Seibel helps Jr. Flyers win title

By on May 4, 2016
Ephrata’s Alex Seibel clutches the Foster Cup after helping the Junior Flyers win the Metropolitan League title recently.

Ephrata’s Alex Seibel clutches the Foster Cup after helping the Junior Flyers win the Metropolitan League title recently.

Alex Seibel is a young man of few words.

When asked to describe his emotions when his 19-and-under (19U) Junior Flyers team clinched the Foster Cup on Sunday, March 20, emblematic of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s championship, the 2015 Ephrata grad offered a short, single sentence reply.

“It was fun.”

The game against the Jersey Wildcats was tied at 4 until his teammate Ian Hibshman tallied 4:30 into the period with the eventual game winner. Two more empty net goals set the final score at 7-4. The first empty-netter, a short-handed one, marked the point when Seibel realized the title belonged to the Junior Flyers.

“One of our top forwards (Tyler Glennon) scored an empty net goal to go up two goals, I knew we were going to win then,” recalled Seibel. “It sunk in. It was exciting.”

The MJHL playoffs used three rounds between the top eight teams to crown the champion. The first two series were a best of three format. The Flyers won the first two series 2-0.

The best of five finals, which the Junior Flyers won 3-1, marked the end of 42-game regular season that started on September 20. Seibel, a defenseman, played 39 games and picked up one goal and 12 assists for 13 points. The team lost its first game but rallied to win the regular season title by 15 points over the Wildcats. They won 36 games.

“We had a great offensive team this year,” said Seibel. “It was a great group of kids.”

“We had 258 goals and 103 goals against. We had the most goals for and the least goals against.”

The 2015-16 season marks the second championship his teams have won in his three seasons with Junior Flyers. His 16U team won the Atlantic Youth Hockey league title in 2014.

Seibel joined the Flyers after a scout approached his father Tracy during a Lancaster Firebirds game and asked if Alex wanted to try out for their team.

“When I was playing (with the Firebirds) in Lancaster, I played (the Flyers) down there,” recalled Seibel. “One of the scouts came over to my dad and asked him about me trying out for the team. I went down there to skate and tried out for the Juniors.”

Tracy Seibel remembers asking the team’s General Manager if Alex should invest the time.

“When they had tryouts, they had six teams with 20 kids on a team,” said Tracy. “They only keep two teams. I talked to Jerry Domish and asked ‘Do you really think he has a chance? I don’t want to waste his time or your time.’ He said, ‘(Alex) was very good and he can skate with them. I brought the question about size. Jerry said, ‘I am not concerned about size. I’m concerned about positioning, skating and that type of thing.’”

Alex noticed the higher talent level quickly but adjusted soon.

“It was a lot faster,” he said. “You had to adjust to the speed. Now, I had to be more aware before you even have the puck and know where everyone is going to be. Before you come around the net, you have to know who the open guys are and try to find them.”

“The last day of my tryouts, my 16U coach came up to me, talked to me and handed me the contract. I went to the next practice and everyone welcomed me. I knew I belonged here then. I ended up playing 16U for one year,” recalled Alex. “I ended up playing the next year after that.”

Unlike the better known Canadian Junior league teams, the Junior Flyers and their counterparts are not designed solely, or even primarily, to produce professional players.

“The whole idea of junior hockey is to get you ready for college, how to handle yourself and be on your own,” explained Seibel.

He hopes to use the Flyers as a springboard to college hockey to study business management.

“I think I am going to try to go to college and see where I can I go,” he said. “I checked out Penn State/Berks and my coach knows the coach at Brandywine. He told me to check that out. We’re going to University of Maryland Baltimore County.”

Although Seibel graduated in 2015 and wants a college career, he is following advice from several players and ex-players and continuing his junior hockey career while he still has eligibility.

“I talked to a lot of kids and one guy (Shane Allen) who went to Ephrata. He and everyone I talked to said, ‘Play as long as you can.’ It is a great experience.’ I have two more years left. I have this year and then next (on 20-and-under).”

Seibel doesn’t expect to play professionally beyond college.

“I’ll play in college and focus on my career in life after that,” he says.

Just don’t expect him to say much about it.

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