Screen cap: The Hershey Bears
The Hershey Bears began preparations for their upcoming run for a 12th Calder Cup Tuesday morning at Hershey Park Arena. The Bears, who earned a bye in the first round of this year’s playoffs, had Sunday and Monday off following the conclusion of the 2022-23 regular season on Saturday.
By all accounts, Washington Capitals forward prospect Ethen Frank had an excellent season for the Bears. He was named the Bears rookie of the year on Saturday and was selected to the AHL’s All Rookie team last week. Frank knows that the AHL postseason is another animal altogether, but he’s ready to go.
“Really excited. Especially after last year, I was here for a little bit and got injured right before the playoffs and so I was kinda looking forward to it,” Frank told media on Thursday.
The Bears are still awaiting first round best-of-three series results to find out who they will face in their second round best-of-five series, which is expected to begin around April 26-28. That’s a sizable break for the chocolate and white, but Frank isn’t concerned about the 10-plus days between games.
“Me, personally, I’m just letting the coaches put the practice plan together, and doing what they think is best, because they have been through it and they know what it takes and what you need this time of year, practice wise. I have trust in everybody that they know what they’re doing. It’s our job to play hockey and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Frank is well aware of Hershey’s prestigious historical postseason pedigree, something he hopes he can add to in the upcoming weeks.
“They have a standard for winning here, obviously with the history and all the championships that they’ve won. You want to be a part of something like that. You’re just gonna do what you can to help the team win, and take in as much as you can to try and make yourself and your teammates a better player.”
The Bears have a very deep roster heading into this year’s postseason. As a result, it’s not outlandish to suggest the Bears could make a long run, something Frank has not experienced in previous hockey seasons. He does however, have an idea of what to expect.
“A lot of tough hockey. You’re gonna get your nicks and bruises, here and there. You just can’t really worry about that too much. Like I’ve been saying, it’s a bigger goal. Some guys are gonna battle through some things. Battle for each other, like I’ve been talking about. But it will be a fun run.”
The Bears will face the higher seed of the first round winners between the (#3) Charlotte Checkers vs (#6) Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the (#4) Springfield Thunderbirds vs. (#5) Hartford Wolf Pack. Lehigh Valley and Hartford currently lead their best-of-three series, 1-0.
The Capitals announced on March 2 that they had signed Frank to a one-year, two-way deal ($775,000/$205,000) for the 2023-24 season. Frank is currently playing on an AHL deal (which prohibited NHL call-ups) with Hershey this season, but will be eligible to play for the Capitals beginning next season.
By Jon Sorensen
Excited for the whole team. Also noticed that before he got hurt, teams were ‘spying’ Frank when the Bears were on the PP. The plan seemed to be getting him to the “Ovi Spot” so he could use that wicked shot. Now they are moving him around a bit and it is effective. Bonus is the last couple times I remember, he was able to float out to space without anyone spying him. It seems to have worked so far.
The Bears can send 3 lines out that can score on you and a 4th line that will utterly demoralize the opponent. I shall allow myself to be just a little bit excited….
With you Brian. Trying to keep expectations and enthusiasm in check, but it’s difficult. This years team is so deep. Wait until we see the healthy scratches for game 1.
Bears lineup is scary good.
The ECHL on Tuesday announced the rosters for the 16 teams who have qualified for the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Playoff Rosters consist of a maximum of 24 Players – a 20-man active roster and a four-man reserve list. Upon submission of its Playoff Roster, each Member is required to include:
1. a minimum of 17 active, available (i.e., not injured or on recall) skaters to its Active Roster, and at least two (2) eligible goaltenders to its initial Playoff Roster.
2. a list of all other Players who meet the Playoff Roster Eligibility requirements, but who are unavailable at the time that Playoff Rosters are due to the League Office due to recall to the AHL or NHL. The Playoff Eligible List may only list Players who are unavailable due to recall. All other players (i.e. injured Players) must be listed on a Member’s initial Playoff Roster (active roster or reserve list) in order to participate in the Playoffs.
South Carolina Stingrays – Clay Stevenson, G; Tyler Wall, G; Matt Anderson, D; Connor Moore, D; Chaz Reddekopp, D; Benton Maass, D; Michael Kim, D; Martin Has, D; Justin Florek, F; Jarid Lukosevicius, F; Ryan Scarfo, F; Ty Thorpe, F; Kevin O’Neil, F; Jackson Leppard, F; Austin Magera, F; Lawton Courtnall, F; Anthony Del Gaizo, F; Josh Wilkins, F; Baker Shore, F; Max Humitz, F
Reserve List – Connor Hall, D; Bear Hughes, F; Jonny Evans, F; Aidan Sutter, D
Good to see Marty Has in the mix. Yes, I’m still pulling for him.
Shame that Bear got injured.
First Kelly Cup game Everblades at Stingrays Saturday, 6pm. Second game Monday 7pm.
Just found out the fun fact that Ethan Frank is not only from Nebraska, but from Papillion, which is the area that former major league pitcher, Bob Gibson, lived for much of his adult life (when not in St Louis). Papillion is near Omaha, the city where my mother’s older sister lived most of her adult life.