MARQUETTE - Coach Mark Nebel will have to replace 10 players who have moved up to the junior ranks after a successful turnaround in his first season with the Marquette Electricians in 2011-12.
The local Midget AAA hockey team had won just 26 games the previous two years combined before Nebel guided them to a 33-23-11 record and two firsts not accomplished since 2008-09 - winning the Northern Lakes Hockey League regular season championship and earning a berth in the state tournament.
The team also won the Motor City Cup tournament and Olson Cup championship as it exceeded the previous year's win total before the season was two months old.
"We are excited about the upcoming year," Nebel said. "We feel we have a team with a lot of speed and depth.
"This year, we are looking to improve our record and with third-year veteran Bryce Leaf in the net, we feel confident."
Leaf, who was named the team's most valuable player last season, worked in 44 games last season, compiling a 19-12-8 record with five shutouts, a 2.90 goals-against average and .905 saves percentage.
The Electricians kick off their season this weekend in Detroit at the Motor City Cup Elite Division tournament. They play two games Friday, at 1 p.m. vs. the KVC Selects and 7 p.m. vs. the Dallas Ice Jets, and another game against Detroit Compuware at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Also returning from last year's team are a number of forwards - Levi Wunder, who played in 67 games and scored 19 goals and was credited with 19 assists for 38 points; Torrin Grange, 63 games, 5-14-19; Jake Peterson, 34 games, 4-7-11; Andrew Plomer, 34 games, 2-2-4; and Matthew Stewart, 28 games, 2-0-2.
Local players joining the team this season are defenseman Ethan St. Germain, who played for the American Legion Bantam AA team in Marquette last year; and forwards Nicholas Cammarata, Justin Cain, Mike House and Eric Chapman, who played for Marquette Senior High School last season.
From out of the area are goalie Adam Ranck of Rochester Hills; defensemen Tyler Wall of Sault Ste. Marie, Kyle Yates of Menominee, Jayson Dahlquist of Rhinelander, Wis., Jordan Frazier of Las Vegas and Nicholas Franze of Roseville, Calif.; and forwards Mitchell Kazmierczak of Alpena, Wade Hanke of Hancock and Chase Evangelista of Virginia Beach, Va.
Wall and Evangelista also played for the NLHL's Soo Indians last season.
These are the players who have moved up to the junior ranks from last year's team:
Fowards - Patrick Sofer, to the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League; Easton Viitala, to the Austin Bruins of North American Hockey League; Gavin Porter, to the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League; Brett Heikkila, to the Texas Tornado of the NAHL; Levi Erkkila, to the Michigan Warriors of the NAHL; and Brett Love, to the Granite City Lumberjacks of the North American Tier III Hockey League.
Defensemen - Jesse Junttila, to the Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings of the NAHL; Cody Wickstrom, to the Soo Thunderbirds; and Mike Kowicki, to the Southern Oregon Spartans of the Western States Hockey League.
Goalies - Devin Kero, to the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL.