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08

The New York Bobcats were dormant last season in the junior hockey world. The first time in what seems like forever, this prominent Long Island based junior hockey team shut the lights on the 2016-17 year with no real hope or answer for their future in site.

 The Bobcats never had to face an issue like this before, as they were a staple point in the Syosset (Nassau County) area for a long time. Their history goes back to the year 2000, when they become member of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, winning the league playoffs in 2002 and qualified for the 2002 Tier III Junior B National

Championships. In 2003, the Bobcats became one of the charter members of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League, wining league titles in 2006 and 2007.

 Members of the Eastern Hockey League since 2012-13, the Bobcats continued their success, making the playoffs each of the years as a member of the EHL. But, again, the club hit a speed bump at the end of the 2106 season and the Bobcats were left without a home.

 However, that all changed, as the Long Island Royals ownership took over the green and black, and moved them from Nassau county into Suffolk County -- once again becoming members of the EHL for the 2017-18 year.

 Now calling the Dix Hills Ice Arena home, the Long Island Royals will sit out a year after being members of the NA3AHL, where the club recently won the league title. Head Coach Ken Hoey will resume the same duties for the Bobcats, along with Assistant Coaches Stephen Castriota and Mike O'Connell.

 “Making the jump from the NA3 to the EHL is a great opportunity for our organization. Moving into the EHL gives our players more exposure to college coaches and a better opportunity to make the jump to the next level,” Castriota said.

 Last year, the Royals were the first and last NA3AHL Champions and the last Foster Cup winners, as majority of those teams within the old league move on this year to the EHL.

 “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the EHL. This league turns out college commitment after college commitment, which is what all players are looking for in a league,” said Castriota added. “With all the junior leagues now on the East Coast, it’s very important for us as a league to continue to develop players and have them ready to play at the next level.”

 Now both teams join forces, as two powerhouses become one in the EHL Premier Division in 2017-18. For Castriota, nothing is going to change.

 “Our coaching styles are going to stay the same. As coaches, we like to keep things very consistent and maintain that level of coaching no matter what the situation. We will obviously have to adapt to a new league but the things we do work for us and we are confident in that.

 “As a staff, we are looking to set up a solid program that develops players and  leads to success. We are not only here to win games this year but prepare and send guys to the next level will be a primary focus for us in this first year.”

 With tryouts over, the roster is starting to shape up with the season right around the corner. A season that was bright for one team, butdark for another. Now ownership and staff can focus on getting the Bobcats back to its winnings ways.

“As far as our roster things are coming together. Just like any year you have your core group of guys coming back and then it’s about outing the right pieces around them. I feel with the additions we have made and with more to come we are definitely tending in the right direction,” Castriota said.

 Look out EHL, the Bobcats are back.



Posted in: Team News