Las Vegas Thunderbirds

by Scott Ludwig, T-Birds Staff

SKATER CALEB DAY COMES HOME



Las Vegas Thunderbirds have signed another product of Vegas hockey in 19-year old Caleb Day. He arrives back in his hometown after a year of Junior hockey with the Gillette Wild.

"Having a year of junior under his belt always helps," said head coach Dave Hrysky. "After watching Caleb in two showcases in Vegas in the last month he has grown on me. He does the small things well, getting the puck in and out at the right spots, understands what the high forwards job is, cycles the puck well and knows who to pick up coming back into the dzone."

Prior to his season in Wyoming Day was a member of the Jr. Golden Knights high school team that competed at the 2018 USA Hockey High School National Championships in Minnesota. He led his team with two goals scored in their three games.

The Thunderbirds will hold their tryout camp on September 12-15 at SoBe Ice Arena. Interested players may register here.

WISCONSIN NATIVE DE VALK NOW A THUNDERBIRD


Defenseman Jeremiah De Valk has signed to play Junior hockey with the Las Vegas Thunderbirds for the 2019-20 season. De Valk is a native of Kimberly, Wisconsin.

A 2019 graduate of Kimberly High School, De Valk was a member of the Fox Cities Stars hockey team. In his four year prep career the 6'2 blueliner played in 96 games posting 29 points. He was team captain, a trait Coach Hyrsky noticed at the beginning of the recruiting process.

"We made a decision early on to recruit guys that were leaders and character people and he definitely fits mold," commented Hyrsky. "He's been a captain on his hockey team and lacrosse team and after meeting his father I see where his character comes from."

De Valk was named All-Conference Honorable Mention after his senior season.

"He's a big physical player who moves the puck well, and has a bomb of a shot. Jeremiah will play in all situations for us and play a leadership role."

LOCAL GOALIE PROSPECT ADDED TO ROSTER

A week ago Las Vegas Thunderbirds announced the signing of veteran goaltender Rhett Bruckner. Today the team is pleased to announce the signing of another local product - Blade Taylor - for 2019-20.



Taylor has played away from home the past two seasons including the 2016-17 season with Kent Selects U16 before spending last season with Potomac Patriots U16 AAA. While his team posted just one victory the then 15-year old saw plenty of action as the lone netminder on the roster. He played every minute of 24 games seeing an average of over 44 shots per game.

Coach Hyrsky is excited to add another local prospect saying, "Blade is another young talent with good upside. Our eastern scout had a chance to see Blade play on a number of occasions and really liked his foot work, quick glove and his second effort. Although he is young and  has some work to do his future is bright and we look forward to working with him.”

As a member of the Kent Selects Taylor helped his team win the 2017 Can/Am Challenge Cup in Las Vegas. The Thunderbirds hope it won't be his last trophy earned at home!

JR. GOLDEN KNIGHTS D-MAN REDOBLE SIGNS WITH THUNDERBIRDS


2019 Deserest Oasis High School graduate Caesar "Sammy" Redoble has committed to the Las Vegas Thunderbirds for the 2019-20 season. The blueliner has plenty of experience playing with the Junior Golden Knights program, including the 2018 USA Hockey Nationals U16 team. He also played the past two seasons in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League with the JGK team.

Redoble was at the recent Tri-City Storm camp where his play confirmed his signing with Coach Hyrsky.

"He made good decisions with the puck , made a good first pass and seems to know his way in the d-zone," said Hyrsky. "He played a responsible game and will definitely be an asset to our team."

CONAWAY SIGNS WITH HOMETOWN TBIRDS

Hockey in Las Vegas is nothing new. Professional hockey was played on the campus of UNLV beginning in 1993 when the IHL welcomed the Las Vegas Thunder. With the arrival of the NHL the area has seen a surge in opportunities for players to play at home.


Darion Conaway is one of those players - he's the latest local product to sign with the Las Vegas Thunderbirds. He caught the attention of Thunberbirds coach Dave Hyrsky at a recent USHL camp.

"Darion is another local product that I had a chance to see at the Tri-City Storm camp," said Hyrsky. "Darion has explosive speed and moves the puck well. He is one of those players that can play defense on the power play and play a good two-way game up front."

Before he puts on the Thunderbirds jersey Conaway has a trip to Hawaii in July. He is a member of the Sin City Barons inline hockey team who will compete at the Junior Olympics Tournament.

VETERAN GOALTENDER BRUCKNER RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS

20-year old goaltender Rhett Bruckner is no stranger to the SoBe Ice Arena and this fall he will be minding the nets for the hometown Las Vegas Thunderbirds. Head coach Dave Hyrsky is thrilled to have a veteran between the pipes.


“Rhett brings us experience in goal," said Hyrsky. "He's someone who has played at the Junior level in our league and has had some success."

Bruckner has a long history of of playing at a high level. At age 13 the young goalie was part of the LA Selects team that captured the famed Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament title. Prior to playing Junior hockey he was competing in the T1EHL for the Los Angeles Junior Kings.

In 2016 Bruckner play for the previous WSHL team here - the Las Vegas Storm - before moving on to the Phoenix Knights for 2017-18 season. Injuries have played a factor in the career of the 6'0 netminder and cost him a season last year.

THUNDERBIRDS MAKE STAFF ADDITIONS


Junior hockey teams rely on more than a front office to operate. With a roster full of players who may or may not be local one of the more important people in any organization is the billet coordinator. Las Vegas Thunderbirds are pleased to welcome Nicole Jordan to the organization.

Jordan has a message for the incoming players saying, "My family and I would like to be the first to welcome you to Las Vegas! We are looking forward to having an amazing first season with the Thunderbirds."

The team also welcomed a new member to the coaching staff with the addition of Patrick Spaulding. A recent graduate of Slippery Rock University, Spaulding was a member of the ACHA Division 1 team. He will work with Thunderbirds' goaltenders.

GUTOWSKI NAMED TEAM TRAINER

Las Vegas Thunderbirds welcome Meredith Gutowski who has been named head athletic trainer for their inaugural season.

Born and raised in southern Nevada, Meredith attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas where she earned her Masters   of Science degree in kinesiology this past fall. Gutowski earned her bachelors of science degree in kinesiology from UNLV along with being a NASM-certified personal trainer with a specialty certification in  corrective exercise.

ANOTHER WISCONSIN PREP SKATER INKS WITH THUNDERBIRDS

Las Vegas Thunderbirds are pleased to announce the signing of Mitchell Trzebiatowski of Waupaca, Wisconsin.

A four-year varsity player for the Waupaca Comets, Trzebiatowski posted over 100 points (53 goals, 49 assists) in his 97 game prep career. He also was on the Comets golf team.

"Mitch is a player with great speed and hockey sense," commented Coach Hyrsky. "He put up over sixty points in 40 games the last two seasons. When you meet Mitchel you understand the leadership he has. He is a top six forward for us and will play a leadership role. He is an all around athlete with a great a personality.“

COLORADO STANDOUT BILLINGS SIGNS WITH TBIRDS

Las Vegas Thunderbirds are pleased to announce the signing of Javin Billings of Pueblo County High School. A four-year standout for the Hornets, Billings posted a career-high 20 goals and 17 assists in 20 games played his senior season.


Coach Hyrsky on the signing: "Javin is a pure offensive player, great hands, very good passer and sneaky shot. Very responsible defensively. Another player that will play in all situations. Hockey smarts is another big asset to Javins' game."

Billings received post season accolades being named Summit Conference First Team All-Conference as well as All-State Honorable Mention.

TBIRDS ADD ANOTHER JR. GOLDEN KNIGHTS PRODUCT IN TERRANA

May 23, 2019 

The Las Vegas Thunderbirds are pleased to announce the signing of Joe Terrana for the 2019-20 WSHL season. Terrana played his prep hockey with the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights posting 45 points in 22 games last season.


Standing 5'8" and 170 lbs. the young Terrana will have time to mature playing with the Thunderbirds.

Coach Hyrsky is excited about having Terrana on the roster saying, "I believe Joes best hockey is in front of him. Playing Junior will bring out the best in him. With his skating ability and the fact he plays with an edge will bring another asset to the Tbirds lineup."

KIEL NANCE SIGNS WITH LAS VEGAS

MAY 22, 2019

The Las Vegas Thunderbirds are pleased to announce the signing of forward Kiel Nance of California. Nance played high school hockey for the Kern County Knights leading his team to a CAHA Division 2B state title in March.

STATS
Right Wing

Kern County Knights
35 games | 39g | 26a | 65 pts

Coach Hyrsky's comments
"Kiel will definitely be an impact player us. He caught the eye of myself and President John Marks with his physical play. When you add in his shooting ability, scoring touch and willingness to sacrifice his body you have a great asset, we look forward to helping Kiel get to the next level. He is one of those players that has been coached well."

THUNDERBIRDS WELCOME J.J. WILLIAMSON

STATS
5'9" | 160 lbs
Forward
Left-Handed
50 games | 24g | 38a

Coach Hyrsky's comments
"JJ comes to us from the National Champion, Las Vegas Junior Knights. JJ's speed, tenacity and work ethic are what caught my eye. He's a character kid that has quite an upside, we look forward to helping JJ develop into a solid two-way player, as well as preparing him for the college level."

Thunderbirds sign bradley stewart

April 24, 2019

STATS
6'2" | 190 lbs
Defenseman
7g | 9a

Coach Hyrsky's comments
"Bradley is a very responsible defenseman, who plays well at both of ends of the ice. As hockey people say 'he plays a 200 foot game.' His skating ability will be a great asset which enables Bradley to play in all situations.. We are fortunate to have Bradley join our team and look forward to his arrival in Las Vegas! At 6 feet 2 inches tall and having good offensive instincts, Bradley has the physical tools to play any style required by the Thunderbirds.