recent signing with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Malatesta played the 2013-14 season with the Boston Jr Bruins in the USPHL. In 42 regular season games, Zach scored 3 goals and chipped in 13 assists for 16 points. Malatesta's game exploded in the USPHL playoffs where he has 6 points in 6 games, helping the Bruins secure their berth in the USA Hockey Tier 3 National Championships. At Nationals, Malatesta added 3 assists in 5 games while helping the Jr Bruins win a National Championship.
Malatesta now turns his sights to the QMJHL in the Canadian Hockey League. Making the move will mean that Zach forgoes his NCAA eligibility because players in the CHL receive a small stipend each week. He becomes the 3rd Jr Bruins alumni to sign with Moncton in the last 2 years.
Good luck to Zach next season and see you this summer!
Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 10:30PM
Power Edge Pro Visits HEH
High End Hockey always strives to bring the best products to our players and facility. This week, Don MacAdam brought his Power Edge Pro system to HEH and our players. Don, the Hockey Sensei, has a long coaching background that includes the NHL (Detroit Red Wings), AHL, ECHL, Japan and the QMJHL. MacAdam currently runs Power Edge Pro in Canada and has become the best skills instructor north of the border. Don has trained three of the past four Memorial Cup winning teams, along with Nathan McKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Jonathan Huberdeau, Josh Ho-Sang, Connor McDavid and more.
No skills company in the country has Power Edge Pro and we are excited to be the first one to use it. "It was a great workout and created game-like situations that are hard to create." said on NCAA Division 1 hockey player who was on the ice.
You can find more information on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerEdgePro or sign up for any HEH skills program and get to see what all the hype is about!
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:43AM
Helping Those Affected By Bombing
Boston Strong Plays On will be a non profit charity that will help families affected by the Marathon bombings. Our goal is to raise money through events, benefit games, golf tournaments and private donations. All money raised will be donated to families who have children that play or want to play hockey.
"I've been thinking about how we can help since the day the bombings happened. We've had a great turnout at our benefit games, but I always wanted to do more. This is a chance to keep giving back." said High End Hockey owner Jon Hutcheon.
We will be up and running by May 1. For more information, ways to help or to donate please contact Jon Hutcheon at J.Hutcheon@highendhockey.com
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 2:54PM
Flyers Sign New Ferrari
By on April 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM, updated April 15, 2014 at 6:26 PM
VOORHEES, N.J. – Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere doesn’t come from a place where many hockey legends were born.
His hometown is Pembroke Pines, Fla.
When deciding to play college hockey instead of juniors, his choice was a tiny school in Schenectady, N.Y. that has only 2,200 undergrads, Union College.
His future is a hockey haven, and the Flyers couldn’t wait to get the 20-year-old blueline whiz to turn pro after last weekend.
Union College plays with the big boys on the college circuit, and last Saturday they won the NCAA championship at Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers.
One of their biggest heroes in the championship game, a 7-4 Union College win over Minnesota, was Gostisbehere, who scored a goal, two assists and was an out-of-this-world plus-7.
On Tuesday, Gostisbehere opted for forgo his senior year at Union by signing a three-year entry level contract with the Flyers.
This weekend, he’ll make his pro debut in the AHL.
And next season, the kid just may play his way onto a Flyers roster that already has five veteran defensemen locked up to big-money contracts.
“If that’s the next chapter, it’s awesome,” Gostisbehere said in a conference call. “It’s every kid’s dream to play in the NHL one day. I’m just taking it one step at a time right now. “
Make no mistake, the Flyers have fallen in love with Gostisbehere, who went from being a third round draft pick in 2012 with good potential to becoming a big-time prospect.
General manager Paul Holmgren made it clear what he thinks of Gostisbehere when someone asked him Tuesday how much weight the skinny 5-foot-11, 170-pounder needed to gain.
“You don’t want to load down your Ferrari,” Holmgren said.
Gostisbehere skates like he’s a luxury car; he’s fast and smooth. He also has tremendous offensive skills for a defenseman and might be ready to play in the NHL next season.
“It’s not far-fetched,” Holmgren said. “He’s an exciting young player the way he plays the game. It’s going to be a big summer for him to continue to get stronger and prepare himself for the rigors of an 80-game schedule or thereabouts, depending on where he plays.”
First up, Gostisbehere is joining the Adirondack Phantoms for their final two games, home against Bridgeport on Friday and at Hershey on Saturday. After that, with the Phantoms not in the playoffs, he’ll practice with the Flyers in the playoffs, although he’s not permitted to play because his new contract doesn’t begin until next season.
By then, he’ll have a better feel for if he’s NHL ready.
“At this point I don’t even know,” Gostisbehere said. “I haven’t even played a professional game yet. Whatever they want me to do, I’m all ears. I’m just happy to be in the situation.”
He credits his time at Union College for getting him to this point. There, he provided a lot of offense scoring 22 goals and 82 points in 119 games over three seasons while greatly improving his defensive skills under the tutelage of coach Rick Bennett and his staff.
“When I got to Union they knew I was obviously an offensive defenseman, and they didn’t even touch my offense,” he said. “We went right to the D-zone and just worked on D-stuff. They said, 'You're not the biggest guy, so we're going to teach you how to use your stick and your feet. That's your skills, and we're going to use those.'
“I can’t thank them enough. They’re pretty much the reason why I’m at this point in my hockey career right now.”
Gostisbehere has big dreams. He says he patterns his game after two of the NHL’s top offensive defensemen, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Phoenix’ Keith Yandle.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be that good, but I’d definitely like to be.”
Monday, April 7, 2014, 11:00AM
Brett Named MVP, Derek Nets 35
Brett and Derek Mecrones (Medford, MA) have put themselves on the map this season with college coaches. Both players had breakout seasons with the Boston Jr Rangers of the Metrolitan Junior Hockey League by combining for 147 points in just 42 league games. The twins quickly became a duo that no one in the league could contain, let alone try to stop.
Brett, who led the league with a 25-58-83 line, was named the league MVP. During the teams 2nd consecutive trip to the Keegan Cup Finals, Mecrones recorded 8 assists and 10 points to finish the year with 93 points.
Derek finished the season with a 35-39-64 line and added 5 goals and 10 points in the playoffs.
The twins will now look to improve upon their fantastic season this coming summer. "Both of them have tremendous work ethic. They are easy to coach and want to learn. Pair that with their skill set and I think you will be hearing a lot more about them in the future." said Jon Hutcheon of HEH.
Congratulations boys, see you this summer!