McKendree hockey team sets itself another lofty goal
The McKendree University (MU) men’s hockey team are hoping to send chills through their opponents again this year.
After going 22-3 last season -- including being unbeaten at home -- the Bearcats have added 19 incoming student-athletes from around the United States and several foreign countries.
Two of the incoming freshman are from nearby Collinsville High School: Zach Strenger and Jacob Scrum. Scrum had an especially good year for CHS as a senior, racking up 26 points in 24 games. He was a four-time Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association all-star and helped CHS win the state championship in back-to-back years.
Another recruit who will bring a lot of firepower to the Bearcats is Adam Demski, who attended Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. During the 2016-2017 season, Demski scored 13 goals and had 11 assists. One of the highlights of his high school career was winning the Wickenheiser Cup, a postseason trophy for schools in the Mid-States Club Hockey Association.
Derek Northrop is another highly touted recruit joining MU. Northrop is from St. Louis and attended De Smet Jesuit High School. He also played for the Saint Louis AIC Prospects U18 AAA club. During three years on the varsity team at De Smet, Northrop racked up 40 goals and 21 assists. He was also a key member of the team’s power play, scoring six power play goals.
Three other new Bearcats played together with the Dallas Snipers of the Western States Hockey Leagues: Daniel Nordlander, Aleksejs Ivasenko and Tyler Estermyer.
Nordlander is a defender from Goteborg, Sweden, who came to the United States in 2015. In Sweden, he played u18 hockey with Tingsryds AIF junior teams. Last season, he notched six goals for the Tingsryds AIF J20 squad. After coming to the states, Nordlander joined the Dallas Snipers and scored 16 goals in his first year with the club and 13 goals last season. He was the team’s highest-scoring defenseman in both of his seasons with the Snipers and also holds the record for most goals scored by a defenseman in Sniper history.
Ivasenko is a defensive specialist and will bring a grit and toughness to the Bearcats. He spent two years with the Snipers and scored a total of 13 goals, in addition to being a key member of the team’s defensive scheme. Ivansenko has played more than 50 games for the Latvian national junior teams.
Estermyer is from Texas and is a versatile player who can play in the forward line or as a defenseman. In 70 games for the Snipers, he recorded three goals and five assists.
The team also will add Ryan Reader to the defensive line. Reader played for the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the North American Three Hockey League. He suited up for the team 134 times and contributed three goals and 34 assists.
Fans will have a chance to get a look at the Bearcats squad for the first time this year on Sept. 15, when the Bearcats host the St. Louis Blues alumni team. To find out more about the upcoming season or purchase tickets, visit www.mckbearcats.com.