The Maine Nordiques and Twin City Thunder remain busy assembling possible players for their Tier II junior hockey teams.

The Thunder announced two more tenders in the past week with the signings of forward Lukas Skvarek and defenseman Jacob Melisko to their National Collegiate Development Conference Tier II team.

Skvarek, a 17-year-old Slovakia native, played for the Springfield Jr. Pics 18U team, for which he was tied for first in the USPHL 18U league in scoring with 13 goals and 31 assists in 30 games. He added seven goals and 12 assists in 12 games outside USPHL league play. He was also selected as a USPHL all-star.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound forward was tied for first in the league in league scoring with Manny Sanchez of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, who signed a tender with the Maine Nordiques last month.

“It’s a big jump from (18U) to the NCDC,” Thunder head coach Doug Friedman said. “Obviously, guys are going to be bigger, stronger, faster, generally. On the upside, too, he’s going to be playing and surrounded by generally higher players, so, it should elevate his game.”

Melisko, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound, 19-year-old defender out of Sewickley, Pennsylvanian, played for Gilmour Academy this past year and recorded four goals and three assists in 19 Midwest Prep Hockey League games. He also added a goal and an assist in four High Performance Hockey League games.


“I think he’s one of those guys that has the ability to play in any situation,” Friedman said. “Again, what he shows us on what he can do on the power play, for example, if he shows a lot, great, he will be there, same for the penalty kill.”

Melisko’s midget hockey career also had stops with the Little Ceasars, Victoria Honda and Compuware programs in the greater Detroit, Michigan, area. All three are nationally renowned programs.

During the 2016-17 season, while he was with Little Caesars, Melisko was called up to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program’s U-17 team and appeared in four United States Hockey League contests, the nation’s lone Tier I junior league.


The Maine Nordiques of the North American Hockey League announced the tender signing of Noah Kane, the cousin of Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.

The 19-year-old, 5-foot-11, 174-pound forward from South Buffalo, New York, bounced around this past season, starting with the PAL Islanders of the NCDC for whom he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 27 games, before joining the Corpus Christi IceRays, appearing in six games recording no points.


He returned to the NCDC when his rights were traded to the New Jersey Hitmen, and he helped them make a playoff push. He appeared in 11 regular season games for the Hitmen, scoring once and adding an assist in two playoff games.

Nordiques director of player personnel and assistant coach Matt Pinchevsky previously coached him during the 2016-17 season with the Seacoast College Prep U18 team, an independent midget program in Exeter, New Hampshire.

“I wouldn’t say he plays like Patrick Kane, but his mobility with the puck definitely buys him time and space on the ice,” Pinchevsky said. “He’s automatic in the (face-off) dot, he has a great face-off win percentage. He can play in all situations, he’s not the kind of guy that says, ‘My skill set says I am a power play guy, I won’t touch the (penalty kill unit).’ He’s in all situations to help the team.”


The L/A Nordiques of the Tier III NA3HL signed two local high school players to tenders on Thursday as they look to defend their Coastal Division championship.

The team signed Nick Pomerleau, a sophomore defenseman out of Lewiston High School. With the Blue Devils, Pomerleau had a goal and three assists in 17 games this past year. His father Chris Pomerleau will be the coach of the L/A Nordiques in 2019-20.


In addition, the team tendered St. Dom’s forward Jacob Lewis. The junior had eight goals and nine assists in 21 games for the Saints, who won the school’s 26th Class A boys hockey championship last month.

“They are guys we know really well, guys that have trained with me in the summer the past couple of years,” Nordiques director of player recruitment and advance Cam Robichaud said. “They are guys that are hungry to play in college and at a higher level — they come to understand they need to be exposed to higher level of play, training, views from Tier II programs and college teams as well.”

Robichaud said the plan as of now is for both of them to play with the L/A Nordiques the full season.

The NA3HL Draft is set for Thursday.


Both organizations have been announcing tenders the past few weeks for their junior hockey teams, but what does a tender actually mean?


The simplest way to put it is the teams are just signing the players’ playing rights for that league, but they aren’t guaranteed a spot on the team. The players still have to show up to the team’s tryout camps, and still have to make the team.

“It’s like in the NHL, where you get drafted and everyone has to to go to rookie camp and training camp to earn their spot on the team,” Robichaud said.

So when a player signs with the Nordiques, that means the Nordiques acquire his NAHL rights and no other NAHL team can sign or draft that player. Or, when the Thunder sign a player to a tender, they acquire his USPHL rights so no other USPHL team can sign or draft him.

The player could end up getting drafted by another junior league or may attend a team’s camp in another league if they feel the opportunity may be better than the Nordiques or Thunder.

The teams, though, aren’t tendering a player for the sake of tendering a player in hopes he shows up.

“For us, we aren’t tendering somebody just out of the blue, or someone told us about that we might think is a good fit,” Friedman said. “We are obviously having conversations and doing our homework on these guys. (We are) making sure they want to be here with us and we are a good fit for them.”

It’s also important to note that the NAHL is has a transfer agreement with the USHL. So, if a Nordiques-tendered player goes to an USHL team’s camp and makes that team, but midway through the season isn’t getting playing time he needs or for whatever the timing or fit isn’t right, the USHL team can send him down to the Nordiques to get more experience.

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