By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com
Our #NCDCDieHards series looks at league veterans returning for the upcoming 2023-24 season. If you know of a longtime NCDC player currently signed to play again in the 2023-24 season, let us know at email@example.com.
Aiden Lindley is two weeks out from the start of the South Shore Kings’ 2023-24 NCDC Training Camp. He’ll certainly make the best of those weeks, just as he plans to make the very best of his upcoming campaign – one during which he’ll sport a “C” on his jersey.
After reaching the Dineen Cup Finals and playing a three-game set on Long Island, Lindley is certainly not going to accept second place again. His Kings are geared and ready for what they hope will be an even bigger and better campaign than they just came off.
“We had a really strong team last year and started picking up momentum after winter break. Making it to the Dineen Cup finals was an incredible experience for all of us. We really came together as a team and played our best games of the season, which is all we can ask for,” said Lindley, a 2003-born resident of Midland, Mich. “Personally, this year I’d like to work on my play away from the puck (i.e., be more available for my teammates), being more comfortable on both sides of the puck and strong leadership – and pushing my teammates in practice to get us prepared to be in the Dineen Cup Finals again this year.”
Lindley knows what it is like to be on both sides of a championship series. He played his part in helping the Charlotte Rush to the 2021 USPHL Premier Championship in his first experience in the USPHL. After a season back at the Frederick Gunn School in 2022, Lindley was excited to become part of the Kings’ first-ever team to make the final. He put up a strong 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points in 41 regular season games, and then completely took his game to a new level in the postseason.
Lindley posted a 4-4-8 line in eight playoff games, including scoring a goal in Game 1 of the Dineen Cup Finals against the host P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, in a game that the Kings won to give them the house money going into Game 2.
So, we asked, what was it that first brought Lindley to Foxboro and the South Shore Kings?
“Many different factors were a part of my decision to sign with South Shore,” added Lindley, who was a Kings tender in April 2022. “The amenities, trainers and coaches are exceptional. Coach [Tyler] Holske runs great practices and makes coming to the rink everyday fun and competitive. Foxboro is a convenient location and a nice area to live, so I knew that I could find a home in South Shore.
“The Kings are a first class organization from off-ice in EPS (Edge Performance Systems) to on-ice with support from the coaches,” Lindley added. “The Foxboro Sports Center is a great facility where we never have to worry about ice time. Being able to use EPS, the gym and getting support from the trainers for workout/recovery every day after practice all season is incredible.”
Lindley puts full confidence in Holske to continue to elevate his play. A former Southern New Hampshire University and European pro hockey goalie, Holske remains the youngest coach in the NCDC at just 32 years old. A tireless competitor great at preparation and all of the ins and outs of hockey operations, Holske and Lindley struck up a quick trust between each other.
“I’m confident in Coach Holske’s ability to bring in skilled players who will work hard, which will allow me to compete at a high level,” said Lindley. “He puts good systems in place so that our team can be successful. Practices are competitive and fun.”
Lindley and Co-Captain Nate Stachowiak, also returning to the Kings, will have a big role to play in helping keep the players focused and ready for these practices and, of course, the games.
“Being named a Captain is an honor and it’s great to be doing it alongside Stack. We went to the same prep school [Frederick Gunn School] and got to know each other really well over the past few years and I think that will make it easier in helping the new guys feel comfortable,” he added.
They will go into battle in the National Collegiate Development Conference, which enters 2023-24 as a truly national league for the first time in its history. Eighteen teams will hit the ice in locales as wide-ranging as Auburn, Maine; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Wayne, New Jersey; and Pueblo, Colorado; and of course, Foxboro, Massachusetts. Foxboro Sports Center, home of the Kings, will host the final of four league showcases in mid-February.
“The NCDC is fast and highly skilled. Last year, our team had a lot of young players, some ‘04’s and a handful of ‘05’s that really impacted our team. Although our team was younger we still had a lot of speed and skill that led to our success,” said Lindley.
Colleges will be hitting the arenas soon, as the NCDC begins play on Sept. 22. The Kings will kick off the NCDC season in Game 1 with a trip slightly north to face the Northern Cyclones that day. Lindley is ready to make an impression on NCAA college coaches every moment he hits the ice.
“I’m a competitor and want to get better every day. For me, my performance in practice is just as important as games,” said Lindley. “I want to go to the rink and get better every day. Hopefully, this mindset will help push my teammates to be the best they can be, which will lead to team success.”