BY KEVIN GIER
While the 2014-15 season hasn’t been the best for the St Louis Jr. Blues in the standings, the team’s main goal—developing local hockey players into finely-tuned prospects ready for the next level of their careers—has most certainly been fulfilled. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rosters for the NA3HL’s Top Prospects Tournament, a two-day showcase held in late February where scouts from junior teams and colleges convene in Ann Arbor, MI to watch the league’s best strut their stuff.
Five Jr. Blues players will be amongst the more than 100 skaters taking to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube on February 23rd and 24th. Two of them will be on the divisional Top Prospects team, while three others—more than any other team in the league—will play for a separate team consisting of the entire NA3HL’s best players aged 18 and under.
Here’s a look at the five Jr. Blues tapped to play in the showcase, starting with the divisional selections and continuing with the age-group players:
CHRIS BROWN, D
A steady presence in the team’s top defensive pairing, Brown has had a year to remember for the Jr. Blues. Named an alternate captain to start the year, Brown was given the C full-time following the trade of Tommy Heinzman to the North Iowa Bulls. The 6’, 180 lb left-hander has also posted commendable offensive numbers for a blue-liner, with 3 goals and 18 assists in 38 games played. Most recently, Brown earned a weekend call-up to the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues for their series against Johnstown on January 30th and 31st.
ANDREW BOND, F
The Bethalto, IL-born player did not start out the year in his hometown: he was instead spending his second season with the Cincinnati Swords, where he had finished second on that team in scoring with 19 goals and 19 assists the previous year. However, following a coaching change in the Queen City, Bond requested and received a trade back to St. Louis, despite being the Swords’ leading scorer at the time. Home cooking has worked out well for Bond: in 8 games with St. Louis, he has scored 2 goals and 6 assists, in addition to the 15 goals and 15 assists he notched in Cincinnati.
SAM MADDOX, F
2015 has proven to be quite the year for Sam Maddox, who has grown from a role-player for the Jr. Blues into one of the team’s key forwards. A 5’11”, 165 lb right-hander from Lindbergh High, Maddox has scored five goals and 15 assists in 34 games played, the most notable goal being a short-handed breakaway strike against defending league champions North Iowa. His presence isn’t just limited to the scoresheet, either: during the team’s mid-season leadership shakeup, Maddox was given a role as an alternate captain. He has also had a quality year in Mid-States hockey for the Flyers, potting 11 goals with 23 assists for Phil Maroon’s club.
ADAM HAVENER, F
Maddox’s junior-year classmate at Lindbergh, the man simply known to most as “Haves” has made the most of his second year at the Tier III Junior A level. Already known as a prolific scorer at high school level (this year alone he has 25 goals and 26 assists for the Flyers), Adam has carried that reputation over to the Jr. Blues, with 12 goals and 13 assists in 38 games. Most recently, Havener scored an overtime winner to beat the rival Peoria Mustangs and claim the Jr. Blues’ first win at the Affton Ice Rink since December.
ANDY MCGLYNN, F
After a stellar 2013-14 with the Jr. Blues, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists and being named to the divisional Top Prospects team (where he scored a goal), the former CBC standout and the latest in the McGlynn family hockey dynasty was ready to accept a new challenge: the Springfield Jr. Blues of the NAHL. However, after playing ten games in Illinois’ capital (scoring one goal and one assist) he traveled back down Highway 55 to re-join the St. Louis club. Since then, he has picked up where he left off for Chris Flaugher’s side, scoring nine goals and five assists in just eight games. Next year, he will re-start his NAHL dreams with the Corpus Christi IceRays, where he will join fellow ex-Jr. Blue Frankie Melton.