With the 2013-2014 season now completed for the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League, many fans are reflecting on the great season that encompassed so much. This season the Wings took to the ice with the drive to "Leave No Doubt". The hearts of Wings fans were opened to two former Wings players diagnosed with cancer. The gracious support by those fans also helped organizations in town raise funds. Community events and organizations welcomed the Wings players. And the number one goal of any junior hockey team was achieved by getting players on to the next level.
Overall, the Aberdeen Wings may be done for the season, but the year was successful.
At the end of the 2012-2013 season the Wings struggled to find a win. Then came current Wings head coach Travis Winter from the USHL Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. The Wings finished the season 15-6-3 under the new head coach, but furthermore, regained that winning momentum that got the Aberdeen Wings fans excited for the next season.
Throughout off-season workouts, try-outs, and the NAHL Entry Draft, the new Aberdeen Wings moved into the all-new Aberdeen Wings Hockey Center expansion to the Odde Ice Center. Practices were thorough, tough, and the Wings coaching staff began implementing the motto that would lead them all season long. “Leave No Doubt”.
After playing pre-season exhibition games and the starting the season off in Blaine, Minnesota for the NAHL Showcase Tournament, the Aberdeen Wings opened up with a 5-3 road win at Brookings. The following night, the Wings rolled to a 5-1 win over the Blizzard with well-over 1,500 Wings fans rocking the Odde Ice Center. The 60-game regular season was well underway and rolling.
The Aberdeen Wings have always stood by the saying, “Once A Wing, Always A Wing” referring to the family of former players, coaches, and staff. Former Wings players Brendan Gust and Zach Kraft were diagnosed with cancer. The team held fundraiser for each player with the Aberdeen Wings fans embracing the opportunity to help. The team also auctioned off special jerseys early in the season to raise funds for Safe Harbor, a local organization that helps aid those affected by domestic violence. The heart of the Aberdeen Wings organization and especially its fans was overwhelming and truly a sight that puts a smile on your face. The team would also like to thank the Bismarck Bobcats, Austin Bruins, Minot Minotauros, and Brookings Blizzard. Though we may be competitors during the season, when it comes to helping out junior hockey players battle cancer, each of those teams extended their own fundraiser to also help these former Aberdeen Wings players.
From the start of the season, ten Aberdeen Wings players made commitments to play collegiate hockey. Forward Peter Krieger, now in the USHL, made his commitment to Division-I Alaska-Anchorage. Defenseman Steven Johnson, now in the USHL, made his commitment to Division-I Minnesota Golden Gophers. Seven current Wings players made Division-I college commitments this season including forward Colin O’Neill (UMass-Lowell), forwards Jordan Heller and TJ Roo (Bemidji State University), forward Erik Baskin (Air Force), forward Patrick Steinhauser (St. Lawrence), defenseman Jake Horton and goaltender Henry Dill also committed to (UMass Minutemen). More college commitments will come throughout the off-season.
Once again, the Aberdeen Wings fans came out in force. For the third straight season, the Wings have held the #1 attendance in the NAHL Central Division averaging 1,454 with some games having crowds over 1,700.
Though the season is over, the development, training, and experience the players received can now better help them at the next level of their hockey careers, whether collegiate or professional. The hockey operations staff now heads out for off-season tryout camps, scouting, and the NAHL Entry Draft.
Keep checking AberdeenWings.com and following the team via Twitter and Facebook for updates and news.
Leave No Doubt. Aberdeen Wings 2014.