Jayden Tkaczuk (#86) and Adam Brown — Photo Courtesy Gary Wiles
Head Coach Shaun Falzone successfully checked another box on his list of goals since returning as Owner/GM/Coach of the Dells Ducks with four players invited to attend the main training camp for the NCDC’s Boston Advantage.
Since he stepped in as a partner for the Dells Ducks in the spring of 2020, Falzone listed several ambitions including restoring a solid relationship with the local hockey community and giving his players a legit shot at moving on to the next level of junior play.
The arrangement with the Advantage is nice as teams are in a similar position in terms of their USPHL identity. The Ads are entering just their sophomore season with teams at the NCDC, Premier and Elite levels while the Ducks are entering an 11th season, but just a second since a reboot under the guidance of Falzone.
Liam Hogan — Photo Credit Gary Wiles
“Our goal for the Ducks is to move players on,” said Falzone.
“With our relationship with Boston Advantage, we are getting the opportunity to give our Ducks, USPHL Premier players, an opportunity to prove they belong in the NCDC, tier 2 hockey. We have helped these players improve over the season and now it is in their hands.”
Invitations have been presented to Jayden Tkaczuk (‘02/Channahon, Ill.), the team’s scorer in 2020-21 with 11 goals and 19 points; Adam Brown (‘02/Chicago, Ill.), one of the few returners this past season who showed his ability to play both defense and forward; Liam Hogan (‘02/West Greenwich, R.I.) who contributed a dozen points and goaltender Anthony Falzone (‘03/Prosper, Texas) who made 18 appearances in the blue paint for the Ducks.
“Tkaczuk, he is a player who is 5’5″ but he plays like he is 6’5″,” said Coach Falzone. “He has no fear and loves to aggravate the other team. He has amazing hands and good speed. He is a recent re-signing for us.”
Falzone got a chance to look at his player again in action at the Chicago Combine last month.
“He played the last day at the combine because the yellow team was short players so (Midwest Commissioner John) Schwarz let me throw him in. He had four goals and two assists, I believe, in two games. Had all the scouts talking to him.”
Despite his young age, Brown stepped up as an on and off ice leader for a young Ducks team and Falzone said he deserves a shot at a higher-level team.
(Brown is a) “Very strong player for my organization, playing both defense and offense. He played a big part in keeping our goals down and ended up being a leader on the team. He has played juniors for three seasons, so he has experience and can play the game and he is blessed with quick hands and good speed, with a nice strong shot.”
Hogan and Falzone were both junior rookies as well. Both showed an ability to shake off the rough nights and move on, learning along the way.
“Hogan is a fast player, who is in great condition,” said Coach Falzone. “He has good hands and is smart with the puck. He was an Assistant Captain for us as a Rookie. He is a pure leader and doesn’t know the word quit. I am really hoping he returns if he doesn’t make a Tier 2 team.”
A rival coach from the Midwest-West made a call to the Advantage to reccommend the young goalie. This Coach said to Coach Falzone, ‘I hope you do not mind, I had some talks with some NCDC teams on behalf of your son. I know he is your kid and you will help him move up, but I really feel that Anthony needs to make the move to tier 2 so I figured you wouldn’t mind me talking to them about him.’
“He got thrown into the top spot last season and he was not supposed to be in that position,” said Coach Falzone “He earned the respect from the team, and they played better in front of him. He is an aggressive goalie. Players hate to stand in his crease. He is good at getting the respect from players and goalies from other teams.”
These four will be part of the team’s tryout June 28 at the Pilgrim Ice Arena in Hingham, Mass.