USPHL Elite 2023-24 Florida Division Players Of The Month: January 2024

Selection Process: The league media office sends top statistical candidates to divisional coaches for review and coaches either approve or challenge the nominations. 


Summaries by Joshua Boyd / 


Forward: Will McLaughlin, Atlanta MadHatters

The MadHatters were awfully busy in January, putting in 13 games over the 31-day month. McLaughlin (‘04/Yorktown, Va.) averaged a goal per game over that busy stretch, and he added seven assists for 20 points. This gave him a division-leading output of 1.54 points per game during the month. McLaughlin has had a topsy-turvy season, joining the MadHatters after the unexpected mid-season dissolution of the Richmond Generals. He’s actually found even more of a scoring groove with the MadHatters. After registering 12 points in 19 games in Richmond, he has 23 points through 17 games in Atlanta – and 20 of those were in January. 


Forward: Colby Sims, Atlanta MadHatters 

Sims (‘04/Rocky Mountain House, Alb.) put up a line of five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 11 games, with a 1.27 points per game average. Sims remains a hearty veteran and a good leader for a MadHatters team that is already set for the Florida Division playoffs and will finish no lower than third this year. He has put up 37 points in 34 Elite games and he’s also gotten called up for five games this year, including two in January. For his career, Sims now has 81 points in 69 games. 


Forward: Alex Cochran, Florida Eels 

The Eels got a good six goals and four assists for 10 points in seven games out of Cochran (‘05/Plano, Texas), which helped the Eels clinch their Florida Division playoff spot and continue to push for first in the division, which they could potentially still attain in February. Cochran has come out of strong programs including the Dallas Stars Elite and McKinney North Stars and into a fabulous rookie season for the Eels, moving into third on the Eels in scoring with 32 points in 33 games.  


Defense: Lucas Gonzalez, Tampa Bay Juniors 

Gonzalez (‘04/Superior, Colo.) put up a strong month of a 3-8-11 line in nine games, while also skating an average of 19:50 per game for the Florida Division-leading Tampa Bay Juniors. That was good for second on the team, and his +7 last month was good for second among the Tampa Bay defense. Gonzalez split his time between the Premier and Elite last season and has been a great staple for the Juniors who are on a five-game winning streak. He has 31 points in 37 games this year. 


Defense: Jacob Munkwitz, Tampa Bay Juniors

Munkwitz (‘04/Smithtown, N.Y.) brought three prior years of USPHL hockey at the 16U and Premier levels to help lead a young, 2006-heavy Juniors squad alongside his frequent defense partner Gonzalez. He put up five goals and six assists for 11 points in eight games. He also led the Juniors through January with an average of ice time with 20:03, and his +9 rating led the Juniors defensemen as well. This year, Munkwitz has amassed 33 points in 33 games. 


Goaltender: Jackson Bernier, Atlanta MadHatters

The second-year Elite goaltender Bernier (‘03/Belfast, Maine) had a very strong month that kept the MadHatters in a good position to possibly reach as high as first in the Florida Division as they are already fully clinched for a playoff berth. Bernier played 238 minutes during the month of January, and went 2-1-1-0 with 130 saves on 138 shots. He also shut out Palm Beach with 29 saves during the month. This gave him a .942 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average. This season, Bernier has posted a record of 8-5-2-1 with a .951 save percentage and a 1.62 goals against average. 


Top Performers Of The Week (Jan. 24-31)

Forward: Jan Zeman, Tampa Bay Juniors – 1GP 2G 1A 3PTS 

Defense: Reid Wilson, Florida Eels – 1GP 0G 2A 2PTS 

Goaltender: Nate Haas, Florida Eels – 60min. 2.00 GAA 22 saves on 24 shots, .917 save %, 1-0