This, that and where it's at

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Friday, 15 February 2013 12:36
By: Randy Russon - Junior Hockey News

I am not sure why the North American Hockey League waited until early February to announce that this year's Robertson Cup championship tournament will be held in Frisco, Texas.
I mean, what was the big secret? 

Having said that, since the NAHL itself and not a member team is hosting the Robertson Cup playdowns for the first time in 10 years, there's no planning pressure, financial or otherwise, on an individual club.
Thus, the fact that the Roberston Cup doesn't start until May 10 and the NAHL is indeed hosting the tournament at league headquarters in Frisco, the decision to wait so long to announce its location and format not only amounts to much ado about nothing, where it is going to be held was such a poorly-kept secret in the first place.
As for holding the Robertson Cup tournament in Frisco for the second year in a row, what's up with that?
The NAHL prides itself as a 24-team league spanning 13 states yet it decides to hold its national tournament in the same city two years running.
So much for seeing the big picture.
So much for the big announcement.
Two of the more-improved teams in the NAHL this season are the Jamestown Ironmen and Minot Minotauros.
Jamestown missed the playoffs in 2011-2012 with a 19-36-5 record but at this stage of the 2012-2013 season is challenging for first place in the eight-team North Division and has a winning percentage of .660.
Minot, on the other hand, was simply awful last season with a 7-49-4 record but a year later, is a solid fourth in the six-team Central Division and is two games above the .500 mark.
What is notable about the turnaround of both teams is that Dan Daikawa of the Ironmen and Marty Murray of the Minotauros are both in their second season with their respective clubs.
It can take time for a first-year coach to put his stamp on a team and in the cases of Daikawa and the Ironmen and Murray and the Minotauros, the second season has seen a total turnaround.
When the Aberdeen Wings acquired 1994 birth year goalie Zach Nagelvoort from the Soo Eagles at the February 6 trade deadline, they picked up a big puckstopper who plays a pro style.
Nagelvoort asked for the trade from the Soo because of his status as the Eagles no. 2 goalie behind 1992 birth year starter Tyler Marble, who has a Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association commit to play at Lake Superior State in the fall.
So even though Nagelvoort left a first-place, North Division team in the Soo for a last-place, Central Division squad in Aberdeen, he figures to be the Wings starting goalie for the final six weeks of the regular season.
Which is fine.
I just hope Nagelvoort, who is also chasing a Division 1 commitment, doesn't feel he needs to leave the NAHL for the United States Hockey League after this season.
The NAHL, to be sure, is a goalie-rich league which Division 1 schools do very well by.
Just look at the number of current NAHL goalies who got Division 1 commitments without having to leave for the USHL.
Besides Marble of the Eagles, the list of Division 1 goalie recruits from the NAHL also includes Tomas Sholl of the Fresno Monsters, Steve Perry of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Tyler Parks of the Minot Minotauros, Robert Nichols of the Wenatchee Wild, Chris Truehl of the Johnstown Tomahawks and Reid Mimmack, who departed the Jamestown Ironmen in January for Bemidji State.
At any rate, back to Nagelvoort and the trade from the Soo to Aberdeen.
To be sure, the Wings got a goalie with a big upside.
But not only did the Soo get a promising netminder from Aberdeen for Nagelvoort in 1994 birth year Paige Skoog, the Eagles also landed J.D. Cotroneo, a mammoth, 6-foot-5, 1993 birth year defenceman as part of the deal.
I have had more than one scout tell me that they think Skoog is on par with Nagelvoort and that the acquisition of Cotroneo by the Soo from Aberdeen in the same trade amounts to highway robbery.
Stay tuned.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2013 12:53