Ryan Frew is in his 16th season with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, where he has been the head coach and general manager of the Junior program since 2012.
Frew inherited the status of top dog when longtime Monarchs leader Sean Tremblay left for the Islanders Hockey Club, which incidentally is just down the road from the Cyclones program. The Monarchs have been skating out of Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, N.H., since 2001 and the franchise was a charter member of the EJHL.
Over the years the Monarchs developed a championship-caliber program with an impressive list of alumni and the franchise didn’t miss a beat when Frew took over the reins. As the head coach of the former Empire Junior Hockey League team Frew captured one of the four Monarch USA Hockey national championships in 2012 before moving up to the top spot.
Frew guided the EJHL team for one season before that league exploded and he made a smooth transition to the EHL where he led the Monarchs to the 2016 league championship. In 2016 the Monarchs made the jump to the USPHL and through all the league turmoil Frew never missed a beat with college advancements or the caliber of player wearing the purple and gold sweaters.
The Monarchs secret is not such a secret – recruit players who are willing to put in the effort. But to go along with that Frew is a master at utilizing all every tool at his fingertips whether it’s inside Tri-Town Arena or the people in the Hooksett area. Even as far as leaning on his dad, Jerry, who is a high school administrator, as the Monarchs’ academic advisor.
“It’s kind of the intangibles that make us successful,” said Frew. “I think we’ve followed a blueprint that focuses as much on the off-the-ice product as the on-ice. It goes beyond finding the players.”
“We are one of the only organizations in the league that has a fan base, and many of those people are our billet families. It would be hard to do what we do without those families. I think we have the best off-ice program around with the gym right in our facility. We offer academic aid (tutoring) and a good academic program. We don’t just ask, ‘Are you a good hockey player?’ but ‘Are you a good hockey player and have the ability to be a well-rounded student-athlete with academics and commitment to off-ice?’”
In 2018 the Monarchs began play in the NCDC which meant a new business and operational model after 16 years of doing only pay-to-play hockey. In true Frew fashion, the Monarchs didn’t miss a beat as 17 players advanced directly to NCAA roster spots – 11 from the NCDC team, five form the Premier Junior team and one from the 18U AAA team.
“Our U16, U18 and Premier players have had the opportunity to play or practice with NCDC team in some capacity,” said Frew. “That’s a really important part of our make-up. The players, and more so the parents, see that as a great opportunity. We’re actually really happy with the retention of the players who fall just short of making the NCDC team. We market it as you’re playing for the organization and there is opportunity to move up and down but we also walk the walk when it comes to that process.”
Frew has also capitalized on the USPHL affiliate structure, which assigns a handful of Premier teams to each NCDC team. “This year we’re affiliated with Columbus and the Minnesota Blue Ox,” said Frew. “We’ve tendered players and they come out and skate with us during the season. We utilize those relationships more so than the NA (North American Hockey League) and NA3HL. Those are guys who are going to come in and be involved in the system and be productive when they play. They are not just propaganda numbers. If you have a good relationship with an affiliate it benefits both teams.”
Regardless of what changes are made to the league or overall Junior structure in the future, there is no doubt the Frew-led Monarchs will not only adapt but use any changes to their advantage.
Read the full article here: https://www.tjhpodcast.com/single-post/2019/12/03/Southern-New-Hampshire-Hotbed-of-College-Advancement