The New Jersey Titans are off to Blaine, Minnesota where they will partake in the 15th annual North American Hockey League Showcase from Sept. 20-23.
Featuring all 23 teams of the NAHL, the showcase will give players the opportunity to play in front of hundreds of coaches and scouts from NCAA schools at the Division I and Division III levels. Thousands of fans will also be in attendance as each team will play four games that will count towards their regular season record.
Coming off two losses to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, the Titans are still looking to earn their first win of the regular season. Their first game on Tuesday will be against the defending NAHL Robertson Cup champions Lone Star Brahmas.
“Honestly, as cliché as this sounds, we’re going to take it one shift at a time,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “We just want to make sure that we win a shift, win a period, win a half and then the hockey game. We’re going to take slow steps as we continue to grow and improve as a hockey team.”
This will also be the biggest road trip for the Titans this season. Unlike last year, teams will play within their own division with the exception of the showcase. Doremus spoke about last year’s trip that saw the Titans go straight from the showcase to Alaska for games against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Kenai River Brown Bears. While this year’s trip will not be as long or involve as much travel, it still provides an opportunity for the players to bond and grow together as a team.
“It’s important to spend time on the road. You get a lot of time together and know each other more personally than you do in a practice environment,” Doremus said. “In a practice, the players go to their respective homes and families, but this showcase will enable them to be together, communicate and go through peaks and valleys together. After a rough weekend against Wilkes-Barre, I also think the road trip couldn’t have come at a better time.”
In addition to picking up some regular season wins at the showcase, players on the Titans’ roster will look to make an impression on the collegiate and professional scouts that will be in attendance. While winning the Robertson Cup is the ultimate team goal, Doremus noted that player development is also paramount in a league such as the NAHL.
“You have to look back to the league’s slogan; a league of opportunity. I couldn’t think of a greater platform for our players to showcase themselves and their abilities and why colleges should recruit them,” Doremus said. “The NAHL does as good of a job as anyone in the country in providing that platform.”
All of the games at the Blaine showcase will be available on HockeyTV.com. Here is the schedule for the Titans:
Wednesday Sept. 20: Lone Star Brahmas @ New Jersey Titans 5:15 p.m.
Thursday Sept. 21: New Jersey Titans @ Topeka RoadRunners 3:30 p.m.
Friday Sept. 22: Coulee Region Chill @ New Jersey Titans 11:15 a.m.
Saturday Sept. 23: New Jersey Titans @ Aberdeen Wings 1:30 p.m.
*Game times are listed in Eastern Standard Time