Florida Eels Premier and Elite Face-Off Against the Palm Beach Typhoon This Weekend – Home and Away Series

The Florida Eels Premier and Elite teams square off for the first time this season against their East Coast rivals the Palm Beach Typhoon this weekend. This will be the Eels first set of home and away games of the new season. The Eels travel to West Palm Beach on Friday for its first away series of games while they will return home for its home games against the Typhoon on Sunday. The Eels and the Typhoon always have some very competitive games and this weekend no doubt will be no different.

 Despite the fact that the Eels had a better season record then the Typhoon last season, it means just that. In Junior hockey last season means that: Last season. Teams are re-tooled with hard pressed recruitment and player development. We can surely expect Palm Beach to come in with strong Premier and Elite clubs. In fact, the Typhoon and the Northern Cyclones are owned by the same group and they work very closely in off season recruitment. The Cyclones have steadfastly been one of the strong programs in the USPHL so we can look forward to some added help there. Moreover, GM Scarpaci echoed, the Palm Beach Typhoon were one of the most improved organizations in the Florida Division last season, so we expect to see measurably steps upward in the standings.

The Eels had a very successful season openers against the Atlanta Mad Hatters. Premier 3-0 and Elite 2-1.  They are looking to build on that early good start. Each game is very important whether early in the season or right down to the final set of games. Although the Typhoon had a few hiccups against the Tampa Juniors in their season openers, the Eels will not take them lightly or for granted.

Come join us in person on Friday or on Flohockey. Of course, if you are in town on Sunday, join us at the Fort Myers Skatium. No doubt this is the best hockey in town. Help us celebrate and defend our Divisional Championships. Go Eels!!!!!!!!

The Florida Eels want to Congratulate Nate Haas for being Selected ERES Elite Team Player of the Week

The Florida Eels want to Congratulate Goalie Nate Haas for being Selected ERES Elite Team Player of the Week for the week September 29th 30the and October 1st.  Nate backboned the Eels Elite team  to its two wins over the weekend Home and Season Openers over the Atlanata Mad Hatters. In two games he allowed a stingy 3 goals  for a 1.5 GAA and a .959 save% He was selected as number one star of the game and 2nd star of game two.

Each week the Florida Eels will select its ERES Player of the Week from its Premier team. ERES  is the Eels corporate sponsor and a strong supporter of our Eels Junior Hockey Organization

The Florida Eels want to congratulate forward Matthew Perry for being selected as the Florida Eels RYCON Premier team’s Player of the Week

The Florida Eels want to congratulate forward  Matthew Perry for being selected as the Florida Eels Premier team’s  RYCON Player of the Week September 29th, 30th and October 1st.  Matthew had an incredible 3 game series against the Atlanta Mad Hatters where he scored 3 goals and notched 4 assists for a 7 point weekend. Matthew is a newcomer to the Eels from Dayton Valley AB Canada. He was selected as First Star of the game and twice 2nd Star of the game. He was instrumental in piloting the Eels Premier team to a 3 game sweep of the Mad Hatters where its scored 20 goals over the weekend and positioning itself into First Place in the Florida Division.

Each week the Florida Eels will select its RYCON  Player of the Week from its Premier team. RYCON is the Eels corporate sponsor and a strong supporter of our Eels Junior Hockey Organization


Recap of the First Two Days of the Atlanta Madhatters vs the Florida Eels

Well, the season and home opener has proven to be very strong in the first two days of games. One thing for sure, the Mad Hatters are one of the most improved programs in the league. The Mad Hatter’s Elite team is very deep. Last season they had two strong lines. But we readily witnessed, this squad is very deep in talent. They have 4 lines that are very good. They have some wheels and drive to our net consistently. They are a much tougher team using their body very effectively. Despite their stepped-up physicality, they are a much cleaner team than in the past.

On Saturday, the Eels upended the Mad Hatters 2-1 and today they best Atlanta 3-2. For the Eels it gave us a great opportunity to test our new guys. We have a good deal of returning veterans but with 50% rookies, you never know how they make the adjustment to Juniors.  The coaching staff was indeed impressed with our guys across the board. In fact, we saw all of the scoring on Saturday was from young guns – 2007 date of births.

Today, once again the Eels Elite team was victorious with a 3-2 final. But the win was not easy. It took our patterned smothering fore-check and suffocating back checking to thaw the Mad Hatters. The boys did out skate Atlanta and no doubt had the edge in skill. GM Scarpaci echoed, that was to be expected. We have been training tirelessly, for over 3 weeks at a clip of 4-5 hours per day. This is the hallmark of the Eels program: to arrive 3 ½ weeks ahead of the season openers and train like never before. We have a staff of 5 coaches and players endure unparrlaared training, demanding unwavering commitment and dedication to our systems. It isn’t easy playing for the Eels. Players need to be 100% committed.

There is a reason the Eels come out “Hot” out of the gate. We expect to be November ready in September. New comers need to jell in with the veteran players as well. This is all part of the process. On Monday the Elite team closes out the 3 game weekend. Game time is 9:00 am. The Eels are looking to capture sweep while the Mad Hatters are looking to avenge its 2 losses.

On the Premier side of the equation, the games have been equally competitive. Last season we all experienced the improvement of the Mad Hatters  Premier team. They went form 4th place to 2nd place up ending the Jt Blades, the Palm Beach Typhoon and the Tampa Juniors taking 2nd place overall in the Florida Division. But clearly significantly behind the Eels. This weekend, the Mad Hatters came in trying to close the gap on the Eels.

On Saturday, the Hatters looked quite impressive in period one holding tight with the Eels shift by shift. But the Eels took over in period two putting past 7 goals on the Mad Hatters netminder enroute to a crushing 10-5 defeat. The Eels offense took complete control and looked very much like last season despite having 50% newcomers. The boys were overwhelming and impressive.

Today, the Mad Hatters were much more disciplined and played a tighter game. The Mad Hatters forced the Eels into overtime ending regulation 2-2. However, it only took the Eels a few seconds of OT 3 on 3 to score and close out the match. One thing for sure we started to see some very talented skill set for m our guys. They were putting on a clinic at times. The Hatters goalie was stella turing away shots upon shots holding back a potential repeat of a double diegt Eels performance.

Well, both Eels teams close out the 3 game series Monday at the Skatium Be sure to join us  9:00 am for Elite and noon for the Premier squad.

This Weekend The Eels Have Their Home Opener and Season Opener

Good luck to the Florida Eels Junior Hockey Club in their opening weekend series against the Atlanta Madhatters! It’s always exciting to start a new season and see how the teams have improved. Coming off a successful season with both the Elite and Premier teams winning the Florida Division and reaching Nationals. That is  a lot to be proud of.

With returning veterans and new players joining the ranks, it’s an opportunity to showcase their skills and contribute to the team’s success. Our players have been working really hard over the last 3 weeks. 4-5 hours per day 7 days per week. What commitment, determination and dedication towards their Eels team.

The Atlanta Madhatters have also made improvements and brought in high-level talent, so it should be a competitive weekend of hockey. Go Eels!

USPHL Elite 2023-24 Division Preview Series: Florida


By Joshua Boyd / USPHLElite.com 


The Florida Elite Division gets down to its first business this coming weekend. The league’s southernmost division features one of the new teams for this season, as the Bold City Battalion kick off their inaugural season Sept. 22 with a three-game run against the Florida Jr. Blades.

Last year, the Florida Eels and Tampa Bay Juniors were the division’s representatives at the USPHL Nationals in Utica, making it two straight trips for the Elite Eels, and three straight trips for Tampa Bay. Those two organizations clearly represent the iron of the division, but that doesn’t mean they are invincible by any means. In 2020, the Atlanta MadHatters pulled off a big upset against the Tampa Bay Juniors, and the Eels fell that season to the former Charleston Colonials – unfortunately neither team was able to build off these wins as the Nationals were canceled due to COVID-19.

The MadHatters and second-year Palm Beach Typhoon both brought some big guns to the offensive table last year, so they’re always fun to watch, while the Jr. Blades are hoping for a big bounceback season.


Florida Eels

Season Opener: Sept. 16 vs. Atlanta MadHatters

Based on recent history, you’ll see the Eels hovering at or near not just the top of the Elite Florida and the Elite overall standings. They always have such a prime amount of talent on their Premier team that their Elite team could sometimes almost be a second Premier squad. You have to squint (or just have a veteran coach’s eye) to see the small differences between their two teams.

“Our Elite team has a good mix of youth and experience. With about a third of our group being returners from last year, it helps continue the culture of winning and development we’ve had in recent years,” said Head Coach Mitch Hill. “Our team has pace and looks to play fast and a smart style of hockey.”

The Eels will be one of the older Elite teams in the league featuring nine 2003-born players.

“The biggest difference between last year and this year is the experience and maturity we have on the roster. With nine ’03’s, that helps the younger players have older veterans to lean on throughout the year,” added Hill.

On the back line, we wish good luck to any teams trying to get past All-Star blueliner Sean Burke and fellow ‘03 J.J. Diaz. Forwards Marc Ghafari and Jackson Carnes (28 combined points) will “aim to take bigger roles with this year’s group,” added Hill.

In terms of newcomers, Jake Miller stretches that term as this will actually be his sixth USPHL season. He was in the Islanders Hockey Club Midget program from the USPHL 15U to 18U levels between 2018-22, and played briefly in the Elite last season with the former Nashville Spartans Elite team (they are Premier only this year) before gaining additional Tier III experience elsewhere.

“Jake looks to bring his junior hockey experience and bolster the defensive back end of our group,” said Hill. Up front, the Eels are excited for Alex Cochran (‘05) and Fynn O’Neill (‘03).

“Alex, out of Frisco, Texas, has had a tremendous training camp and will look to continue progressing through the year as a solid forward for our group,” added Hill. “Fynn looks to add to the offensive success as well.”

Hill can’t wait to get started this weekend just to see how much better all the Florida Elite teams have become.

“I think this year will be a very competitive season in the Florida Division. Every team had positives to take from last season and with the newly added Battalion, the intensity and competitiveness will be brought up,” added Hill. “There definitely will be no games you can ‘take off’ in the Elite Florida Division this season.”


Tampa Bay Juniors 

Season Opener: Sept. 15 vs. Palm Beach Typhoon  

The Juniors saw a lot of overhaul between their two teams, thanks to a heavy advancement of players to the college ranks. That reason is Head Coach Garrett Strot’s favorite, as he is always happy to reload after an advancement mission accomplished.

“Just like our Premier team, our Elite team is totally new with a handful of returners,” said Strot, who coaches the Elite alongside former NHL player and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba. “We will once again have a young team but we’re excited about the skill and talent of the group.”

When Strot looks at last year’s Elite team and compares it with this year’s team, he sees even more size on what was already a pretty good-sized, yet mobile, blue line corps.

“We have some pretty good sized defensemen for the Elite level. I thought last season our defensemen were the strongest group we ever had here on Elite but feel this year’s group could be better,” he added.

If you have to bring back a couple players, why not bring back some All-Star talent? The Juniors did just that with the return of defenseman Carter Trussler and goaltender Dylan Bruce. Bruce posted a .921 save percentage last year in 24 games, while Trussler – a local product coming from Mitchell High School of New Port Richey – put up 25 points from the blue line in playing all 44 regular season games.

In addition to the obviously solid leadership core provided by Bruce and Trussler, the Juniors are excited about some new talent including forwards Kevin Rosello and Jacob Munkwitz and defenseman Lucas Gonzalez, all of whom Strot said “have stood out and we feel each will make an impact.”

Rosello is a former Mitchell High teammate of Trussler’s and has represented Team Puerto Rico, the island of his birth. Jacob Munkwitz joins the Juniors with two years of USPHL junior experience already under his blades, and Gonzalez is entering his second year of USPHL junior hockey.

The Juniors are certainly confident in their ability to make it back to the upper echelons of the Florida Division.

“We feel, as the season progresses, that we will be right there with the top teams in the division,” said Strot. “The Eels will once again be the team to beat.”


Palm Beach Typhoon

Season Opener: Sept. 15 at Tampa Bay Juniors

The Typhoon, like their first opponents the Tampa Bay Juniors, will be an almost entirely new team when they take Elite ice on Friday. Many players have moved up to the Premier, so the team will be one to watch from the beginning. Owner, General Manager and Head Coach Joe Flanagan foresees a deeper team than the 2022-23 squad.

“We are not relying on three or four guys to produce like last year, so we’re more balanced this year at Elite just like at the Premier level,” said Flanagan. “We have good players who compete hard and have some decent size. We didn’t look at the team and say ‘we lost this guy, so who’s replacing him?’ I feel pretty decent overall with the players we have.”

In terms of returning players for the Elite Typhoon, Flanagan could only look at two players right off the bat in forward Aaron Lentz and defense Frank Delvecchio. Lentz was strong up front with 28 points in 38 games last year, and Delvecchio was tops in blocked shots last year with 67 over his 42 games.

“Lentz and Delvecchio are exactly type of guys we like to have. They compete every shift, they’re hard-nosed, tough kids, and they’re really coachable,” said Flanagan. “Lentz had a great year last year, and he was on one of our top two lines all year long. He’s a good leader, too. I’d classify Frank as a defensive defenseman. He leaves it all out on the ice every game.

“With just two guys returning, it’ll take time for our newcomers to adjust to how junior hockey is, but it’s a pretty good group so far,” added Flanagan.

The coach does expect Xavier Solomon, who comes to the Typhoon from the Pittsburgh Vengeance Midget AAA program.

“He has been impressive in camp so far, with good skill and he’s strong,” Flanagan said. “He’ll have an immediate impact on the league.”

It is never easy to push through the historic forerunners of the division, but the Typhoon picked up good wins over the Nationals teams last year and they hope to add even more and perhaps stand with that group when all is said and done.

“I expect the same from the division as I’ve seen the last two years. We’ll fight for a playoff spot like last year, and it’ll be a battle to the end,” said Flanagan. “You might have the first couple seeds locked in early, but you’ll have two or three teams fighting for those last two spots. It’s all a grind. We were in fourth a lot of the year last year and ended up in third. It’s a battle for positioning.”


Atlanta MadHatters

Season Opener: Sept. 15 at Florida Eels

The MadHatters had quite the race towards the end of the season with the Typhoon as both pushed for No. 3, with Palm Beach taking that spot in the end by just four points. Atlanta’s coaching staff feels like they may have the young talent and the determination to win those types of races down the stretch, while continuing to develop and promote players to higher levels of junior hockey and also to college hockey.

We are excited about the roster we have put together this year. We have brought in a very good young crop of local players, combined with talented guys from all over the world,” said Head Coach Tyler Casillo. “With only two players who have played at the Elite level before, it will be interesting to see how we deal with tough challenges a season brings and the maturation of our players.”

Casillo is brand new to Atlanta this year, coming over from the San Diego Sabers, so he is excited to put his stamp on the program going forward.

“With it being my first season in Atlanta, I wanted to build on the success the program has had over the last few seasons. We wanted to bring in a young core of players that we can develop and move up the ladder,” added Casillo. “I think the major difference in this year’s team compared to last year is the lack of experience at the Elite level. We are extremely young, which is exciting for us as a staff. We really like our group and starting off with the Eels will give us a great test to start the year.

“The Florida Division is one of the most competitive in the entire country. I think this season will be no different with the clubs getting stronger every year. We are looking forward to the challenges our division brings,” he added.

This strong competition will be taken on by a group of players who may be young on the surface, but Casillo is very excited about these athletes.

Watch for ‘06 forward Grayson Betts out of Langley, B.C., who should make an immediate impact, along with ‘05 forward Kolton Miller, who has played with the AAA teams of the Lincoln Stars and Des Moines Buccaneers. Georgia natives Riley DeWitt (both ‘06’s) join from the MadHatters 16U and the Florida Alliance 16U programs, respectively.

“Our goaltending will be crucial for us this season. We have an unbelievable goalie room this year,” added Casillo.

Jackson Bernier joins with a season of experience at the USPHL Elite level, and is “someone we expect to be a great leader for us.” Christian Amato comes from St. Augustine Prep and the Philadelphia Little Flyers AAA program and “can make a major impact for us.”

“Devin Diller is a local talent who has had great success in our MadHatters youth program for years and we are excited to see him make the jump to Elite this year,” added Casillo. “I think these three will give us the ability to win every night.”


Florida Jr. Blades

Season Opener: Sept. 22 at Bold City Battalion 

The Blades, who experienced a bit of a tough season last year, know that they have once before moved back up the standings after a down season. Between 2020-21 and 2021-22, they doubled their points to rise from fifth the first season to third place in the standings the next year. It’s time for another push northward.

“We are returning quite a few players from last season,” said Doug Rose, the Jr. Blades’ Associate Head Coach. “Our record did not reflect the development we saw in each of our players. I think we have a ton of skill that we have learned to play as a team leading into this season.

“We brought in young talent again this year,a strong group from our 16U affiliates that we are excited about,” Rose added. “However we have a heavy ‘veteran presence’ this year.”

Watch for Sam Gusty, Levi Todd, Payne Vanderhied and Max Stek to be veteran voices up front. All registered in double digits for points last season. All are ‘04’s and ‘05’s so they are going to be pushing for promotions to the Premier team and other higher levels of hockey. Back on the defense are ‘06’s Brinson White and Zach Barta along with ‘07 Liam Corwen.

Among the newcomers, Maks Matys, an ‘07 from the Florida Jr. Everblades 16U team, “shows a ton of skill at the blue line.”

Watch for Greyson Betzold and Maksim Paulikis, a teammate of Matys’ on the Jr. Everblades 16U’s, among the forwards after they’ve been “showing a lot of promise at training camp.”

Rose expects a much-improved overall performance for the Jr. Blades Elite squad this year, even in a tough-as-nails Florida Division.

“Our division proves strong every season. I believe we have shown a lot of growth over the span of the summer and like what we are bringing in,” added Rose. “I’m excited to get things going and see how each team has changed!”


Bold City Battalion

Season Opener: Sept. 22 vs. Florida Jr. Everblades 

Welcome to the Battalion era! Bold City kicks off its season at home in Jacksonville, Fla., beginning next Friday, Sept. 22.

Taking the helm of the team is former Tampa Bay Juniors coach Rett Vossler, and with so many new and exciting teams, the Battalion are built for the future around youth.

“We are excited with what we have here in Jacksonville this year,” he said. “We assembled a really young team that has a lot of upside. The ceiling for this team is being pushed higher every day with their work ethic.”

Two Elite Battalion players to watch for early on are ‘07 Kaden Powell and ‘05 Ray Johnson. Powell is from Forest Hills High in Pennsylvania, and Johnson comes in with Tier III experience from the EHL Premier.

“Kaden is an ‘07 forward from Pennsylvania that has really impressed us throughout camp, he’s tenacious and has natural scoring instincts,” added Vossler. “Ray Johnson is a guy that is all out, all the time. He’s as tough and intense as they come. He’s the player every team wants in their lineup.”

Vossler, who has been around the USPHL Elite in its current form since its 2017 inception, is excited to test his team in the Florida Division on a week-to-week basis.

“The Florida Division has made a name for itself in the USPHL, we know that every game is a dogfight and you have to fight for every inch. We are excited to be able to play in such a tough division,” he said. “To become the best version of yourself, individually and as a group, you have to be challenged every day. That’s what we get in the Florida Division.”


Kelli O’Connor Plas Joins The Florida Eels Canadian Scouting Staff

On behalf of the Florida Eels, I would like to extend a warm welcome to We are excited to have Kelli on board as one of our Eastern Canadian Scouts, specifically for the  Ontario Province. Kelli’s extensive experience and involvement in hockey, both as a player and a coach, make her  a valuable addition to our team.

We are impressed by Kelli’s accomplishments in the hockey world, including her involvement with Moose Hockey Sports Management and her ownership of the Niagara Moose Hockey not-for-profit hockey school. Kelli’s expertise and knowledge in scouting for various levels of hockey, from Minor AAA to College/University and Junior, will greatly contribute to our recruiting efforts.

At the Eels, we take pride in our strong presence in Canada and are confident that she will play a key role in expanding our reach. Her passion for hockey and dedication to the sport align perfectly with our organization’s values.

Once again, welcome to the Eels family, Kelli. We look forward to working closely with you and achieving great success together.

USPHL Premier 2023-24 Division Preview Series: Florida


By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com 


The Florida Division is one week away from getting back into regular season action, and all six teams are definitely excited for their chances to make some noise in a very competitive division. Among the teams hitting the ice are the Florida Eels, who have qualified for every single Premier National Championships tournament going back to the first of the current Premier league in 2018. They reached the championship game in 2021 and they’ve made the semifinals the past two seasons, so they’re always a going concern for teams both in and out of the division.

The Florida Jr. Blades and Tampa Bay Juniors have also made recent Nationals trips, while the Bold City Battalion are new to the group and are hoping to make a big impression right off the bat. The Atlanta MadHatters and Palm Beach Typhoon won’t settle for anything less than a high playoff spot and will both be shooting to make Nationals debuts in 2024.


Order is 2022-23 regular season finish.


Florida Eels

Season Opener: Sept. 15 vs. Atlanta MadHatters

Along with the Eels’ Nationals perfect attendance record, they rank fifth all-time in regular season points since 2018 with 351, and their 1,136 goals in the last five seasons are third in the Premier. To put it simply, they are a handful and a headache for opponents across the league every time they take the ice, having humbled more than half a decade worth of forwards, defensemen and goaltenders.

“We definitely have a feeling of excitement around the potential of this team,” said Head Coach Frank Scarpaci III. “There’s a lot of skill and a lot of experience with this group. I have to really like the way this offense looks, with some proven goal scorers that have already produced in this league.”

They’ve also generally been leaders in college placement for the Florida Division, and that is their greatest pride, even if it makes re-loading each year a little bit tough. They always manage to just put in new threats every time around. Again, a headache and a handful.

“We lost some big players from last year’s teams that are starting their college careers, guys that have been here for two or so years. We’re excited for them, though we also have returners that are ready to step into those roles,” said Scarpaci. “Through training camp, they’ve instilled a culture of consistent hard work that has fueled us for a few seasons now. So, to be honest, our day to day seems similar, our build seems similar, and now it’s just about learning what we need to learn and getting on the same page.”

The team brings back some names that will lead to furrowed brows and lost sleep – Maverick Crupi, Jacob Godbout, Noah Trathen and Jared Salminen, scorers 4-7 on your 2022-23 leaderboard, with a grand total of 188 points between the quartet. Crupi and Godbout both crested the 50-point mark last year. “All were over a point per game last year,” added Scarpaci.

“Players like Anthony Zebley and Devin Shepherd have been with me for three years. Those two and Justin Deshaies have had a really great camp and look ready to make big jumps,” he said. “I love what I’ve seen from Brayden Goddard, Mark Phillips and Braeden Bzovey on the back end. Tobias Bell was awesome for us last season in net, too.”

The team always brings up strong talent from their Elite program, keeping a clear pathway for all players in their organization to succeed and make it to the college situation that is every player’s best fit. Lorenzo Marchetta – who scored an ESPN Top 10 goal in last year’s Elite season – joins Alex Clingerman and Adamo Di Re. This trio makes the logical step up to Premier after all three were Florida Elite All-Stars last year.

“Clingerman, Marchetta and Di Re were all such good Elite scorers that our staff feels they can make a big jump this season,” Scarpaci added. “There’s a lot of new players that have really shown some great things leading up to the start of the season.”

Matthew Perry joins as a three-year Premier veteran already, and Sebastian Potter had a fantastic Premier debut season last year.

“Both have already had really successful seasons in the USPHL and they’ve been really fun to watch,” said Scarpaci. “Both are really smart players.

The Eels saw some stiff challenges all through last year and especially the vast year-over-year improvements made by Atlanta and Palm Beach. Tampa Bay, as justified by their Nationals trip, were a tough draw every time the Eels faced them as well.

“Everyone is getting better every season, which is a credit to the other organizations,” said Scarpaci, of the Florida Division. “There’s no easy night for us down in Florida. We have our work cut out for us, so we’re working on getting ready. Atlanta is only [a week] away, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”


Atlanta MadHatters 

Season Opener: Sept. 15 at Florida Eels

The MadHatters enjoyed a 15-point year-over-year improvement from 2021-22 to 2022-23, giving them their best Premier season in the first six years of the league. You can’t imagine they would stop there. New head coach Tyler Casillo joins the team with a mission to make this 2023-24 Atlanta team even better than last year’s new best standard.

“I am extremely proud of the way our roster has taken shape. We decided to go with an older roster this season, with only three rookies on the Premier roster,” said Casillo. “I think our veteran experience will be crucial for us this season. Our defensive unit is one that I am particularly excited about, we are extremely deep with talent all the way through the order.

“With it being my first season in Atlanta, we are looking to build on the success that they have had over the last few years,” Casillo added. “The Madhatters have continued to improve year in and out and I am looking to build on that success and take it even farther.”

The team has some big guns they are ready to unleash yet again, like third-year Hatter Eoin Reager and fourth-year Hatter Sebastian Zamborsky.

“We are very excited to welcome back Eoin Reagor to our group. He is an offensive defenseman who has played at the Elite and Premier level in the USPHL. Eoin brings a ton of offensive ability,” said Casillo. “Sebastian Zamborsky is another returner who had a strong end to his season last year. I am excited to see if he can build on that and really take off this year.”

Additionally, Casillo is seeing strong camps early on from Hayden Spencer, Will Blair and Colby Sims, all major standouts for the Elite MadHaters last year.

“These are guys we are excited about and we’re looking for them to take a bigger role within the club this year,” added Casillo.

An older team that helped lead the MadHatters to their historic success in 2022-23 also meant that many have moved on to the collegiate game, the main mission for any junior team.

“We have brought in a ton of new faces this year, with only six returners in the organization. A few players that stick out that I am excited to see produce this year are guys like Michal Novak. Michal is a talented player with the puck and was a Pacific Division All-Star last year, netting 75 points,” he said. “Jacob Heurman is an ‘03 from the NA3, whom I expect to come in and have a big age-out year for us. Jake is a shifty 200-foot guy who really brings a ton of experience and talent to our forward group.

“Tommy Lavigne also joined us from the NA3. Tommy jumps off the page to you almost immediately at 6’4, 200 pounds. He will be leaned on to help anchor and lead our D core,” Casillo added. “Finally, our goaltending will be pivotal this season with Sam Edmands and Herman Rendan leading the charge. We feel very strongly about our team’s goaltending and defense as a group heading into the season.”

And with that, they’re off to make some more history!


Tampa Bay Juniors

Season Opener: Sept. 15 vs. Palm Beach Typhoon

Finishing one point behind Atlanta to finish in third place was ancient history by the time Tampa arrived in Utica for the 2023 National Championships. They pulled off the 3-over-2 “upset” in the Florida playoffs to end Atlanta’s historic best season one stop short of their ultimate goal.

The Juniors got to hit the Big Dance floor of Nattys for the first time at the Premier level since 2018 (they also qualified for the canceled 2020 Nationals). Now that they got a taste, Garrett Strot’s team certainly wants to head back to that sweet buffet table once again. Camp looked like a great start to these aims, even with a mostly new team following another very successful college advancement campaign.

“After the first week, I like our players’ compete level and hockey sense. I feel we will have some good depth throughout the lineup,” said Strot. “We definitely are a bigger team this year. It is also a totally new team as only two Premier players return from last season, but we have a good mix of players that have played juniors prior to this season.”

Defenseman Nick Oliverio and forward Tyler Cullen stand as the only veterans of the Premier Juniors. Cullen stands as a good two-way forward who put up 11 points in 42 games and Oliverio plays a solid defensive blue line game, posting four points in 42 games.

The Minnesota born-and-bred Strot family (which also includes team owner and Garrett’s brother Brett Strot) joined with GM Kevin Wolter in putting in great re-loading work, which not surprisingly features some Minnesota talent. One standout from the land of 10,000 lakes is Ethan Dominy, a standout for Mound Westonka High School with a year of USPHL Premier experience under his blades. Sweden has provided a couple strong prospects in Oliwer Lundberg and Gustav Petterson, a defenseman and forward, respectively.

Savva Serdiuk, a USPHL Premier veteran goaltender from Ukraine, and Mio Eloranta, of Finland, are ready to get the job done in net. Javin Fisher is a promising player from Philadelphia who skated most recently with the Philadelphia Little Flyers and has USPHL experience with the Midget Palmyra Black Knights organization.

So get your weekends cleared for the big Florida rivalries, which Tampa Bay essentially has with everyone to the nth degree.

“The Florida Premier Division should once again be one of the strongest divisions from top to bottom in the USPHL,” said Strot. “The Eels will be the team to beat as they have won it the last 2 years.”


Palm Beach Typhoon

Season Opener: Sept. 15 at Tampa Bay Juniors

Like fellow Florida Division-mates the MadHatters, the Palm Beach Typhoon also saw a huge year-over-year improvement. They put up 19 points in their inaugural 2021-22 season and then blasted that to pieces with a 47-point campaign to claim the No. 4 playoff spot last year and leave two teams on the outside looking in. Co-owner, GM and Head Coach Joe Flanagan likes what he sees for yet another climb up the standings in Year 3.

“I would say that we feel pretty good, we have good balance this year, from the top to the bottom of the lineup,” Flanagan said. “I see a little upgrade from last year, after just being out there for three days at this point. There are more skill guys this year so far, and on the back end I’ve literally got some guys up from Elite, but it’s a mostly new core of defensemen, and they’re good so far. Overall, the depth I’m seeing now is good.”

That includes the net, where Jacob Tinson comes in with two USPHL seasons (one in the Premier) already to his credit.

“I think Jacob will be a really good goalie, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen,” he said.

Tinson will be joined by players coming up from the Elite team, including All-Star forward Lucas Nichols, a top 10 scorer at that level, and promising ‘06 defenseman Charles Boulet. They will join just a small group of returning Premier Typhoon in All-Star forward John Brace and Derwin Hauser, as well as local West Palm Beach product Joey Murano.

“They’ve played big minutes and are back, so we do have some good, experienced players returning,” Flanagan said.

When he gets his Typhoon in the room, he makes well sure that they know they’re getting into a knock-down, dragout battle every night. Nationals berths are tough to come by, and it’s a challenge even making the Florida playoffs now.

“It’s just tough, a grind, a battle. Usually during the course of the season, teams elsewhere might be able get away with two points without giving their ‘A’ game, but not here,” said Flanagan. “There are no games in the Florida Division where you can not bring your best game and expect to get the best result.”


Florida Jr. Blades

Season Opener: Sept. 22 at Bold City Battalion

A trip to the 2022 Nationals for the Jr. Blades was unfortunately for one of the Premier’s original franchises, not followed up with the type of success they would have wanted as a follow-up. Doug Rose, new Head Coach of the Premier team with Rod Simmons moving into more of a GM role, said that the Jr. Blades hit a bit of a reset button in 2023.

“My first overall thoughts on our rosters is that we are young and blue collar players. We brought in a younger batch of 06’s, 05’s and 04’s from high end youth programs that are hungry to climb the junior hockey ladder,” said Rose. “I think we are going to be a healthy blend of grit and skill. Our strengths this year will be our physical play as well as our playmaking ability. We have also brought in strong goaltending between both [the Premier and Elite] clubs.”

Along with the youth, Rose sees his 2022-23 teams as being in great shape right from the get-go.

“Our early observations as we start training camp is that our guys have come into town in shape and ready to go,” added Rose. “We have some returning players that have put in the work over the summer that look great on the ice and are ready to step into leadership roles.”

On defense, the trio of Nick Storti, Ty Kukielka and Charlie Maratea are all back, along with forward Taylor Boudreau. Kukielka is an ‘04 and the other three are ‘03’s. Slovakian import Adrian Kovacik showed a lot of promise as an ‘05 last year, putting up 10 goals. Watch for even more from him this year.

Goaltender Tim Miller comes out of a strong Mercer Chiefs 18U AAA squad to jump into the net alongside fellow ‘04 Ryan Pico (Genesis Hockey).

In terms of bright newcomers, watch for New Zealander Axel Ruski-Jones, who is coming in from Ontario Hockey Academy, along with Cooper Ireland (Twin City Thunder), Julian Gavin (Valley Forge Minutemen) and Kain Walker (Philadelphia Blazers).

“All are starting to show promise already,” said Rose. “Each player brings something different to the table in the sense of their game. However all of them play a hard nosed blue collar style.”

Rose doesn’t expect any breaks this year – he knows that if the Jr. Blades are to push up from where they were last year, it’ll take every player pulling their hardest in the same direction.

“It is hard to say how much will truly change. Our division always proves to be tight until the very end. I believe both of our teams are proving to be stronger than last season and we are looking for different results,” he said. “We take pride in playing in this division and are excited to see how the rest of the division did over the summer.”


Bold City Battalion

Season Opener: Sept. 22 vs. Florida Jr. Blades

One of the few new teams in the USPHL this season, the Battalion (playing out of Jacksonville, Fla.) are boldly heading into a new – but not necessarily unfamiliar – territory. Head Coach Rett Vossler had been on the Tampa Bay Juniors coaching staff for their entire Premier existence until taking the Battalion job earlier this year. With his knowledge of the Florida Division driving the team, don’t expect the Battalion to bring any nerves to the table.

“We are extremely happy with the group of young men we have been able to assemble for our inaugural season!” said Vossler. “I am very confident our goaltending is going to be top class, which will certainly help us as an expansion team to get our footing early on.

“We are starting from scratch obviously, so we have painstakingly reviewed the market to find the best possible fits for our program,” he added. “It has been a world-wide search to find the best candidates.”

They didn’t have to go far to sign a dyed-in-the-wool USPHL Premier veteran goalie in Onni Taskila. He played for Vossler and Tampa last year and already has a 29-12-3 record “in a tough Florida Division.”

“He’s a huge piece of what we are going to be able to achieve,” said Vossler. “As well, players like Brett Strick and Kelton Bradshaw are both coming off great rookie seasons in the USPHL.”

In terms of newcomers, Hugo Rova, of Sweden, and Sebastian Elrod, of the USA Hockey U18 National qualifiers Colorado Rampage, are two players to keep an eye on.

“Hugo is a big Swedish defenseman with a ton of skill and invaluable leadership qualities. Rova will be one of the top defensemen in the Premier Division,” said Vossler. “Sebastian Elrod is another really exciting player for us, his speed is incredible. Elrod is a player that I don’t expect to have in our lineup all year, as NCDC teams will be calling for him soon.”

After being a part of many battles over the years, including at this year’s Nationals (and the two years prior for the Elite Tampa Bay Juniors), Vossler knows just how tough it is to win in the Florida – and how to do so.

“The Florida Division has established itself as one of the toughest divisions in this league, year after year,” he added. “I am excited that the Battalion can come in and shake up the division a little bit this year.”

Florida Eels Junior Hockey Teams Prepare to Clash with Atlanta Mad Hatters in Thrilling Home Opening Weekend Showdown


Get ready, hockey fans, because the Florida Eels Junior Hockey Elite and Premier teams are gearing up for an electrifying showdown as they face off against the Atlanta Mad Hatters in a three-game series for their highly anticipated home opening weekend! This thrilling event marks the third consecutive year that the Eels will open their season against the fierce Mad Hatters, and expectations are higher than ever.

The Florida Eels have long been known for their exceptional talent, dedication, and passion for the game, making them a force to be reckoned with on the ice. The combination of seasoned veterans and rising stars on both the Elite and Premier teams promise an unforgettable display of hockey excellence.

The rivalry between the Eels and the Mad Hatters has been nothing short of legendary. Each year, these two powerhouse teams go head-to-head in a battle of skill, strategy, and sheer determination. The anticipation has reached a fever pitch as fans eagerly await the puck drop for this year’s showdown.

This year’s home opening weekend September 16th-September 18th, will feature a series of three games, each more intense than the last. The Eels are setting the stage to dominate the competition and secure their spot as the team to beat in the upcoming season.

Fans will be treated to a spectacle of talent, as the Eels’ offensive and defensive lines showcase their skills. Expect to witness jaw-dropping saves, pinpoint passes, and dazzling goals as the players leave it all on the ice. The atmosphere in the arena is sure to be electric, with fans donning their green and black gear and creating a deafening wall of support.

So mark your calendars and secure your tickets, because the Florida Eels Junior Hockey Elite and Premier teams are set to clash with the Atlanta Mad Hatters in a three-game series that promises to be nothing short of spectacular. It’s a showdown that will leave fans at the edge of their seats and set the tone for an exhilarating hockey season ahead. Don’t miss the action – be part of the excitement, cheer for your Eels, and witness history in the making!

Pre-Season Games This Week

This week the Eels teams will be hosting two Pre Season games to better prepare the them for the upcoming 3 game weekend against the Atlanta Madhatters.  On Monday, the Premier team will battle an inter squad scrimmage. There will be official refs, scorekeepers,  broadcasters color commentators  and on hockey TV .

On Wednesday, the Eels Elite team will take on the Florida Warriors at 8:30 pm. There will be official refs, scorekeepers,  broadcasters color commentators  on HockeyTv as well.

These exhibition games allows the Eels staff, coaches and players to opportunity to do a dry run and get the kinks out before our official opening games.

The game times for these games will be abbreviated.

We  would love for you to join us.