The great fans of the City of Philadelphia love the sport of hockey. These proud orange clad fans pack the Wells Fargo Center night in and night out, through the good times and the bad. Maybe that’s one reason why Philly has a new hockey team from the NAHL. Let’s welcome our very own Philadelphia Rebels to town, as this proud organization moved from Aston, PA to Philly. They are trying to appeal to those hockey addicts that crave and love the game.
This new team in the Rebels have been a pretty solid hockey team in prior years. For the past three seasons, the Rebels have won the division. However, each season has ended with a common theme. The Rebels failed to win the Robertson Cup Championship Game. Fortunately, the great Head Coach of the Rebels Joe Coombs, believes he has the team to win it all this year if they remain focused.
Coombs was a person that the once Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees coveted as a head coach in 2013-14. He was a former player for a well-known junior team in the Kitchener Rangers, and was an assistant coach for the Dubuque Fighting Saints for three years. Coombs became an instant hit for the Killer Bees. He marched them into a first round playoff loss in 2013-14, after finishing first in the division with an astounding record of 35-18-7.
Of course, Coombs couldn’t get comfortable in Rio Grande, as the Killer Bees changed their name and location of the team to start the 2015-16 season. They became the Aston Rebels based out of Aston, PA, and although the name may have changed. The team remained flat-out dominant. In just their first season as the Rebels, they finished the season with an astounding record of 35-21-4. It was good enough for first place in the division. Moreover, the Rebels remained a fierce competitor in the playoffs. They eventually fell in the semifinals of the Robertson Cup to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2-0, but the Rebels managed to delight the fans in just their first season. Maybe Coach Coombs keeps the team calm with his love for hockey legend Bernie Parent.
“Bernie’s a wonderful ambassador, and a Hall of Fame goaltender. Most importantly, he’s a great ambassador for hockey in Philadelphia. He’s a wonderful guy.”
After a very successful season, one would think teams would have it out for the Rebels in 2016-17. Teams very well may have, but the Rebels were up to the task capturing their third straight division title. This young group produced a record of 46-11-3, meaning they were on fire for more than half the year. Coombs credits the players, and he states that the fans are going to see some of these players play pro hockey at some point in their careers.
“The NAHL helps players. Your gonna see a lot of hockey players in our game in the future, that will be playing some type of pro hockey. Look at a former player of ours Kristofers Bindulis. He just signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. Great for the program, but great for the individual, as well.”
The Rebels of course made their way to Philadelphia for the start of 2017-18. They continued their success from prior years, and it may have to do with playing at the ice rink of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1923 Arena. As of today, they own a record of 12-2 (24 points). They currently sit third in the division because of games played. For instance, the first place Northeast Generals have played 9 more games than the Rebels, and own a record of 14-9 (28 points). In addition, the second place team Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights has played 4 more games than the Rebels, and their record is 12-3-3 (27 points). It’s good the Rebels are not far behind in the standings, and have some games in hand. Coach Coombs thinks winning is special, and he expects nothing less.
“Winning is special no matter what you do. We’re gonna put our best foot forward in the end. Our returning players know what it’s about. There’s no easy nights. Last year, some nights we didn’t show up. Our environment is continuing in the right direction, and our returning players are leading the way.”
This young Rebels team just wants to succeed at a high level on a nightly basis. They are a must see on Walnut St, at the Class of 1923 Arena. If you attend a game try to say hi to Coach Coombs, as he loves the fans. He leaves us with this message:
“It’s a great venue. Great old building. But, it’s a lot like the Spectrum. The fans are right on too of the action. We play hard-nose hockey, and we hope that people come out and see our product. Hopefully the fans will enjoy it.”