PLYMOUTH, Mich. – There’s no doubt there will be a few long-awaited reunions later this month as the North American 3 Hockey League and North American Hockey League hold their Top Prospects Tournaments for 2017. A former North Iowa Bull will have the chance to reunite with his old coach and a few of his former teammates at the tournament – current Northeast General Kohei Sato earned a Top Prospects nod and will be on the NAHL’s East Division team at the tournament.
After joining the Generals in mid-October, the former Bulls forward has become a critical component in the team’s offense, scoring 11 goals and adding 15 assists over a 33-game run in Massachusetts. The first of those goals came in his very first game, scoring an early go-ahead goal against the New Jersey Titans. The Japanese native was a point-per-game performer in two-plus seasons with North Iowa, including 17 points in last year’s run to the Silver Cup national championship.
He’ll play on a team led by a coach who had his share of success in the NA3HL’s predecessor league, the Central States Hockey League. Aston Rebels head coach Joe Coombs will serve as the East Division’s head coach – the Brantford, Ontario native won 151 regular-season games as the head coach of the Dubuque Thunderbirds from 2005-10 and won three Hurster Cup league championships in the CSHL.
Each team in the NAHL and NA3HL Top Prospects tournament will play back-to-back games at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan on Feb. 27 and 28. USA Hockey Arena is the current home of the U.S. National Team Development Program and was the home of the former Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Sato streaks past Wisconsin defense for the goal!