Youth Hockey Program Sends Six Players to Junior Level
ODESSA, TX - The Odessa Jackalopes announced today that six players from their youth hockey program are moving up to the Junior 'A' Hockey level. It's the highest number of players to leave for a higher level at one time in the program's history.
Mason Desilets, Keegan Kelly, Jesus Mercado, DJ Pile, Corey Reynolds, and Jonathan Voyles will all travel to different parts of the country this winter to continue their hockey careers.
"We're very proud of what these players have been able to accomplish," said Donnie Margettie, Director of Youth Hockey. "It will be a wonderful experience for them to continue playing hockey, travel with their teams, and play against better competition."
Five of the players will be members of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). Mercado, Pile, and Voyles will play for the New Mexico Renegades. This will be Mercado's first venture into junior hockey - he plays defense. Pile and Voyles will begin their second season in New Mexico lining up as forwards for the team.
Reynolds heads to Tulsa, OK to join the Rampage. The center uses his 6'1", 220-pound frame to generate offense from the front of the net. This will be his first season.
Keegan Kelly goes to Colorado as a member of the Boulder Bison. The forward will be coached by Brent Cullaton, who spent eight seasons in the Central Hockey League playing against the Odessa Jackalopes for Laredo and Rocky Mountain. Keegan was captain for his Jr. Jackalopes team last year.
Mason Desilets is traveling north to Pennsylvania to play with the Philadelphia Jackals of the International Junior Hockey League (IJHL). It will be the blueliner's first season on junior hockey. The Jackals are members of the Mid-Atlantic Division in the IJHL.
"Over the last few years, we've tried to improve our youth hockey program and the work of these players is a result of that," added Jackalopes General Manager Joe Clark. "We're not just happy for these six players, but we're happy with the direction our youth hockey program is going as a whole and we hope more people want to become a part of it."
The WSHL and IJHL are member leagues of the "Tier III" level of Junior 'A' Hockey. The "Tier III" member leagues play below the United States and North American Hockey leagues. The USHL and NAHL are the top junior leagues in the United States.
The Jackalopes Youth Hockey Program is also holding its "Penalty Box" summer hockey camp at Music City Mall from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM everyday this week. The camp is sold out.
The Odessa Jackalopes are the Central Hockey League affiliate for the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team will begin its 14th season in the Permian Basin in October 2010. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-PUCK or visiting jackalopes.org.
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