By Steve Silvey, IHSHL President
Illinois high school hockey continued to make history over the weekend of September 19 – 22, 2019. For the second time, Illinois was invited to the prestigious NAHL and NAPHL event in Blaine, Minnesota. The Illinois Showcase team went undefeated against two Minnesota elite 18U Tier I AAA development teams and two NAPHL 18U league teams. In their two years of participating in the NAPHL Showcase, the Illinois Showcase team has a combined record of 8-0. Two other AAA teams from Illinois were in the same division with our Showcase players and returned home with records of 2-1-1 and 2-2.
Competing at the highest levels for four days, the excitement culminated with a thrilling 7-6 overtime win against perennial national powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary’s. The three teams from Illinois shared one common opponent. A veteran Canadian coach from that team said the Illinois Showcase team was the best game and best opponent they saw during the tournament. High praise indeed for Illinois High School hockey.
According to the North American Hockey League website, the NAHL Showcase attracts over 9,000 people in overall attendance. More than 300 professional, college and junior scouts checked in to the event. Every NHL team, NAHL team, and every NCAA team was represented. For scouting purposes, the NAHL Showcase is the premier event of its kind as the scouts and recruiters get their first look at some of the best and brightest hockey talent North America has to offer.
The Showcase team received direct communication from Junior teams about several players, which is a real measure of success for high school participants looking for opportunities to move up and continue playing at the highest levels.
The Illinois team had 5 players in the top 10% of all players for scoring: Brian Dolby, Tom Davis, CJ Parisi, Jack Jones and Sam Ruffalo. Dolby was the second leading scoring defenseman for the entire tournament. A balanced effort, the entire team contributed with 16 players putting points on the board and a plus 11 for the tournament on goal differential. Twelve different players scored goals. Goalies Ben Mazurek and Connor Wall had a combined .846 save percentage and 3.22 goals against average.
The coaching staff was led by Greg Mrofcza (Maine South). Steve Silvey (IHSHL President) was on the bench with Coach Mrofcza. Evan Poulakidas (Glenbrook North) and Nick Iaciancio (Providence) assisted. Mike Mullally (AHAI Director) was the General Manager with help from Jack Weinberg (AHAI High School Committee Chair). The administrative and coaching staff combined almost 100 years of high school coaching experience.
On the ice and off, Illinois high school hockey earned and showed they deserve respect at the national level. They continue to make history. Congratulations to the team.
2019 NAPHL Showcase Team
Connor Wall – Glenbrook South
Ben Mazurek – Barrington
Preston Watt – New Trier
Brian Dolby – New Trier
Kevin Purcell – Loyola
Charles Collopy – Loyola
Evan Izenstark – Glenbrook North
Tom Zschach – Providence
Jack Muir – Glenbrook South
Matt Dahlke – Glenbrook North
Tom Davis – Providence
Charlie Slovis – Glenbrook North
Maximillian Pasiennik – St. Ignatius
CJ Parisi – Barrington
Sam Ruffolo – Glenbard
Charlie Ware – New Trier
Jack Jones – Barrington
Peyton Botich – Providence
Luke Lewis – Deerfield
Marco Rovito – Neuqua Valley
Dan McKay – Glenbrook South
Anthony Papalas – Glenbrook South
Greg Mrofcza, Maine Township
Steve Silvey, AHAI
Nick Iaciancio, Providence Catholic
Evan Poulakidas, Glenbrook North
Mike Mullally, AHAI