Reba Larose, Florida Hockey Life Magazine
Longevity is the Formula for Their Success
Now entering their 12th season, the Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club remains one of Florida’s top Junior hockey programs. Throughout the seasons, the Tampa Bay coaching staff has been devoted to developing talented players to one day take positions on collegiate rosters, and – for the few fortunate ones – the opportunity to play in the NHL.
An Appetite for Success
Looking back, the Tampa Bay Juniors have a lot to be proud of this season. All year long, both on and off the ice, the Elite and Premier teams worked hard, and showed tremendous improvement.
The Elite team closed out the 2018-19 regular season in February with a first place victory in the Florida division. Then in March, they went on to the USPHL National Championship Game. Additionally, the Premier team finished third in the Florida division.
Although they made great efforts this season, the Tampa Bay Juniors are hungry for more, and are shooting to move up even higher in the USPHL rankings next year – maybe even taking it all the way. The program’s coaching staff will condition their teams for success with a special formula on which the entire program is based upon.
The Pursuit of Greatness
Over the years, the Tampa Bay training and coaching staff has created a philosophy that combines all aspects of a player: who they are on the ice, who they are as a member of the team, and who they are as a member of their community to represent “one self, one team, and one community.” They know that in order to achieve the pursuit of something great, you must first build the individual from within.
For the Tampa Bay Juniors, there is so much more to hockey than simply being a hockey player. The coaches use an inside-out approach to player development that implements a set of core values and beliefs in their training system. One of the main goals of which is for players to pursue greatness in something larger than themselves.
It is with this philosophy that club owner Brett Strot and Head Coach Garrett Strot, aims to unlock each players’ potential and challenge the status quo. Aside from breaking records and playing impressive seasons, Strot says the Tampa Bay Juniors ultimately strive to develop “PRIDE on the ICE”, which consists of:
Positive Attitude – finding the “Good” in all that they do
Responsibility – knowing & doing what is expected of them
Integrity – being authentic & consistent in their core values
Desire – a willingness to learn & become greater
Excellence – paying attention to detail & doing it to the best of their ability
Imagination – intelligence having fun through creativity
Cooperation – working together to achieve a common goal
Emotion – energy in motion
“Our goal is to develop players’ natural instincts of the game, rather than relying totally on a certain system. Although structure is needed, our belief is that the best players are able to play creatively within a system, positively impacting the team,” according to the program’s mission statement.
For 12 years, those involved with the program have pursued this mission to develop strong, talented hockey players and well-rounded individuals. Since their establishment, the Tampa Bay Juniors have sent numerous players on to compete with Division I teams across the country, including Harvard, Cornell, Lake Superior State, Providence and Air Force. Of those players, two have made it all the way up the ranks to the NHL.
The first of which is Jacksonville-native Brian Ferlin who was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2011. Ferlin was part of the team from 2008-09 before attending Cornell and moving on to the NHL. He currently plays for the Bakersfield Condors, an AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, as a right wing.
Following Ferlin is current Dallas Stars left winger Roope Hintz, who played for the Tampa Bay Juniors during the 2012-13 season. 22-year-old Hintz was among the Stars competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year.
Although the Playoffs didn’t go as expected for Florida, there is a sense of pride in seeing a former Tampa Juniors player making it this far in the fight for the Cup. It is this kind of opportunity that the Tampa Bay Juniors program has strived to make possible for their young players since their foundation more than a decade ago.
The Beginning of an Era
Although the team is now deeply rooted on Florida’s west coast, the Tampa Bay Juniors got their start about three hours north across the state in Jacksonville. Back then, they were known as the Ice Dogs.
Established in 2008, the Ice Dogs enjoyed two successful seasons in Jacksonville, nurturing talent such as Ferlin, and teammates Greg Gozzo, who went on to play Division I hockey at Harvard; and Erik Drapluk who played Division I for Lake Superior State.
During their final season in Jacksonville, the Ice Dogs won the Florida Division of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MJHL) with a 25-9 season. Ultimately, the Ice Dogs fell in the USA National quarterfinals that year.
With just two seasons under their belt, the Ice Dogs chose to relocate themselves and find a new place to call home. Brett Strot, who was then the Ice Dogs head coach, started anew in Tampa Bay for the 2010-11 season.
America’s Hockey Coach
With a hockey history whose roots started growing in Maple Grove, Minnesota, Brett Strot has helped develop the junior hockey program in Tampa Bay to greater and greater heights, season after season for the past 12 years. Part of what makes Strot such an effective leader of the Tampa Bay Juniors program is his truly impressive hockey background, both as a player and as a coach.
Now well-known among the local and national hockey communities, Strot began making a name for himself as a forward for the University of Minnesota, where he played from 1986 until 1990. Following his college career, Strot played professional hockey for the Jacksonville Barracudas, as well as for teams in in the ECHL, UHL, ACHL, IHL and WHA2 until his retirement in 1997.
From then on, Strot began coaching and managing the Jacksonville Hammerheads junior team that competed in the Southern Elite Hockey League from 1998 to 2000. Nearly a decade later, after coaching the Barracudas, Strot partnered with families throughout the southeast to form an independent 14U AAA hockey team that advanced to the USA National Tournament in the 2006-07 season. Two seasons later, Strot and his independent team formed the Jacksonville Ice Dogs junior program.
Seeming to have found his calling, Strot has taken on some very important coaching responsibilities throughout the years. Arguably one of his greatest responsibilities was his position as the associate head coach of the Gold Medal winning USA Women’s 2018 Olympic team.
Speaking of the Women’s National Team: huge congratulations are in order as they won their fifth consecutive gold medal this April at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. Well done, ladies!
Strot is also the founder and owner of the Hockey International, an advanced hockey testing and training program in Tampa, providing elite hockey specific training for the Tampa Bay Juniors, and other elite hockey players from around the country, and the world.
The Next Chapter of Tampa Hockey
Since their inception, the former Ice Dogs and the Tampa Bay Juniors have proven themselves as one of the best in developing hockey players in the Sunshine State. Thanks to the guidance of Strot, his brother Garrett, their staff, and the state-of-the-art training facility at Advent Health Center Ice the young men of Tampa Bay have access to many of the resources they need to be great hockey players at the junior level and beyond.
The most important of those resources is the one that comes naturally, the pure talent that a player must possess, and there is no doubt that the Tampa Bay hockey community has plenty of that.
By Matthew DeFranks, Dallas Morning News May 10, 2021
(This is an excerpt from an article on Hintz being Stars “Masterton Trophy Nominee”)
It is tempting to think about what a fully healthy Hintz could have done this season. Even with the injury, he was on pace for an 86-point regular season, something not done in Dallas since Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy with 87 points in 2014-15 and followed it with 89 points the following season, finishing third for the Hart Trophy. For those that know Hintz, this year is no surprise. Two years ago, he played Game 7 in St. Louis with a fractured foot. Last year, he suffered a fractured ankle in the Western Conference Final against Vegas.
He began playing the sport when he was four years old, in part because his big brother Mikko played hockey, as did his best friends. It was a hobby more than anything, until Hintz realized this could be his profession after he was selected for Finland’s Under-16 national team. So as a 15-year-old in 2012, Hintz looked for a way to get better, and arrived in Tampa with no family, no friends, no ability to speak English, just committing himself to becoming a better skater and dedicating himself to hockey. It was with the Tampa Bay Juniors that Hintz first developed his most noticeable trait in the NHL: speed.
For the first time in his life, Hintz worked with a skating coach, and while most of his progression as a player came in Finland, Tampa remains an important chapter in building Hintz’s skillset. Brett Strot was Hintz’s coach almost a decade ago and owns the Tampa Bay Juniors program. “You could see he was really dialed in,” Strot said during a recent visit to the club’s new facility in Wesley Chapel, Fla. “It’s great to see people that truly have a goal and a dream, and understand that it’s a lot of these little details that make a difference.”
Away from the rink, life was a little different for Hintz. He was taking online classes and had a tutor to teach him English. There was one other Finnish player that was two years older than him, acting as part-friend, part-translator during Hintz’s five-month stay in Florida. Hintz lived with Tampa Bay Juniors general manager Kevin Wolter and said, “We basically had everything we needed.” “They liked to play ping-pong at 2 o’clock in the morning sometimes,” Wolter said. “He picked up simple things [in English]: go clean the kitchen, here’s a rag and some cleaner.”
The language barrier that existed was eased when Hintz was at the rink, working with skating coach Natalia (Tasha) Zagorodnikova, who used body language and movements to communicate and rebuild Hintz’s skating stride and technique. She also knew that Hintz could understand English better than he could respond in it. “He was kind of shy, a big teenager and very true that he didn’t get much training back then,” Zagorodnikova said. “When he came from home, he was very, very skilled and we could see that there was a huge potential with him, but there was no structural training yet. So I think we were lucky enough to introduce him a little bit to different things in training with hockey.
” Hintz: “The first thing that comes to my mind is that we had a really good skating coach. I worked with her three times a week, at least, every morning.” Zagorodnikova said she spent about half the time with Hintz off the ice. They worked on the 50-yard turf track at the previous facility in Ellenton, Fla., and on the wooden slide board that helps make minute changes to skating technique.
The biggest change Zagorodnikova made to Hintz’s skating was giving him a wider base to work from. She wanted him in a better position for his big frame to be able to be more grounded to the ice, but also in a position to change directions or crossover quickly.
“Getting him comfortable with how big and tall he is, and how good he can use that against other people in contact, on having that nice leverage,” Zagorodnikova said. “That’s basically what made the difference, I think. Everything else he can take from there.”
Hintz ended up in Tampa due to a connection provided by Tomi Haula, the father of Nashville center Erik Haula. Tomi Haula worked with agent Jay Grossman … who represented former NHL goalie Robb Stauber … who was Strot’s roommate at the University of Minnesota. Strot played professionally for 10 years, and was an associate coach on the gold-medal winning United States women’s hockey team during the 2018 Olympics.
“We teach him how to run,” Strot said. “None of us know how to run. The fastest runners are the fastest skaters. We teach them how to run and move their body in a straight line. Then we teach them how to move their body upwards or sideways.”
Retooling a skating stride on the ice can be difficult since it can be difficult to slow it down. But off the ice, and on the 27-year-old slide board that Strot built himself, small tweaks can be made, like getting Hintz to produce more power from the back of his body by being more grounded with his foot positioning. “You can’t lie on the board, you really can’t,” Zagorodnikova said. “You cannot hide things, you cannot lie on the board. You can really feel the differences. You can do it slowly, you can do it fast when you’re ready.”
As a teenager, Hintz suffered from back issues and growing pains as he transformed into the 6-3, 220-pound wrecking ball he is now. Still, Hintz had 20 goals and 15 assists in 20 games during his time with Tampa Bay Juniors.
“It is mentally very hard,” Zagorodnikova said. “I think this is toughness you need, he had. He went through hard times. He pushed through it, he worked hard. He continued to do it. So I’m not surprised he’s playing through the injury and is mentally tough.”
Strot and Zagorodnikova are quick to mention that Hintz was responsible for continuing his training after he left them around Christmastime, and that his success in the NHL stems from his consistent hard work. “You can learn things in a week, a month, six months, but then are you going to keep applying it beyond that?” Strot said.
Zagorodnikova: “At the end, we can give him something and it’s up to him to take it. And he did.”
In the last decade, Hintz has risen the ranks: from second-round draft pick to World Junior gold medalist to promising prospect to franchise cornerstone. Hintz is no longer potential waiting to be realized. It’s realized.
Someone like Hintz that left home to a foreign country as a teenager, playing through multiple fractured limbs and on a groin that needs surgery clearly loves the game of hockey. So what is it about hockey that Hintz loves?
“It’s just the game,” Hintz said. “I think everybody has the same answer. You have the group of guys here and you can play together and everybody wants to win. That’s the reason we come here every day and try to get better.”
Photo by Tom Fox
04/26/2019, 12:45pm EDT
By Sean Shapiro; The Athletic
ST. LOUIS, Missouri — You can’t teach speed, right?
That’s the old cliche and mantra we often use about professional athletes, no matter the sport. An athlete’s ability to get separation from an opponent or change gears is often chalked up to natural ability they must have been born with.
But that’s only partially true.
Natural speed exists, sure, but those who have potential to fly around the ice can be taught to be faster. It’s a lesson that helped define Stars forward Roope Hintz, who without a backstory looks like someone you would expect to fit that “you can’t teach speed” idiom.
“No, I wasn’t always the fastest,” Hintz said. “Maybe by the time I was 17, but I wasn’t like faster than everyone. It was training and teaching, everything, that’s how (I got fast).”
During these NHL playoffs, Hintz’ speed has stood out. With more eyeballs tuned into Stars games on the national stage, the 22-year-old Finn has grabbed attention with his dashes and adventures through the neutral zone. His ability to cycle the puck and hit another gear to get away from an opponent, along with his flowing head of hair, create what could be a signature look for Hintz if his, ahem, star grows.
Throughout this season Stars coach Jim Montgomery has spoken about how Hintz’ speed first turned him into an NHL player and then set the table for him to evolve into a true top-six forward, one that internally solved the Stars’ second-line center questions after this year’s trade deadline.
The foundation of that speed was forged in an unexpected location when Hintz was a teenager.
“I was playing in Florida, there was a skating coach and since I wasn’t in school all day I spent more time with them,” Hintz said. “They were teaching me better techniques and stuff. That changed things a lot, I had a skating coach (for the first time), I got better.”
Hintz spent most of his youth career playing for Ilves back in Finland, but in 2012, when he was 15, he spent a season playing for Tampa Bay Juniors in the Empire Junior Hockey League. It was a connection set up by Tomi Haula, the father of Vegas Golden Knights forward Erik Haula, who was acting as a family advisor for Hintz on his hockey career.
“I wanted to go outside Finland, I think that was important,” Hintz said. “You learn some English too, it was a good experience.”
Brett Strot coached Hintz that season and is the owner of the Tampa Bay Juniors program.
“I remember him coming over, he was only 15 and he was just learning the language,” Strot said on Thursday. “But right away you could see he had a great personality and he was really passionate about hockey. He was a good player, he was fun to work with, everyone really got along with him. I actually ran into some of his ex-teammates recently and we were talking about him.”
Hintz left for Tampa somewhat unrefined. After a year in Florida he completely transformed how he attacked with speed and pace.
“Roope always had good hockey sense and good skills, and was unselfish and used his teammates well,” Strot said. “But speed was probably the thing that he was lacking a little bit in becoming an elite high-level player.”
Hintz did specific speed and acceleration training during his time in Tampa. Sprint workouts became part of his routine off the ice and he worked with Tampa’s skating coach, Natalia Zagorodnikova, to make sure he was maximizing each stride and getting the most out of his game.
It was like a golfer re-working their swing; a simple tweak here and there makes everything else go so much smoother.
“It was great timing for him to be here. He was 15 at the time, about to turn 16 later that year. And that’s your speed window, 13 to 16,” Strot said. “You can get faster beyond that, but that’s a critical time for players to develop.”
In 20 games with Tampa Bay, Hintz was dominant. He had 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in 20 games and was briefly called up to the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL. The experience gave Hintz a taste of how important his potential speed could be in the North American game on the smaller ice surface.
There is naturally less time and space on an NHL-sized rink. Bodies are confined within tighter quarters and getting to that space when it’s available becomes paramount.
“It’s more physical and faster, you have to win battles to space,” Hintz said. “It’s good, I liked it.”
Hintz only spent one year in Florida, but took the lessons from Zagorodnikova to heart. When he returned to Finland he started working with an individual skating coach there as well, and he started to pop up on the radar of NHL scouts during the 2013-14 season.
A year later Dallas drafted him in the second round, 49th overall, in the 2015 NHL draft. If you ask Stars personnel, Hintz really started to take off after the 2016 World Junior Championships. Finland won gold and Hintz flew under the radar with names like Jesse Puljujärvi, Sebastian Aho, and Patrick Laine stuffing the scoresheet for the Finns.
“He was very good during that tournament, he didn’t get as much attention because of things that Laine was doing, but that was really telling for us he was close,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “We had him do one more year in Finland after that, but he was really on the right track from there.”
Playoff performances only solidified that thought. With HIFK during the 2017 Finnish playoffs, Hintz had 14 points in 14 games. The next season he was one of the Texas Stars’ best players with 12 points in 22 contests as the Dallas AHL affiliate reached Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals.
Now Hintz is making waves in the NHL playoffs. He had an assist in the Stars Game 1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, and if Dallas is going to advance to the Western Conference finals Hintz is likely going to play a large role.
“It’s exciting to see Roope having an impact, they talk about him all the time watching the NHL network, they are always bringing up his name,” Strot said. “You could see at a young age he was always talented, he had good vision for the game, and had good skill. But getting to the NHL is not easy. He really had to work at his game and it’s good to see that a lot of that speed stuff has paid off. When you’re passionate about something and trying to get to those high levels, you have to work, and he worked.”
(Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Rookie forward scored twice in series-tying win
by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer
April 18th, 2019
Read More Here
By TBJ Staff
Former Tampa Bay Juniors Defenseman Luke Perunovich committed this week to play hockey at Providence College starting in the 2018-19 season. The Friars, a member of Hockey East, recently won the NCAA Division I Frozen Four in 2015.
Perunovich played with Tampa Bay during the 2015-16 season before playing the last two years with the North East Generals of the NAHL.
“Luke came to us from one of the top High School programs in Minnesota and needed a chance to play in all situations and get a lot of ice time,” said Head Coach Garrett Strot, “For him to make the leap to come to Florida to start his junior career and to have his dedication and commitment payoff is great to see. I’ve known his family for many years and am very happy to see his dream come true!”
“You could see his skill set right away,” said Owner/Head Coach Brett Strot, “The first time I saw him was at our first practice that season and right away I told my brother ‘this kid has some potential’ and to see him go Division I is great.”
Luke becomes the first player to play for the Tampa Bay Juniors to make a Division I commitment. Earlier this year, Roope Hintz became the first player to play for TBJ to be called up to the NHL. (Dallas Stars)
The Tampa Bay Juniors wish Luke and his family the best of luck in his continued hockey journey at Providence.
Parker Elvy - Madison, WI
Jory McWilliams - Bloomington, MN
Ryan Vlaisavljevich - Woodbury, MN
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Brenton Wadsworth - Tampa, FL
Dillon Scammon - Orlando, FL
University of Cincinnati
Perry Giannino - Palm Beach, FL
University of Kentucky
Luke Perunovich* - Edina, MN
Curtis Hansen - Prior Lake, MN
Christian Louria - Wexford, PA
Rochester Institute of Technology
David Tmej - Bradenton, FL
Anna Maria College
Peter Celatka - Prior Lake, MN
Iowa State University
Alec Murano - Whitefish Bay, WI
Concordia University, WI
Dylan Gluck - San Juan, CA
Lake Forest College, IL
Evan Hoffberg - Tampa, FL University of Tampa
by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent
Roope Hintz needed a full season in the American Hockey League to prepare himself for a future role with the Dallas Stars, and the forward prospect has shown Stars management how far his development has come.
Hintz, 21, a second-round pick (No. 49) in the 2015 NHL Draft, has played a major role in helping Texas, the Stars' AHL affiliate, reach the Calder Cup Final against Toronto (Toronto Maple Leafs).
Texas won 2-1 on the road in Game 2 on Sunday to even the of the best-of-7 series 1-1. Toronto had won 10 consecutive playoff games and also had a 13-game home winning streak, including the regular season, before the loss. The next three games in the series will be in Texas, starting with Game 3 on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN2).
"It's good to go back to Austin now with one win [in Toronto]," Hintz said. "We have confidence."
Dallas took a patient approach with Hintz and kept him with Texas all season. His success this season could put him in contention for a full-time job in Dallas next season. Hintz has attracted considerable attention from Stars management and earned the trust of Texas coach Derek Laxdal.
"Roope has taken some huge strides," Laxdal said. "One of his assets is his speed. He is a big body (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) who can skate at a high speed, make plays at high speed."
Hintz also has a good hockey mind and playmaking ability to complement those physical attributes.
He is second among rookies in the playoffs with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 17 games. He had six points (three goals, three assists) in the six-game series win against Rockford (Chicago Blackhawks) in the conference final. His overtime goal in Game 6 clinched Texas' spot in the Calder Cup Final.
Hintz's playoff performance followed a strong regular season; he had 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in 70 games in his first season in North America. He had spent the previous three seasons with Ilves of Liiga, the top professional league in his native Finland.
His 20 goals and 153 shots on goal were second for Texas this season.
Laxdal is not one to hesitate to shake up his forward lines as he sees necessary, but he's mostly left Hintz at left wing on a line with center with Brian Flynn, a veteran of 275 NHL regular-season games, with other players rotating at right wing on the line.
The AHL tests most young players, and Hintz had the added challenge of adjusting to the North American game.
"I have learned the small-ice game better," said Hintz. "It's less speed here, a more physical game."
Laxdal has leaned on Hintz to use his size and strength, assets that he can utilize more on the smaller North American ice.
"His biggest challenge throughout the year has just been playing with that consistency and playing a little heavier," Laxdal said.
That message has sunk in for Hintz.
"It's good when we do that," Hintz said of sticking to Laxdal's message. "We [force opponents to] turn pucks over.
"I try to work hard every day, play my best game, and just do my best."
He has a big fan in Laxdal.
"He has had a good playoff for us and been a big part of this drive, and he is going to be a big part of this series," Laxdal said.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Monday, October 16, 2017
Team USA Support Staff Also Unveiled
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Hockey announced today that Brett Strot (Tampa, Fla.) will serve as associate head coach and Paul Mara assistant coach (Belmont, Mass.) to previously announced head coach Robb Stauber (Medina, Minn.) for the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team and 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team.
“We have a terrific coaching and support staff,” said Reagan Carey, USA Hockey director of women’s hockey and general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. “Brett has incredible passion and vision for this team and continues to be an integral part of our success, while Paul has been a terrific new addition to our team with his focus specifically on our defensive core.”
ABOUT BRETT STROT: Strot has been involved with the women’s national team since August 2012 and most recently served as an assistant coach with Team USA for the eighth time at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, where he helped guide the team to a gold medal, the seventh for Team USA in the last eight world championships. Strot was also on the staff for the IIHF Women’s World Championship in 2015 and 2016.
He also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2015 and 2016 Four Nations Cups, and a pair of games against Canada in December 2016, including the Team USA Winter Champions Series. He served as an assistant with the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team at the Under-22 Series vs. Canada in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
ABOUT PAUL MARA: The 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship marked the second time Mara served as an assistant coach with the U.S. Women's National Team. He served in the same capacity for the U.S. Women’s National Team for a two-game series vs. Canada in December 2016.
The defenseman played parts of 12 seasons in the NHL and was a bronze medalist with Team USA at the 2004 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
Team USA Support Staff Also Unveiled
NOTES: USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams… All members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee … The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will take place Feb. 8-25, 2018, in PyeongChang, South Korea.
For more info, contact Andrea Mazzarelli (Andrea.Mazzarelli@USAHockey.org/ 719.538.1169)
Brian Ferlin and Tampa Bay Jr Head coach Brett Strot at NHL Draft
From his Providence (AHL) and is eligible for tonight's game. Read more at CSNN.
By TBJ Staff
Wesley Chapel, FL - Former Tampa Bay Juniors forward Roope Hinz has been called up by the Dallas Stars. Hinz, who has been playing with the Stars AHL team, was called up yesterday. He did not dress, but his debut is expected in the next few days.
Hinz played for the Tampa Bay Juniors in the 2012-13 season. He had 20 goals and 15 assist for 35 points in 20 games. Later that year he was called up to a tier 2 team.
"Roope came to us as a 16 year old and right away you could see his high hockey IQ." said TBJ Owner/Coach Brett Strot. "He was a very creative player and had this passion to play the game and get better."
Hinz was drafted in the second round by Dallas, #49 overall, in the 2015 draft. He is the second player, joining Brian Ferlin who was taken in the fourth round by Boston in 2011, to play for Brett Strot in the Tampa/Jacksonville organization.
Former Tampa Bay Junior Roope Hinz won Gold Wednesday with Finland defeating Russia 4-3 in overtime at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Hintz scored in the semi final win over Sweden to help put Finland in the Gold Medal Game.
Hintz, an assistant captain for Team Finland, played with the Tampa Bay Juniors in the 2012-13 season scoring 20 goals and adding 15 assist.
Former Tampa Bay Juniors player Roope Hinz signed a 3 year entry level contract with the NHL Dallas Stars. Roope played with TBJ during the 2012-13 season with the USP3 team, averaging over a point a game before being called up to the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL.
By Brett M Bruneteau and TBJ Staff
The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club is proud to announce its affiliation with the NCDC's South Shore Kings. "South Shore was one of the two teams we were hoping to get an affiliation with," said Head Coach Brett Strot, "They are a first class organization and with us having a team at the premier level now this will only help in our recruiting of top talent."
by Irwin Fletcher
The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club have 9 players on their roster from the State of Minnesota, leaving the “State of Hockey” for “Hockey Paradise” to help further their hockey careers. Players Ryan Vlaisavljevich (Woodbury, MN), Curtis Hansen (Prior Lake, MN), Chase Jungels (Edina, MN), Nick Hames (St Louis Park, MN), Gabe Heifort (Bemidji, MN), Jory McWilliams (Bloominton, MN), Nathan Nelsen (Hopkins, MN), Johnny Ferguson (Minnetonka, MN) and Peter Celetka (Prior Lake, MN) all decided to leave the Land of 10,000 Lakes and come to the Tampa area to play for the Tampa Bay Juniors HC and to play in the tough USPHL Southern Division.
Co Head Coaches Brett and Garrett Strot both are from Minnesota and use their connections there to help recruit players to come south. “I still live in Minnesota in the summers,” said Garrett Strot,”so most of my recruiting is from there and with many tier 2 junior teams having camps there it makes it easier to see these players multiple times. Minnesota has I feel the greatest pool of talent and we will always have our core of players come from there.”
But what makes these players want to leave a hockey hotbed for the 80 degree winter weather? “The weather is part of it,” joked Brett Strot, “but in reality it’s the training that our program does that brings these players south. We really focus on the speed of hands, feet and mind.”
“Coming from the situation I was in at my high school, coming down and a chance to play for Garrett and Brett was an easy decision for me,” said Team Captain Ryan Vlaisaljevich, “Garrett saw me my junior year in Minots camp and showed interest in me right away. Best decision I could’ve made.”
“The competition is great in the USPHL South.” Said Curtis Hansen, “You have to work hard for everything, every game is a dog fight. You can’t go into the game thinking you’re just going to win because if you go into the game with that mindset you won’t win. Anyone can beat anyone which has been proven already this season.”
“I like how we get a taste of a different style of hockey.” Said Jory McWilliams, ‘We don’t know any other players here or know anything about them. Up north I know someone on every team.”
“The players that come down here enjoy the program we run and the play in the USPHL,” Said Garrett Strot, “It’s great giving players from Minnesota another option for their development and gives them exposure to many schools, and with the opening of the Florida Hospital Center Ice we have a second to none training set up.”
Look for the “State of Hockey” to “Hockey Paradise” pipeline to continue.
Tampa, FL - Before the NHL All Stars bring their skills to Tampa tonight for the NHL Skills competition, ten Tampa Bay Juniors players took part in the exact events Friday as the NHL tested equipment and went through a dry run at Amalie Arena.
With the NHL All Star weekend here in Tampa, event organizers needed players to test the equipment and make sure everything ran smoothly before the nationally televised events take place. The players were able to participate in the same events as the NHL players will and did a new event that will be unvailed tonight.
Jory McWilliams, Parker Elvy, David Tmej, Curtis Hansen, Ryan Vlaisavljevich, Luke Zimmermann, Christian Louria, Daniel Seniov, Saxon Greene and Alec Murano each participated in the different events that showcase the top NHL talents. The events included; fastest skater, hardest shot,accuracy shooting, passing and stickhandling.
"Everyone had an unreal experience", said Vlaisavljevich, "It was a once in a lifetime chance. The guys had a lot of fun and the referees doing the events would come up to us and ask us how our team was doing and how the league is. It will be fun to watch on TV and see how we compared."
"It was a lot of fun doing all the different events", said Seniov,"Just being out on that ice and experiencing all of it."
by D Dunn
Wesley Chapel, FL - The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club is proud to announce that Premier Forward Daniel Seniov has signed a professional contract to play for Viking HC of the Swedish Division II league.
Seniov, from Praha, Czech Republic, came to Tampa last season after playing for his hometown team the HC Sparta Praha. Last season for TBJ Seniov played in 44 games recording 21 goals and 42 assist helping Tampa to a Division Championship and the USPHL Finals.
The Tampa Bay Juniors want to wish Daniel the very best on his start to his professional career!
2/14/18 - Wesley Chapel, FL - The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club is proud to announce that Premier forward Jory McWilliams has officially committed to Bethel University for the 2018-19 season. Bethel is located in St. Paul, MN and plays in the MIAC.
McWilliams, a Bloomington, MN native is in his second season with Tampa. After scoring 42 points last season in 45 games, McWilliams has exploded this season with 89 points so far and leading the USPHL in scoring all season.
"Jory has had an incredible season this year," said head coach Garrett Strot. "Bethel is getting a player that is going to step in right away for them and be an impact."
"Jory is someone we've been keeping an eye on since last season," said Bethel Head Coach Charlie Burgraff, "he has great character and we are excited to have Jory join the Bethel program."
McWilliams had many schools recruiting him and felt Bethel was the right fit after visiting the campus and rink. "It felt right," said McWilliams, "I also want to thank the Tampa Bay Juniors. Playing for TBJ has been the best 2 years of my life. I'm glad I chose to come to Florida to develop as a player. I loved the training and the top notch facilities."
"I can't be happier for Jory," said Strot, "He deserved all the attention he got from schools and all of us with TBJ wish him and his family the best as he continues his hockey career!"
McWilliams is the second TBJ player to commit in the last week joining Parker Elvy (Lawrence U) with still more too come.
by TBJ Staff
The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club is proud to announce that Premier forward Curtis Hansen has officially committed to Bethel University for the 2018-19 season. Bethel is located in St. Paul, MN and plays in the MIAC.
Hansen, a Prior Lake, MN native, has played two seasons for TBJ. In 2016-17 he played 41 games tallying 55 points. This past season Hansen also played in 41 games netting 47 points despite missing 10 games due to an injury.
“Curtis has been a top player for us the last two years,” said Head Coach Garrett Strot. “Bethel is getting a skilled player who works hard both on and off the ice. He definitely will add some scoring to their lineup.”
“Playing in Tampa the last two years has been the best years of my life,” said Hansen. “If I was a high school player looking for a place to play juniors, I wouldn’t think twice about going and playing for TBJ. They have some of the best facilities in all of junior hockey and who doesn’t want to go to the rink in shorts and flip flops every day!”
“It will be fun to watch his college career,” added Strot, “I played college with his dad at Bethel so to see him go there was awesome!”
The coaches and staff with TBJ all wish Curtis and his family the best of luck as he continues his hockey career.
Curtis is the 7th Tampa player to commit to a college this year, and the second one to commit to Bethel, joining Jory McWilliams.
Wesley Chapel, FL - The Tampa Bay Juniors Hockey Club is proud to announce that Premier Defenseman Ryan Vlaisavljevich has officially committed to play hockey at Milwaukee School of Engineering for the
2018-19 season. MSOE is located in Milwaukee, WI and plays in the NCHA.
Vlaisavljevich, a native of Woodbury, MN is in his second season with Tampa. As Captain in 2017-18 season he played in 44 games scoring 8 goals with 21 assist and a plus 23. Prior to coming back to Tampa this season Ryan played with the NCDC South Shore Kings. This season he has played in 24 games with 8 goals and 13 assist and a plus 22.
"Ryan really helped solidify our defense when he came back," said Head Coach Garrett Strot. "He is a tremendous leader both on and off the ice. He is committed to improving every day. I have no doubt he will be an impact player right away for MSOE."
"Ryan is a multiple tool player," said MSOE Head Coach Mark Ostapina, "because of these skills MSOE expects Ryan to have an immediate impact at the NCAA level. Equally important is the fact that he is a high character person."
"It's been an incredible experience." Said Ryan, "The sprint training and skill work the coaches implement has really helped me to improve my overall game as a defenseman. I can't thank the coaches enough for helping me to develop into the player I am today. I'll miss coming to the rink in Tampa but I look forward to my next four years at MSOE."
TBJ wishes Ryan and his family the best of luck as Ryan continues his hockey career.
Ryan is the 3rd Tampa Premier player to commit for the 2018-19 season.