WSHL’s Thunderbirds hit ground running to prep for ’19-20 season
When the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) approved the expansion Las Vegas Thunderbirds for the 2019-20 season in February, the new team has been very active in the months since the initial announcement.
The team subsequently named Dave Hyrsky its first head coach and then signed its first player in Wisconsin Prep Hockey League standout defenseman Dylan Neman.
This fall, the Thunderbirds will call SoBe Ice Arena its home rink.
Hyrsky is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. After a playing career in Junior A, Canadian university and Europe, he returned home to start a coaching career that included 18U AAA, high school and Canadian university. Hyrsky then headed back overseas to coach professionally in the Alpine League that included teams from Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
During that time, Hyrsky was also the coach of the Serbian National Teams at the 18U, 20U and men’s level, winning a World Championship with the men’s team and a silver with the 18U and 20U teams. He also coached teams in the Elite League in the Netherlands for seven years.
“As a former player and coach at both the amateur and professional levels, Dave brings a wealth of experience to our organization,” said Thunderbirds president John Marks. “His connections in North America and Europe are very impressive and I believe they will contribute to the success of our franchise.”
For Neman, who skated for the Homestead Highlanders during his high school years, he posted seven goals and 13 points last year to lead the Highlanders in defenseman scoring.
“Dylan is good-sized defenseman that skates well, makes good decisions coming out of his end, and has no problem with the physical part of the game,” Hyrsky said. “He does a great job penalty killing and was used up front on the power play where he is one of those players who goes to the net for screens and rebounds. Dylan will be a very useful player for us.”
— Matt Mackinder
(May 27, 2019)