Blizzard hockey: Brookings franchise moves to top of NAHL in placement
The Blizzard organization recently moved into the top spot among North American Hockey League (NAHL) teams in NCAA placement after having more than 60 players reach the collegiate ranks through the 2011-2012 season.
The Blizzard, now located in Brookings, South Dakota, had 34 players reach the Division I level since originating in Alexandria in 2003. Notable players who have headlined that list include Nardo Nagtzaam (Mercyhurst), Paul LaDue (University of North Dakota, drafted by L.A. Kings), Ryan Galiardi (Mankato State, AHL player) and Josh Meyers (University of Minnesota-Duluth, AHL, ECHL, Italian League).
Many of the players who join NAHL franchises do so without a college scholarship. Their goal is to earn that opportunity through the exposure that the league provides. The Blizzard has provided that opportunity as well as any team in the 24-team league.
“The goal of the Blizzard hockey organization from day one has been to move kids on to the next level,” former NAHL Blizzard assistant and current Blizzard NA3HL head coach Jeff Crouse said in a statement. “It is our job as coaches to bring the full potential out of each and every player, and utilize those strengths in the best way possible. Blizzard hockey has a rich tradition that is continuously growing, and I am confident that Blizzard hockey players will continue to succeed and move to collegiate and professional ranks.”