To whom it may concern,
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Karlee T. My family is a billet family for junior teams.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Europe and vacation for 3 weeks and visit with some of the European boys that had passed through our house. This was a big deal for me, traveling out of the country alone. I am writing this to express how much I learned from this visit. Staying with their families was the best experience I have ever had, not only did I get to do "touristy" stuff, but I got to experience their everyday life as well.
My family typically asks for the import players because we want to make a positive impact on their stay in the states. We decided to become a billet family about 4 years ago after talking to a Russian player who had a horrible experience with his billets. I must say after my experience in Europe that more billets should take up the opportunity shall it arise to see and experience life in a different country as the boys do here. Things are A LOT different, not only the language barrier, but the time difference, food, and life in general based on their cultures.
I am so blessed that I got to visit with some, not all of my boys and I am very grateful. I hope to use this experience to better the stay our boys have in the future when they pass through our house. They truly do become part of our family and I believe it takes a special family/person to be a billet, especially to foreign players.
I flew to Budapest, Hungary where I visited Kristof Dobos (goalie planning on playing in the WSHL this season). His mother cooked a traditional Hungarian meal and we did some sightseeing. Next, I stayed in Bratislava, Slovakia for a couple days with Cibo Kompanek (last team, Valencia Flyers WSHL). For the remainder of my stay I was with Ondrej Misovic in Dubnica nad Vahom, Slovakia (last team Valencia Flyers WSHL). I felt at home and so welcomed by all the families. I am very grateful for this experience and that it extended my "family" to the other side of the world. I met Kristof and Ondrej last year when they stayed at my house for the Jr. Blues draft camp. Cibo I met through Ondrej as they both spent Christmas and New Years at my house.
We traveled to visit Cibo and Ondrej in Wichita as well as California several times last season. It is crazy how close you become with these boys in such a short period of time.
I am writing this to raise awareness that the foreign players need a little extra love and support compared to the kids just living in a different town/state. It is hard for them to adjust and they need someone to lean on. Many billet families overlook that. I would also like to say how thankful I am that my family gets to have the opportunity to house the boys. Growing up I always wanted a brother, now I have many from different places. My family truly does get the best boys, rather they are only staying with us for a camp weekend or the whole year, the connections last forever.
Not only is the hockey world small, but the world is small after all.
Thank you to the NAHL and WSHL for this amazing opportunity and for introducing us to the best boys and families who will be in my heart forever! I look forward to more seasons to come!
Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Outliers are pleased to announce that goaltender Marcus Rudhage has signed a professional contract with Sollentuna HC in the Swedish Division 1 League. Sollentuna HC is a program that had a great deal of success this past season, finishing first in their respected group. Marcus had a very successful season minding the net for the Utah Outliers. This season, he boasted an impressive 22W-12L- 3OTL record with a save percentage of 91%. Rudhage's strong performance had him in the running for goaltender of the year in the WSHL.
When asked about his professional signing, assistant coach Austin Balko stated that the most impressive thing about Marcus was his ability to shift momentum and change the outcome of a game. "He always had a knack for stepping up during clutch times and really gave us a chance to win every game."
Head Coach Paul Taylor also spoke highly of his goalie, stating, "Rudhage gave the team a lot of confidence when he was in the net. Marcus was a player who came in and made an immediate impact with his play. All of our guys knew how important he was from the second he stepped on the ice. His calm but competitive presence set the tone every game for us as he was the backbone of our team."
Behind Rudhage's strong play between the pipes, the Outliers were able to rattle off a 15 game win streak, and finish out the season winning 20 of 25 games. He helped lead the Outliers to a first round playoff sweep over the Superior Roughriders.
When asked about his experience, Rudhage had this to say, "I am very glad I took the chance to play for the Outliers last year. Playing in the United States was a big step for me since I did not know anyone. Playing in Utah, I was well received by the players, coaches, and the Steinbachs (billet family). What I liked about playing for the Outliers was that it is a serious organization with strong coaches and leaders who want to help players take the next steps in their careers."
The entire Outliers organization wishes Marcus all the best this upcoming season, and in all his future hockey endeavors. We thank him for all of his hard work this past year, and know that he will go on to do great things.
Salt Lake City – The Utah Outliers are proud to announce that 19 year old goaltender Brython Preece has signed a professional contract with the Coventry Blaze.
The Coventry Blaze are located in Coventry, England and play in the British Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). The Welsh netminder will play the 2018-19 season in familiar territory as he makes the jump to professional hockey.
The British Elite Ice Hockey League is an ice hockey league in the United Kingdom. Formed in 2003, it is the highest level of ice hockey competition in the United Kingdom. The league currently consists of twelve teams.
The 6'5″ right catcher will spend his first professional season alongside netminder Kevin Nastiuk, a Carolina Hurricanes NHL draft pick.
Preece's young career began with the Cardiff Devils hockey academy whom he represented over 30 times at under-16's and 18's level. In 2014, he then made the bold move to North America in order to aid his hockey development whilst still being able to continue with his studies. In 2017-18, Preece was offered the chance to play junior hockey with the Utah Outliers.
"It was a great experience travelling to different parts of the US and Canada to play the game I love. But now, I'm looking to step-up to a higher level and Coventry offered the best program for me to develop," said Preece.
Head coach Paul Taylor stated, "I think it is fantastic that Brython has the opportunity to play professional hockey in England. The EIHL is a well respected league with many very talented players. Brython worked extremely hard last season to develop his game both on and off the ice. I believe playing junior hockey last season will help prepare him for this next step on his hockey journey."
Coventry Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart said of the signing, "Brython is an up and coming British goalie that has spent some time overseas improving his game. We brought him in this summer to have a look at him and he impressed us very quickly. He has great size at 6'5", and moves a lot better than we had expected. This is a great opportunity for him to learn the daily routines as a pro, taking shots daily from guys at this level and continuing to develop his game. His coach last season spoke very highly of him and we believe he has a lot of upside going forward."
The Outliers wish Brython all the best next season and will be watching his career closely as he proudly represents the Blaze.
Salt Lake City, UT – After two seasons of junior hockey, Jake Hagstrom is moving on to play NCAA hockey.
Hagstrom, who served as one of the Outliers team captains during the 2016-17 season, has committed to attend and play hockey for Saint Mary's University, an NCAA Division III school located in Winona, MN. The Saint Mary's Cardinals play in the very competitive Minnesota Intercollegiate Hockey Conference (MIAC). Hagstrom, a native of Longview, TX, is excited for the next chapter in both his hockey and academic careers.
Saint Mary's coach Bill Moore came to watch Hagstrom play in Salt Lake City and liked what he saw in the speedy and tenacious forward. Hagstrom and Moore spent some time together after the game discussing the benefits of the Cardinals' program and how it would be a great fit.
"Everything just felt right about Saint Mary's," said Hagstrom. "From talking to coach Moore about the school and discussing the program with Outliers assistant coach Austin Balko (a former graduate of Saint Mary's) I am thrilled about the opportunity to play for this college team. I have worked extremely hard the past couple seasons to prepare myself for NCAA hockey and I can't wait to begin."
When asked about his experience playing for the Outliers, Hagstrom said,"Playing for the Outliers has helped me tremendously in developing as a hockey player and a person. The coaching staff, training facilities and practices are everything a player could want. Playing under the leadership of Coach Taylor, Balko and McCloskey has been the best thing for my career and I am so glad I made the decision to play in Utah and the WSHL."
Hagstrom will now take the next step in his hockey career and plans to possibly double major in Business Administration and Business Finance.
"Jake is the poster-boy type of player for our program," said Ouliers Head Coach Paul Taylor. "He is a fantastic young man who has persistently developed his game in so many areas. He came into our program as an 'energy' player and transformed himself into a versatile offensive threat and a top line player. He scored some huge goals for our team this past season. I am really happy to see Jake moving on to play at the NCAA level and achieve his goals of becoming a student-athlete. I am proud and grateful to have had the chance to coach him."
The Outliers wish Jake all the best next season and will be watching his career closely as he proudly wears the red, blue and white.
Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Outliers are pleased to announce that defenseman and team captain, Jordon Stone has committed to play NCAA college hockey for the Johnson & Wales Wildcats for the 2017-18 season.
Stone, a Colorado native, saw action in 54 games this season with the Outliers picking up 43 points on eight goals and 35 assists.
Of Stone's NCAA commitment, Head Coach Paul Taylor said, "Jordon played a huge role in our team's success last season and was a mainstay on the blue line. He logged a ton of minutes for us and played in all key situations. Jordon is a big strong defenseman who can skate well and move the puck efficiently. He's a fierce competitor who never gives up, who pushes himself and his teammates to fight to the end. He wore the 'C' for our team with a lot of pride and represented our program in a first class manner. The Wildcats are getting a very talented and hardworking individual for their program and there is no doubt in my mind that he will play a big role with his new team."
The defenseman was excited about his experience with the Outliers. "Playing for the Outliers surpassed my expectations for my last season of junior hockey. I felt like I elevated my game in one season more than I have my whole career. The details and tools given to me by the coaching staff were invaluable. I am also grateful for how hard the coaching staff worked on my behalf to make contact with so many different NCAA schools. It was nice to have choices on where I could play and finding the best fit for myself from an athletic and academic perspective. I am very eager for my next step into college hockey, especially at such a prestigious university like Johnson & Wales. I am hoping for a great four years and that this experience will help prepare me for professional hockey after I graduate."
Stone is eager to embark on the newest chapter of his hockey career and expressed gratitude to all the people that have helped him along the way. "I want to thank my mother Leesa, my brother Josh, and my sister Jade for all they have done to help me follow my dream of becoming a college athlete. I also want to give a special thanks to my billet family Rich and Noah for their support, friendship and guidance. I am blessed to be surrounded by such a great group of people that have dedicated themselves to helping me succeed."
Stone is currently undecided on his major but is considering biology and looks forward to continuing his studies and college.
The Utah Outliers organization wants to thank Jordon for all his contributions to our program and for being a true Outlier. We look forward to watching him lace up his skates for the Wildcats next season!