The entire TM staff would like you to join us in congratulating Sean Kilcullen. Sean is a long time Team Maryland player and after and incredible start to the 2019-20 season the Maryland Blackbears of the NAHL have affiliated Sean and called him up last weekend to play in his first junior games. Sean is a 2002 birthyear. Currently a first year 18U player on our Junior Prep team. During his time here he has lead two teams to the USAHockey National Championships.
“Playing for the Blackbears was an amazing experience. I was extremely honored and excited to be a part of the team. I am just so thankful to the players and coaches from the Blackbears and TM for the opportunity,” commented Kilcullen
The NAHL is a jump in play from almost any league in the world, but people who have seen Sean play will not be surprised that he fit right in from the start. His ability to outthink opponents and incorporate his elite stick to both defend and contribute to the offense helped to level the playing field. Blackbear Head Coach Clint Mylymok agrees, “We thought Sean was very steady in his Maryland Blackbear debut. It’s a big step, and I thought he did a great job filling in for us. We were impressed with his ability to make plays under pressure, and the way he thinks the game, is very impressive for a young player.”
For those of you not as well versed in the junior hockey world or just don’t know the specifics of how things like this work with the NAHL, here is a quick rundown. Each NAHL team is allowed to “affiliate” players during the year. That allows the player to suit up and play games with that team without the NAHL team having to take up a roster spot. The affiliate program can only be used for younger players and they can dress for a maximum of 10 games. Teams typically use affiliate players to fill in during short term injuries.
With the 18U Junior Prep team both playing and practicing in the same building as the Blackbears, the staff can get a much better read on our players than someone across the country. This makes our program a natural go to for affiliate players and NAHL tenders when they are ready. The team also plays in the NAPHL where they have much more exposure to the NAHL coaching staffs. It doesn’t hurt that each NAHL team has two tenders that can only be used on NAPHL players.
“I couldn’t be prouder and happier for Sean,” said TM Hockey Director Chris Ceransky, “He is a great young man and he puts the work in. He’s a great example that you don’t have to be loud to be good and that there is still some humble people left. It was a huge weekend for him and our program. Maryland is the place to be if you want to get better and move on. You just have to put in the work.”