Dan Daikawa, Jamestown Ironmen head coach, recently spoke to members of Jamestown's Noon Rotary Club.
"The team is skating like champs and we're on the home stretch of a great season," Daikawa said.
In the team's second year in Jamestown, the Ironmen have skated and shot their way into contention for top spots in the league playoffs and made themselves members of the local community. Daikawa especially singled out the host families, calling them "our unsung heroes," who have opened their homes to the young players and made them feel like they have a home away from home and a family who cares rooting for them at the ice arena.
The North American Hockey League is league is the place for young men to stand out as college and university candidates in Division-1 schools, according to Daikawa.
"Some of our players have made their way all the way up to the NHL as players and coaches," he said.
Daikawa, 41, is a retired, American-born ice hockey player who competed in the 1998, 1999, 2001 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships, and 2003 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships as a member of the Japan men's national ice hockey team. His experience and skills provide knowledge, training and insider hockey savvy for his players.
Players in the NAHL are young men under 21 years of age. They are not paid for play and they can not pay to play.
"Our players have made a strong commitment to Jamestown as their hometown," Daikawa said. "They have spent time in local schools reading with young students, running hockey clinics for boys and girls and adults who want to sharpen their skills on the ice, contributed days of bell ringing time in the cold winter weather for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign and made many other civic contributions. The only thing we ask in return is that you come on out to the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena and have a good time watching some great hockey with your friends. We need fans in the seats to keep our winning edge on the ice."
A recent "School Day" game, at 11 a.m., drew a huge crowd.
"You wouldn't believe the noise we got," Coach said. "That's what we want for every home game."
For more information, visit jamestownironmenhockey.com.