Much like another local junior hockey program in the New Jersey 87’s, Middletown, NJ’s North American Hockey League (NAHL) affiliate, the New Jersey Junior Titans, now have a date or the opening of its 2020-21 season.
The NAHL will launch its 46th season on October 9th. The full season schedule is expected to be released on September 1st.
“We have spent a lot of time discussing return dates and are excited to be moving forward at this time. Our number one priority remains returning to the ice this fall in the safest manner possible for everyone in our hockey community and we believe that October 9th is a good date to achieve that goal,” NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld said in a media release.
When the 2019-20 NAHL season was cut short due to COVID-19, the Titans had skated to a record of 38-13-0-1, the best record in the Eastern Division.
Titans Heads Coach and General Manager said the abrupt ending to the franchise’s pursuit of a Robertson National Championship Cup was a disappointment, but a scenario outside of the team’s control.
A start date for the 2020-21 season to circle on their calendar is something the club has “eagerly awaited,” Doremus added.
“We have been chomping at the bit to get back after it since the unfortunate end of the season in March,” Doremus told Shore Hockey Report. “The staff and players alike have been working extremely hard in preparation for the new year.”
When the puck drops in October, the Titans will hit the ice without a couple of local products in Middletown South High School alum Gavin Gulash and Wall Township High School alum Shane Haviland, who were part of a core of Head Coach and General Manager Craig Doremus’ club that announced their NCAA commitments.
Doremus and his scouting staff have been busy this off-season working to fill the gaps through the NAHL Entry Draft, where the club selected 18-year old Norwell, MA defenseman Ryan MacDermott in the first round, and the NAHL supplemental draft, where the team locked up North Jersey Avalanche product Anthony Calafiore.
“We are excited about the next group of Titans in Middletown and can’t wait wait to play in front of our community again,” Doremus said.
According to Frankenfeld, a return to play for the NAHL will require close monitoring of the league’s 27 franchises, which are situated across the United States in communities facing unique health challenges, and the CDC’s developing guidelines.
“Between now and the schedule release we will be communicating with the NHL, USA Hockey, and the USHL, to develop the most current return to play guidelines as possible,” the commissioner added.