USA hockey announced this week the U.S. Junior Select Team for 2019 World Junior A Challenge coming up December 7-15 in Dawson Creek, B.C. Of the 21 players announced, three are names we are very familiar with. Mitch Miller, Matt Knies, and Logan Stein will be a part of a very strong Team USA.

Miller currently plays for the Tri-City Storm (USHL) and is TPH Center of Excellence alumni for our Detroit location. Knies is a teammate in Tri-City and competed in the World Selects Invite with Total Package Hockey. Stein, currently with the Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL), played TPH Thunder AAA through 16U.

Mitch Miller

Matt Knies

Logan Stein

COACH NAURATO AND COACH PERKINS TO HEAD SKILL DEVOLPMENT FOR SAGINAW

SPIRIT PARTNER WITH TOTAL PACKAGE HOCKEY FOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

 

 SAGINAW, Mich. – Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced Wednesday the hiring of Brandon Naurato and Sean Perkins from Total Package Hockey as Skill Development Coaches.

 

“By adding Brandon and Sean as our new skill coaches, it continues the reconstruction of the Saginaw Spirit program. Having the opportunity to meet both of these individuals this past season, it is easy to see why they have become the premier instructors and teachers of skill development in Michigan.”

 

Naurato, 31, brings a wealth of knowledge to the forefront including a familiarity with the state of Michigan. A Livonia, Michigan native, Naurato played his NCAA college hockey at the University of Michigan where he won a CCHA Championship in 2008. Naurato’s pro career spanned 180 games between Stockton (ECHL), Toledo (ECHL), Port Huron (IHL), Fort Wayne (CHL), and Dayton (CHL). Naurato is the Director of Hockey Operations in the Detroit branch of Total Package Hockey, which opened its doors in 2012.

 

Perkins, 29, grew up 90 minutes away from Saginaw in Commerce Township. The Detroit Compuware graduate played 130 junior games between the USHL, NAHL, and BCHL. Perkins also logged a lot of miles during his pro career, spanning five seasons. Perkins spent parts of three seasons in the ECHL with Cincinnati, Greenville, and Idaho. Parts of two seasons in Edinburgh (United Kingdom), a season in Demark, 10 games in Vimmerby, Sweden, and one season in the Central Hockey League with Missouri and Allen. Like head coach Spencer Carbery, Sean Perkins is also an ECHL Kelly Cup Champion, winning his with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008.

 

“Brandon and Sean work tirelessly on their trade.” said Drinkill. “They are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to help players reach their highest potential. Our players should be very excited to work with TPH throughout the season. I want to officially welcome Brandon, Sean, and Total Package Hockey to the Spirit family, as we start a new era of Saginaw Spirit hockey.”

 

Total Package Hockey is one of the largest hockey service providers in the country, providing programs to over 4,000 players and supporting more than 200 coaches, administrators, and volunteers each year. They manage and support youth and adult hockey programs from Detroit to Atlanta. TPH specializes in skill-based player development from grassroots and outreach programs that introduce the game to elite programs with a track record of moving players to junior and college hockey.

 

“We are honored and excited to be a part of the Saginaw Spirit Staff.” said Naurato. “It is our goal to help support the coaching staff and ownership group to develop future professionals through on-ice development and off-ice mentoring. Thank you to Dick Garber, Craig Goslin, and Dave Drinkill for the opportunity and their innovative approach to player development.”

 

Spirit head coach Spencer Carbery also touted the talents of TPH: “Brandon and Sean will be extremely valuable additions to our hockey operations staff. They possess the ability to help our players develop their skills and continue to improve. This addition will not only be great for our current players, but for our future players as well.”

 

To find out more information on Total Package Hockey, visit their website at www.totalpackagehockey.com

By @MichaelCaples –

Max Sasson wanted this story to start with a message to young hockey players in the same spot he once was.

Keep working, even if you aren’t playing for the team you want.

“Before I start, I want to say for all the kids who are worried that they didn’t make a 14U team,” Sasson told MiHockey, “I did not make one top team before this year started.”

Sasson didn’t let his team situation get in the way of his hockey dreams. The 2000 birth-year player kept working, and this year, he seized the opportunity to play for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies midget minor team.

“OJG is the only place I could have played u16,” Sasson said.

Now, he’s telling MiHockey about why he picked the University of Maine for his college hockey career. Sasson has thrived with OJG, leading his team with 38 points in 31 games (as listed on the Tier 1 Elite League website). The Total Package Hockey Center of Excellence student said he found the ‘perfect fit’ at Maine.

“I picked Maine because when I went on a visit, I felt right at home,” Sasson said. “It was just a perfect fit and I knew right away.”

He’s still a few years away from suiting up for the Black Bears, but he said he’s excited to have the chance to one day play college hockey.

“I am beyond excited to play college hockey,” Sasson said. “I knew once I went to the game at the Harold Alford arena in Maine that it was a easy decision to go to college. The atmosphere, playing in front your friends, and studying what you choose that’s why I am playing college hockey.”

“We’re very proud of Max – a great example of how hard work pays off,” said TPH Detroit director of hockey Brandon Naurato. “He has fought through adversity to better himself and better his chances of becoming a college student-athlete. Now, he’s one step closer to earning his degree while playing D1 college hockey.”

Congratulations to TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Mitch Miller on his commitment to Miami University.

The Honeybaked U16 standout is the 16th TPH Detroit CoE student to commit to an NCAA Division I school since 2014.

The 6-foot, 15-year-old Miller has 10 points in 18 games with Honeybaked in his first midget minor season. Miller previously starred for Compuware’s bantam program, where he averaged more than a point per game in a two year span. Miller has also competed for TPH in the 2015-16 U15 World Selects Invite and also tallied three points in three games during the USA Hockey Select 15 camp

Miller joins Tino Passarelli as the second TPH Detroit CoE student-athlete to commit to Miami. Congrats to Mitch on his commitment!

Congratulations to TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Carson Riddle on his commitment to Western Michigan University.

The Belle Tire U16 star is the 15th TPH Detroit CoE student to commit to an NCAA Division I school since 2014.

The Holly, Mich., native and 5-foot-9 forward has been lighting it up this season, his first one in midget minor. Through 24 games Riddle has posted 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists), which ranks second on his team. Riddle also leads his team in power play goals with three.

Riddle joins Xan Gurney as the second TPH Detroit CoE student-athlete to commit to the WMU program. Congrats to Carson on his commitment!

TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Max Sasson has tendered with the North American Hockey League’s Brookings Blizzard.

Sasson is enjoying a successful season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16 team. In 29 games with the Jr. Grizzlies, the forward has 20 goals and 17 assists for 37 points.

Brookings currently has a 18-13-2-1 record this season in NAHL play. A franchise since 2003, the Blizzard have seen many players move on to play Division I college hockey.

Two TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athletes — Jake Transit and Cannon Green — have tendered to the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs.

The two Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18 teammates join the Mudbugs, who are in the midst of their inaugural season in the NAHL and have a 18-11-0-1 record. Both CoE students will add skill to Shreveport’s forward group.

Transit, a 17-year-old from Royal Oak, Mich., has already featured in two games with the Mudbugs. In 24 games with the OJG U18 this season, he had 11 goals and 11 assists. Before joining OJG, Transit starred for the Honeybaked and Belle Tire programs.

Green, a 16-year-old from Hinsdale, Ill., had more than a point per game with OJG U18 with 28 points in 24 games. Last season with the Jr. Grizzlies’ U16 team, he tallied 25 points in 31 games.

Congratulations to TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Valentino Passarelli on his commitment to Miami University.

The Honeybaked U16 standout is the 14th TPH Detroit CoE student to commit to an NCAA Division I school since 2014.

The 5-foot-9 forward has perennially been a star player for the Honeybaked program and has posted eight points in 12 games this season according to Eliteprospects. Passarelli was also drafted by the Fargo Force in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft.

Congrats to Tino on his commitment!

Congrats to TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Xan Gurney, who has announced his commitment to Western Michigan University!

Gurney, a second-year TPH CoE student, is currently a defenseman on Compuware U16. The Grosse Ile, Mich., native is the 13th TPH Detroit CoE student to make a commitment to an NCAA Division I school.

The 16-year-old is in his first season back with Compuware after spending two seasons with their bantam program. Last year with Little Caesars, Gurney tallied 11 points in 17 games according to Eliteprospects.com. He was drafted in the fourth round (No. 53 overall) by the Chicago Steel in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft.

Congratulations to TPH Detroit Center of Excellence student-athlete Chase Pletzke on his commitment to Bowling Green State University.

The Bay City native and Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18 standout is the 12th TPH Detroit CoE student to commit to an NCAA Division I school since 2014.

The 5-foot-10 forward has been a point per game player with the Jr. Grizzlies this season after posting 21 points with the U16 team last year.

Congrats to Chase on his commitment!