By Michael Moore

Yes, you are not mistaken. This edition of the VHC Newsletter is coming to you a week behind schedule. This was intentional. Last week the Victorious Hockey Company was assisting the Wenatchee Wild with their camp in Las Vegas. Since we have many digital properties intertwined, Stephen asked that I postpone publication until this week. 

The Wenatchee event was a huge success and I wish to thank all of those who participated, along with all of those who helped run the camp.

In case you didn’t know, it is one of the most fun times of the year! The 2023 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs are underway. Currently the Division Finals are taking place. The matchups are:

East Division Finals

Maine Nordiques vs. Maryland Black Bears

Midwest Division Finals

MN Wilderness vs. Wisconsin Windigo

Central Division Finals

St. Cloud Norsemen vs. Austin Bruins

South Division Finals

Oklahoma Warriors vs. Shreveport Mudbugs

Over in the USHL, things are a bit further along. The 2023 Clark Cup Final participants were already determined when the Fargo Force defeated the Lincoln Stars to win the West and the Youngstown Phantoms took down the favored Chicago Steel to win the East. The first game of the Finals is set to take place Friday, May 12 at 8:05 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile the big show has been bonkers! The Boston Bruins, after setting a new NHL record with 65 regular season wins, were left stunned after being bounced in the first round by the Florida Panthers. And the Toronto Maple Leafs advanced to the second round after taking down the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let me repeat that for the kids at home:



It’s a Christmas Miracle! Not sure about the rest of you but I was wondering if it ever was going to happen!

Then there was Connor Bedard…

The WHL phenom has been marked as a generational talent with every team foaming at the mouth for a chance to land him. After watching my team play all season without any hope of a postseason, I was delighted to see the Chicago Blackhawks win the top pick in this year’s draft. Though they still need a pair of elite defensemen and a high-end LW to replace the production of Keith, Seabs and Kane.

Since the NKOTB of hockey (aka the Seattle Kraken) are looking impressive in their first Cup run, I am going to invite you to check out the article Coach Little sent about their coach Dave Hakstol and how he has gotten his new team to be a contender.


Matt Calkins,Seattle Times 05.09.2023

He’s probably not going to get an award that acknowledges it, but Dave Hakstol is looking more and more like this season’s finest NHL coach.

He may not offer pearls to the press or any hint of self-congratulation, but his work has manifested itself on the ice throughout these playoffs — as it did throughout much of the regular season.

Credit Kraken general manager Ron Francis for adding pieces to the roster, and the players for upping their game. It has been hero by committee for this team all season, and pointing to any one figure as the reason for Seattle’s success would be silly.

But the coach deserves his kudos. So give Dave his due.

After Sunday’s 7-2 playoff victory over the Stars, Kraken center Matty Beniers fielded a question about the team’s depth, remarking that Seattle’s star power doesn’t match that of a lot of NHL teams but that it plays as soundly as anybody.

Part of this is because of the veteran leadership that pervades this roster — which collectively accumulated plenty of playoff experience before this postseason. However, it’s also a function of Hakstol, the man who’s been at the helm of this squad from the moment it took the ice as the 32nd team in the NHL.

How do you collect 100 points for the season without a player who has scored more than 40 goals?

How do you go from having the third-worst record in the NHL in Year 1 to reaching the postseason in Year 2? 

And how do you go from a team that didn’t knock off a playoff opponent in regulation for the final three months in the regular season, then take out the defending champion Avalanche in the first round and go up 2-1 against the heavily favored Stars in the second round?

You probably have a pretty good coach.

The Kraken’s depth has been a point of emphasis all season, as they produced 13 players with at least 13 goals. Perhaps the wildest stat is that Sunday marked the fifth time this season the Kraken had seven goal scorers in a game (regular season and playoffs included). Obviously, Hakstol isn’t out there putting the pucks past the goalies himself, but he’s implemented a structure that his players have embraced from the jump. 

“He’s done a good job of putting a system in play that we’ve all wrapped our heads around. [We] had two years to put it in place and started to play well with it,”

Kraken right winger Jordan Eberle said.

“When you don’t have maybe that superstar power and you’re able to win by committee — [Hakstol has] been able to be the front-runner of recognizing that identity and pushing on us to do it. He’s been great.”

Great enough that Hakstol was recently named as one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year. The Bruins’ Jim Montgomery and the Devils’ Lindy Ruff are the other finalists, with most sportsbooks having Montgomery as the overwhelming favorite throughout the season. Funny enough, you rarely saw Hakstol’s name near the top of those oddsmakers’ lines for the honor, but here he is now — seemingly standing tallest with Boston out and New Jersey trailing Carolina 2-1.

Not that you’re going to hear Hakstol sing his praises. He’d rather take a slap shot to the chin than spend time talking about himself.

His team has shocked the hockey world over the past few weeks by ousting Colorado in seven and twice lighting up Dallas in this second round — something the Kraken’s performance against top-notch teams from mid-January to mid-April did not project. 

The coach won’t take credit for flipping the proverbial switch, though.

“Our mindset hasn’t changed all year. You can add up our record against playoff teams at certain portions of the year. You can take the stats, and you can build them however you want to present the case,”

Hakstol said.

“We’ve been pretty good against playoff teams throughout the season. … Our win-loss record is good. It’s not great, but it’s good. Believe me. We’d take it year in and year out.”

But what the Kraken are doing now is stretching beyond good and into great. They have enraptured the city with an improbable run that likely has fans thinking about the impossible. Could they go all the way? Who knows?

Of course, you won’t hear that kind of talk from Hakstol. His mind is on Game 4 and nothing else. Probably wise if the team takes the same mentality.

Following their coach’s lead has gotten them this far, and he’s earned more and more trust with every victory.




The Four Types of Advantages in Ice Hockey

 Greg Revak, May 7, 2023

Knowing when you have an advantage on the ice is important. Knowing how to create such an advantage is perhaps even more so. Here are four advantages to be aware of during gameplay:

Numerical Advantage

A numerical advantage means having more players than your opponent in a given area.


  • 2v1 out of the corner
  • 3v2 up high in the OZ
  • 3v1 rush opportunity

It’s one thing to stumble into a numerical advantage situation. But the best players seek to find and create numerical advantages, like Sidney Crosby & Jake Guentzel.


Positional Advantage

A positional advantage is being in a more valuable/better position than your opponent.


  • Inside positioning at the net
  • Support positioning on the dots
  • Being on the defensive side of your opponent

Patrice Bergeron has made a Hall of Fame career out of being positionally sound and compounding his positional superiority. He’s always in a position to support his teammates or easily pressure an opponent.


Dot support, playing between checks, inside positioning on the defender. Beauty.

Quality Advantage

The quality advantage is simply having better talent than your opponent.


  • Superior skating
  • More fluent puckhandling
  • Understanding speed differentials

The poor player constantly goes 1v1 despite the odds. The elite player understands when their opponent is weak or in a compromised state that stacks the deck to their advantage (late in the shift, forward playing defense, flat-footed, etc.) and aggressively attacks.

Beat that compromised player 1v1, then play the resulting advantage to the net.

Physical Advantage

A physical advantage is having better physical tools than your opponent.


  • Being stronger
  • Being faster (Or creating a speed differential)
  • Being fresher (E.g. Undercutting the other team’s line changes)

This is why developing athlete hardware is important. This is also why short shifts are important and are a compounding competitive advantage.

Which type of advantage(s) are you developing?


Players and families, we want to hear from you. If there are any questions, concerns, or if you just want to have a conversation, please feel free to contact us directly. We want to hear from you. Good Luck and Great Hockey!