Empire Players/Coach of the Month Selectees, January 2009
Coach: John Walsh
Team: Syracuse Stars
The Stars had a stellar January going 8 for 9 in league play. This surge was good enough to clinch a playoff berth in the National Conference. The Stars always become more dangerous as the season wears on. A lot of the credit belongs to Coach Walsh (Walshy). This is coach Walsh’s 26th season behind the bench. He has been coaching for Don Kirnan and the Stars organization since 1985, when he was an assistant coach for the Jr. B team of the New York Penn Jr hockey league. Since 2000, he has served turns as the head coach of either the Star's Ontario Provincial Tier II League's Jr A team and the Empire B team. The past season, he was the assistant coach of the EJ team. Coach Walsh also worked with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch team from 1995 – 1999 serving first under Jack McIlhargy and then Stan Smyl. Coach Walsh has had several of his former players go on to play in the NHL, AHL, ECHL, SPHL, division I & division III college hockey, as well as the USA program. “My passion is to teach young hockey player’s how to develop their skills, and get them to the next level”
Team: Bridgewater Bandits
Luke Frey is one of the League's premier defensemen. He averages more than a point per game and is 2nd on his Bandit's team in points this season.
Luke had a busy January as the Bandits played 11 games...a full 25% of their season. In 10 games, Luke had 17 points (6-11), including 2 power play goals and a game winner. The Bandits have clinched a playoff berth and will need Luke's consistency on the blue line to be sucessful.
Player: Joe Rackett
Team: New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
After a strong January performance, Joe emerged as the league's leading scorer on one of the League's leading teams. A league veteran, Joe's 67 points at month end have him on a pace to double last year's production. Joe's value is evidenced by his special teams production...almost 30% of his points came on the PP or PK.
In January, his role as a play maker was on display. In 8 games he registered 1 goal and 11 assists as the Monarch won 7 of 8 games. If the Monarchs go deep into the playoffs, Joe's keeping up the pace will be a critical factor.
Players: Collin LeMay
Team: Jersey Wildcats
Collin LeMay has been coming up big for the Jersey Wildcats all season and in the month of January that's exactly what he did. Collin went 2-2 on the month putting up terrific numbers, a .939% and a 2.00GAA. Against a tough New York Applecore squad, Collin had a superb game which featured some acrobatic saves in a 2-0 shutout win. Collin is an athletic hybrid style goalie who has been at the top of the Empire goalie stats the entire year.