Current Tigers Knutson, O’Hearn make plans with NAHL clubs
When next season rolls around, two Colorado Springs Tigers AAA players will have junior hockey opportunities staring them down.
Last month, 18U forward Zaccheaus Knutson (Minnesota Wilderness, pictured) and 16U forward Collin O’Hearn (Odessa Jackalopes) signed tender agreements with North American Hockey League (NAHL) teams for the 2017-18 season.
“I am very excited and humbled by this experience and the opportunity to move to the next level,” said Knutson, a native of Tea, S.D. “I would like to thank my family, teammates and coaches for supporting me. I am looking forward to continuing to grow as a player and person.”
“Zac has grown a lot both on and off the ice since joining our program, and I am confident he will be ready to make an impact with the Wilderness club,” said Tigers 18U coach Kevin Holmstrom. “Zac is one of those guys that players like to play with. His high compete level and ability to make plays makes everyone around him better.”
Collin, a native of Coppell, Tex., becomes the first-ever 16U AAA player in the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association organization to sign an NAHL tender.
“Collin is a big, strong kid who does a great job of protecting pucks and getting to the scoring area,” noted former Tigers 16U coach Cody Campbell, who is now an assistant coach with the United States Hockey League’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. “His size and grit will allow him to compete in the very tough South Division of the NAHL. Having coached for Odessa under current head coach Greg Gatto, I feel Collin will be a great fit for a program that is committed to winning and moving players on to the Division I level.”
“I had the opportunity to go down and skate with them for a week of practice and felt right at home,” added O’Hearn. “When Coach Gatto offered me the tender, it was a no brainer. Everything just felt right.”
— Matt Mackinder