National Division

November 04, 1992|By Doug Brown

Chicago Power

Arena: Rosemont Horizon (16,518), Rosemont, Ill.

Last season: Won regular-season division title with 30-10 record; lost to Detroit in playoff semifinals

Coach: Pato Margetic (third season; 53-27 career record)

Key players: Player-coach Margetic was 12th in the NPSL in scoring with 117 points; Teddy Krafft, who scored 123 points, including a league-leading 29 one-point goals, most off the power play; Michael Richardson and Brett Hall, both All-Stars; Nassim Olabi, who compiled 100 points for the Illinois (now Denver) Thunder last season.

Outlook: Success depends in large part on Margetic's health. Will his cranky knees hold up? He led the league in assists last season. Goaltending is a question mark. Russ Prince, who had a career year and was the NPSL's top-rated goalie last season, was overweight and late reporting to camp.

Denver Thunder

Arena: McNichols Arena (14,700), Denver

Last season: As the Illinois Thunder, team was third in division with a 20-20 record and lost to Kansas City Attack in first round of playoffs

Coach: Paul Kitson (third season; career record 36-44)

Key players: Matt Knowles, NPSL Defender of the Year and a 45-goal scorer; G Jim St. Andre, a 1991 All-Star; M Kitson.

Outlook: At 36, player-coach Kitson, a key member of the Blast's 1983-84 championship team, is still a solid player. Knowles is the team's backbone. Goaltending is suspect because league insiders feel St. Andre can't hold up for 35 games; the year he was an All-Star goalie, he played 24 games.

Kansas City Attack

Arena: Kemper Arena (15,800), Kansas City, Mo.

Last season: Second in division with 26-14 record; lost to Canton Invaders in playoff semifinals

Coach: Zoran Savic (first season)

Key players: Former Blast Scoop Stanisic, the NPSL's fourth-rated goalie last season; ex-Maryland Bays F Brian Haynes is the NPSL's second-leading scorer (141 points).

Outlook: Savic, who played in the MSL from 1980-88, got his team off to a rousing start -- the Attack won the preseason tournament. The Attack added a quality goalie (Stanisic) and Savic as player-coach.

Milwaukee Wave

Arena: Bradley Center (17,500), Milwaukee

Last season: Fourth in division with 18-22 record; missed playoffs

Coach: Keith Tozer (first year with Wave; NPSL's all-time winning coach with 144 career victories against 85 defeats.

Key players: Joey Kirk, NPSL's No. 9 scorer with 121 points last year; G Victor Nogueira, a former MVP in the MSL and perennial All-Star who was acquired from San Diego; F Jim Gabarra and F Dan Donigan.

Outlook: Management has cleaned house. Kirk is one of the few holdovers. The Wave is still looking for its first division title after eight years.

St. Louis Ambush

Arena: St. Louis Arena (17,984), St. Louis

Last season: As the Tulsa Ambush, finished last in the division with a 7-33 record.

Coach: Steve Pecher (first season)

Key players: Ian O'Keefe, NPSL scoring champion last year with 144 points, including 67 goals; player-assistant coach Daryl Doran.

Outlook: If little else, the Ambush has the oldest goalie in the league, 43-year-old Slobo Iljevski. Pecher, a St. Louis native, is employing mostly hometown talent. Scoring machine O'Keefe is a St. Louisian who led the Detroit Rockers to the championship last year.

Wichita Wings

Arena: Kansas Coliseum (9,681), Wichita, Kan.

Last season: First in NPSL.

Coach: Roy Turner (first in NPSL; 192-174 career record with Wichita)

Key players: Chico Borja and Dale Ervine, former MSL All-Star forwards; Kris Peat, the MSL's fourth-leading goalie last season; defender Kim Roentved, a 10-time MSL All-Star.

Outlook: Ervine, Borja and Roentved make this team an automatic contender. Borja and Ervine didn't play in the preseason tournament because of slight injuries. But in a preseason game a few days before, the Wings, with a full team, beat the Kansas City Attack, 17-10 -- the team that went on to win the tournament.

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