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Elmira Jr. Enforcers
Season Opener: Fri., Oct. 1, at Buffalo Stampede
As aforementioned, the Enforcers were among the biggest surprises when they started the their first-ever run there with a win over the No. 1 seed. Getting a taste at the top 16 group of teams has energized the Jr. Enforcers ownership and its veterans, all of whom want to get right back there next March.
The team brought in the Elmira Enforcers pro team’s captain from last year, Glen Patterson, as the new bench boss as the former coach is taking the job in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Patterson was also an assistant coach with the Jr. Enforcers when not playing with the pro squad.
“As a staff we really believe in our group this year. We believe we have a great mix of both youth and veteran leadership. From top to bottom they are hungry driven men who look to compete for the good of their teammates and the organization,” said Patterson. “Last year, we had a great young team but we didn’t have many guys with junior experience. This year our team is filled with older players with meaningful junior games played. We will lean on their leadership throughout the year.”
The Jr. Enforcers welcome back goaltender Joe Holguin, defenseman Mitch Clinton and forwards Justin Moccia and Lance Hamilton. Holguin (‘01) will work to get the No. 1 job last year after seeing sporadic action in 2020-21. Clinton, a defensive defenseman, played in 28 games for the Jr. Enforcers last year. Hamilton, an ‘01 out of Honolulu, Hawaii, was one of the Jr. Enforcers top penalty-killing forwards last year. The ‘01 Moccia is excited to bring his veteran leadership to the ice and locker room.
Patterson has brought in several newcomers who he expects will attract a lot of collegiate attention (along with the veterans) while also helping to elevate the Jr. Enforcers’ overall play.
Jared Hayden (‘01) is a third-year USPHL Premier veteran and posted 30 points in 39 contests last year. Anson Smith (‘01) is a fourth-year junior veteran making his USPHL debut this year, coming over from the EHL. Jordan Grella (‘01) is back to the USPHL Premier after looking to play in Canada last year, but seeing his season canceled due to COVID-19.
Ty Ulanowicz (‘03) comes from a strong Cleveland Barons 18U AAA program, while ‘02 blueliner Logan Hawley has experience in such programs as Elite Hockey Academy and the Arizona Bobcats. “
The Atlantic West Division will be quite competitive this year and will be a dogfight,” said Patterson. “Our group will be ready to work come Game 1 through Game 44.”