Beyond Tomorrow: East Coast Selects

By Travis Howe

Hockey’s Future is pleased to bring you the latest installment of our series on the East Coast Selects program. Travis Howe, one of the co-founders of this organization, brings us his firsthand observations and experiences from this fast-rising developmental program.

2005 Tournament Search

As we head into the third year of our East Coast Selects program, we are consistently looking for ways to add value to the program and to find the strongest possible spring/summer tournaments to participate in. In our tournament “search”, most important to us is competition, exposure, and an exciting atmosphere.

Well-known tournaments that come to mind are the Montreal Mission Cup and the Toronto Prospects tournaments. Although we haven’t participated in the Prospects tournament before, we are looking forward to it this upcoming summer and have heard good things in regards to competition. The past two years, we have been attending the Mission Cup and it has always been an enjoyable experience. The competition has been great, the tournament staff has been helpful and pleasant, and the overall atmosphere has been top-notch.

Although there are many other great tournaments out there, we must be very selective because we are fielding rosters from all over North America and that limits the amount of teams you can play. In other words, it would not be fair for us to play a team formed of “local” players. For that reason, we chose to organize our own tournament this upcoming summer.

The North American Prospects Showcase, better known as NAPS, is a tournament partnership between the East Coast Selects and the Mission Cup. We are allowing a maximum of only eight teams per level which will help to create strong competition. We are also offering assistance in adding a few additional good players to teams. As I mentioned before, our second goal is exposure and we will be posting all team rosters on our website. This information will be readily available to all scouts attending, along with food and drink in a Scouts-Only room. Lastly, our third goal is create an exciting atmosphere for everyone involved. One of the many “additions” to our tournament is a shootout after every regulation game tie which we feel has been successful at the AHL and lower levels in regards to fan response. NAPS tournament will be held July 1 – July 4, 2005 in Cicero, NY (a few minutes outside of Syracuse).

“Adding Value” – ECS & Clarkson U. Camp

As I mentioned before, we are always trying to “add value” to our program. One thing we are really excited for is our invitational camp held at Clarkson University this summer.

We have been a spring/summer program for the past two years but we felt a camp would be highly beneficial to ECS players & others that aren’t a member of ECS. By adding our camp to our 2005 schedule, we now have the opportunity to include other elite players from other organizations from all over North America. A few friends of ours from Sweden and Finland are even bringing a couple of elite players from Scandinavia as well.

Education, excitement, competition, and exposure are all key ingredients to our camp. We have added Head staff members such as Mark Howe, Marty Howe, and John Stevens (Head Coach of the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms) to ensure that these objectives are met.

The ‘89s and ‘90s, although separate, will participate during the same week which is June 19 – June 23, 2005. The ‘91s will participate the following week, June 26 thru June 30, 2005.

Dylan O’Neil personal feature

Dylan O’Neil is a member of our ’90 ECS team and was the leading scorer for the team, collecting 17 points in 12 games.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write about all the wonderful experiences I have had with the East Coast Selects. I would like to start by talking about the amazing time I had in Sweden and Finland. One of my most memorable moments was when we got to play Hammarby. I found them to be a great individually skilled team who also moved the puck very well. It was very exciting to try to keep up with the fast pace game they played. Even with all the skill they had they were still a very physical team. It was also fun to try and match their physical play which was a good challenge. The other really memorable experience I had from the trip was when we got to see a professional Finish team play. It gave us a great idea of the caliber of hockey in Europe, and what it would take to be able to play over there. The next event I would like to talk about is when we won the Mission Cup Challenge. I think what was so memorable about that win was that in the first game we played a huge and physical team from Quebec and lost. However, the second time we played them which was in the finals our boys had the edge and we won the tournament. Two great things that I gained from playing with the East Coast Selects were that I got to meet a lot of great kids and play with some incredible players. One of the best things about playing with the East Coast Selects was the coaching staff. Their confidence in my play inspired and motivated me to reach a new level. I learned a lot from the time I spent with the East Coast Selects and can’t wait for next season.

Dylan O’Neil

’89 Rising Star:

Kevin Shattenkirk – Defenseman –

Kevin Shattenkirk has been a major contributor to our ’89 team’s success over the past two years. He has been the captain of our team when present and led the team by example on and off the ice. Shattenkirk is an extremely versatile player who can play both forward and defense. Also unselfish, he filled in at forward at the Jr. Chowder Cup and was extremely effective. He possesses great hands and has excellent one-on-one skills. His shot from the point is accurate and quick. Shattenkirk is accountable in both ends of the rink and competes every shift.

Shattenkirk led all ECS defensemen in scoring with 21 points (7 goals & 14 assists) in 15 games.

’90 Rising Star:

Kevin O’Neill – Defenseman – Long Island Royals

Kevin O’Neill has great size at over 6’2″ as a ’90. He is a fierce competitor and is very strong in his own end of the rink. As he continues to grow, O’Neill is working on filling out his body. He has proven to be an effective penalty killer with his strength and defensive instincts. O’Neill is strong in front of the net and competes hard for loose pucks. Look for him to have a big year with his Long Island Royals team and ECS in the summer.

’91 Rising Star:
Danny Biega – Defenseman – West Island, Quebec

I went to see Danny Biega play a few weeks ago on November 11 when his team, West Island Royals, played Deux Rives in a matchup of two strong teams. Both teams are members of the Hockey Lac St-Louis League in Montreal.

Nov. 11 Game notes:

Biega played a strong game. He was involved in the play, moved the puck well, and competed hard in all areas of the rink. He completely changed the complexion of the game at one point when he had a big hit at which time his team was trailing 2-0. After his hit along the boards, which excited his teammates, his team went on to score thirty seconds later. That hit changed the momentum of the game, which ended in a 3-3 tie.

General Scouting Notes:

Biega possesses gifted skating abilities and defensive instincts similar to his older brother Alex (who is an ’88 playing at Salisbury Prep). He plays very physical and disciplined. He jumps up into the play when necessary and can create a lot of offense as well. Biega is very strong in his own end of the rink and competes hard for loose pucks. He is a ’91 playing with mostly all 90’s and is doing extremely well. Look for Biega to have an impact year with the ECS ’91 team this summer.