All roads lead to Blaine, Minnesota this week for the annual NAHL showcase at the Schwan Super Rink in this, the league’s 40th season of operation. Scouts and coaches from across the country will be on hand as all 22 NAHL teams participate in four games each from Wednesday through Saturday. The Bruins have dominated the Showcase over the last two seasons, finishing a combined 8-0, and boasting the best mark of any team each year. The Bruins face two new teams along with two established programs at this year’s event.
Wednesday vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (0-1-0) – 6:05 PM : The Knights are the first of two first-year programs that the Bruins will take on at the showcase. The former Dawson Creek Rage (Dawson Creek, BC) NAHL franchise, resurfaces in Pennsylvania as part of the new “East Division.” The Knights elevate their status from the Tier III EHL (formerly AJHL) and have named Tom Kowal as their head coach. The Knights lost their inaugural game to the Johnstown Tomahawks on Friday, Sept. 18th by a 7-3 final score.
Thursday @ Springfield Jr. Blues (0-0-0) – 1:00 PM: The Jr. Blues are the NAHL’s oldest franchise but will take on the Bruins in the first ever head-to-head battle between the two teams. Springfield finished last place in the now defunct North Division last season going 23-31-6. They move to the Midwest Division for the '15-16 campaign and will play their first game of the regular season at the Showcase on Wednesday.
Friday @ Aston Rebels (1-0-0) – 4:30 PM : Relocating from the Rio Grande Valley in Hidalgo, Texas, the former Killer Bees franchise moves to the Philadelphia, PA area to become the fourth team in the East Division. Joe Coombs, who took over as head coach of the Bees in 2013, remains the bench boss in Aston. The Rebels defeated fellow re-locaters, the New Jersey Jr. Titans, 3-2 in their first and only game to date, last Friday in Middletown, NJ.
Saturday @ Kenai River Brown Bears (1-3-0) – 6:15 PM: Tied for the most games played on the early season, the Brown Bears have already suited up four times in the ’15-16 regular season, getting swept by Fairbanks, and splitting a series in Janesville, WI with last year’s regular season champs, the Jets. Jack Gessert’s hat trick goal in their lone win last Friday was an historic one – the first ever overtime goal scored under the new 3 on 3 format. The Bruins didn’t see Kenai River last season, but went 3-2 in five contests head-to-head in the ’13-14 campaign.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAMES –
Fans can watch all four games on FASTHockey.com. In addition, AM 1480 KAUS will carry Thursday afternoon’s game against Springfield, beginning at 12:50 PM with a pregame show. Fans can also listen to Thursday's game online at myaustinminnesota.com Intermission updates from all games will be posted via @theaustinbruins on Twitter and game recaps and highlights will be posted on AustinBruins.com.