Wyoming's 1st Hockey Team
With final tryout camps coming up for thousands of would be junior hockey players, the decision on where to play can be a life-changing one. Players and parents alike have to investigate and ask the right kind of questions in order to determine the best situation. USA Hockey has only two certified non-tuition-based leagues (NAHL and USHL), so the numbers dictate that the majority of junior-eligible players will play at the Tier III junior level. With so many options at the Tier III tuition-based model, here are a few reasons that the NA3HL is the best option for the junior-bound player.
Tradition and History
The NA3HL has been around since the mid-1980’s. In today’s ever-changing world of Tier III junior hockey in the United States, the NA3HL is a testimony to the stability and sustainability just what junior hockey should and can be.
The league began as the Central States Hockey League (CSHL) and quickly became a league that build a tradition on moving players onto the next levels of junior and college hockey.
It also established itself as the premier league of its kind in the middle of the United States and Midwest, a tradition that continues today with 22 teams that play
within a tight geographical footprint of 10 states that includes: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
The NA3HL’s tradition is also linked to its alumni. One look at the players and even coaches who have moved onto higher levels of hockey after developing in the NA3HL is one of the main differences in a league who has a proven and quantitative track record of advancement.
Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig, Washington Capitals defenseman Steven Oleksy and Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper are just a few of the current NA3HL alumni in the NHL, which are in addition to the hundreds of those that are playing in the NCAA.
Testimonials Player Statements
My year with the Quake, where to begin? When I first headed to Yellowstone, I didn’t know what to expect because they were a team that had won nine games the season before they just got a new coach and GM (Ryan Theros). However, all I heard from him was amazing things which made me feel more comfortable with the change it was going to Wyoming. When we had our first practice, I knew that we had something different everyone was going 120% and the intensity was amazing.
When in Cody the scenery is amazing. You wake up and go to the rink and see the mountains and it really makes you feel like you are in an amazing place. It is located about 1 hour from Yellowstone National Park. Before this happened, if anyone would have asked me where I was going to play, Yellowstone National Park was definitely not the place I would have guessed. But after this year, it was the best season of hockey in my life. In Cody, the fans are amazing. The team always sell out the rink and when you go around town, fans stop to ask for autographs or chat with you about what a great weekend or bad weekend we had.
The facilities in Cody are amazing. The gym is huge with everything you need to train and help you become a better player. It’s also always open so the players can go in there anytime. The ice you can get on almost any day, and that’s why I improved so much this year. If you want to get better and be on an amazing organization, Yellowstone Quake is for you.
I have nothing but good things to say about the billets, owners, coach and basically everyone in Cody, Wyoming who made my year so memorable!
My name is Taylor Linder and I played with the Quake in the 2012 season. Playing in Cody was one of the best experiences I could have ever asked for in my junior hockey career. The organization was the best from the top down that a young 19-year-old needed. From the board of directors down to the billet homes, it was such a well-run organization. 5 years down the road after my time in Cody, I still stay in touch with my billets from the area and I make it a point to visit frequently. The area in Cody is beautiful and offers so many different adventures. From hiking, to day trips to Yellowstone National Park, to the fishing opportunities all around the area, there is so much to do and offer.
In my 3 seasons, I played with three different teams, and the Quake was by far among the top of Tier III organizations in the country. Despite the somewhat remote location, college coaches and scouts have always found the time to do their research and were always sure to keep in contact. In terms of development, Cody offers a top training area as it sits well-above sea level, something a teenager from Iowa never experienced, but at this point in my life, I had never been healthier. Riley Arena is such a fun place to play with a great fan base from the community. The locker rooms were excellent, with lockers for equipment, and then another separate lounge room. Aside from the area, the team offers great training facilities off-site at one of the sponsors with trainers on-site if anything were to happen or rehab was needed.
My favorite memory of my time in Cody was from the first shift I played in a Quake uniform. It was the first home game of the year, and the arena was full with people, I’d say there were 600-700 people there. I came off the bench and went out and made a huge hit right along the boards on the red line, where the majority of the crowd was in the stands. After the huge collision, the crowd absolutely ERUPTED and the adrenaline was flowing! A moment I’ll never forget…
Overall, playing in Cody for the Yellowstone Quake was one of the best decisions I ever made in my hockey-playing career. I would highly encourage all prospective players to consider Cody and the Quake a top option.