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In light of the tragic accident that occurred over the past weekend, the Hershey Jr Bears are strongly recommending that all players wear a neck guard. We will continue to follow guidance of the DVHL and USA Hockey on the matter. This is subject to change should there be further guidance released by the DVHL or USA Hockey. The entire hockey community mourns the loss of Adam Johnson. He was an amazing hockey player and an even better human, whose life was taken far too soon. May he Rest In Peace

Hershey Jr. Bears Recent News

Jake Thomas

New President of Hershey Jr. Bears

By Admin 05/02/2023, 11:30am EDT

Jake Thomas has been appointed President of HJBs

The Hershey Jr Bears Board of Directors have elected a new board President, Jake Thomas! Jake's previous role on the board was the DVHL representative.

Jake grew up in central PA, and played for the Jr. Bears in 2009 and 2010. He played five years at Lebanon Valley College, while earning his Bachelors Degree in Accounting and his Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Jake has coached for the Hershey Jr Bears, Capital City Vipers, and Hershey Cubs.

The Jr Bears are excited for Jake to lead us into the future of our program. We would also like to thank our previous board president, Seth Mullen, for his years of service to the program, as he moves on to new opportunities.

Hershey Jr Bears

Standing Owen-vation!

By Admin 03/29/2023, 7:30am EDT

Owen Zeager gives back to where it all began for him

Many of our players give back to the great program hosted by our friends at the Hershey Figure Skating Club called, Hershey Twizzles,  a therapeutic skating program designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental challenges.  But for Owen Zeager it is extra special as it has come full circle for him.  He began in the program and this upcoming season Owen will be the starting goalie for the PeeWee (12u) Hershey Jr Bear travel team.  We applaud Owen and his willingness to give back and we encourage all to help with this amazing program.

Owen was featured on the Channel 8 news and you can view the story below.  

WGAL News Story - A miracle child pairs hockey passion with community service

Hershey Figure Skating

Learn To Skate Sessions

By Admin 03/23/2023, 7:15am EDT

Want to play hockey? First, you have to learn to skate!

Our Bear bites and beginner hockey programs are only a few months away from getting started again.  Get a jump on your skating sessions with our friends from the Hershey Figure Skating Club.  The next 6-week learn to skate session starts next week (March 30) and can get you started on the basics you need to begin your hockey career.  Get those little guys and girls on the ice now so they are ready for the season this upcoming fall and winter.  Please visit the Learn to Skate session and sign up today!

Learn to Skate - Hershey Figure Skating Club


Hershey Jr Bears

Hershey Jr Bear Hockey: A Testimonial

By Admin 03/17/2023, 2:15pm EDT

Why choose Hershey? Here's why.

If you are still deciding where to place your player for next hockey season, please take a moment to read some of the unsolicited testimonials from parents to the exec leadership about their players’ experience this past season.  Consider what is most important to your player.  If the main goals for your players are to have a place where they will be developed, have personalized attention, a unique & fun experience, and do not want to simply be a number in a sea of 60+ players on the ice, please consider the Hershey Jr Bears program.  We feel the below is a perfect example of the caliber of coaches and programs we offer players in Hershey.  And experiences like these are far more valuable and expresses more of what our program can offer than any season brochure/guide.  Travel registration is now open, be a Bear today! 


*Player names have been omitted out of respect of privacy { }*

My son, {  }, was on this year's HJB Squirt travel team. I wanted to take a moment to thank you both for your roles in cultivating a positive sports culture within the HJB organization and share some positive feedback about our season. 

First, I have to say that {  }'s coaching was OUTSTANDING! Coach Eric (Esser) and {  }'s other coaches were committed to creating a team culture that focused on hard work, respect, civility, and sportsmanship - which are the exact behaviors and values we are trying to cultivate in each of our three children at home! Coach Eric did an excellent job planning practices based on the team's needs, communicating practice plans to the team, and appropriately challenging each player to grow and learn every time they were on the ice. 

Our team manager, Thad Kocuba, did an amazing job keeping the trains running on time and communicating with the team. Coach Chad (Burger), Coach Dan (Hemmerich), and Coach Justin (Bruce) provided the kids with personalized attention and feedback after EVERY. SINGLE. SHIFT. Each coach took the time to get to know the players, which was evident in the level of encouragement and motivation they were able to provide. {  } is now a better, more confident player - and person - thanks to this amazing group of leaders. Personally, I don't understand the obsession with "paid, non-parent head coaches" in travel hockey - these dads did an AWESOME job and treated all their players fairly and respectfully! 

With three kids in hockey at three different levels, we are seasoned hockey parents - and we have seen it all during our eight years in hockey! Being honest, we were VERY reluctant to sign our son up for travel ... however, Coach Eric convinced us to take a chance on him and the HJB Squirt Travel Team, and we're glad we did! To my mind, this season is an example of how travel hockey should be!



Good Morning,

I wanted to reach out to share a few things about our experience this past year with the HJB Squirt travel team.  Our son, { }, was a member of the team with Eric Esser as the head coach.  { } moved from the Vipers to the Bears for the 21-22 season, and we had a fine season that year, and we were happy with his move.  As we looked forward to the 22-23 season, we decided to stay with Hershey even though there was incredible uncertainty regarding what was going to happen with the organization.  In the end, we decided to trust the process and focused on our two main goals for { } as a squirt: to develop as a player through ice time and good coaching.  To say our experience this year met our expectations would be an understatement.  It went beyond our highest hopes for a successful season, and so much of it was directly connected to the fact that Eric Esser was the coach of { }’s team.

We weren’t even sure there would be a squirt team – I think there was something like 7 kids at the first night of evaluations.  And yet Eric (and Thad) were committed to making it work.  In many informal conversations, they asked us to trust the process.  We were nervous – hockey is a huge commitment for us because our kid loves it, and because we live on the West Shore – so even practice nights take a lot of time and energy to make work for our family.  But Eric was able to pull together an amazing group of boys (and 1 girl!) and parents that were committed to the team and the organization.  It was such a special team to be a part of this year, and I cannot thank them enough for what they created for our children. 

The ice time that was afforded to the team was beyond our wildest dreams – more than we would have imagined at the start of the season.  And every practice, Eric had a committed practice plan.  He treated our team like we were in the NHL – the professionalism and commitment he showed to the boys and their development was something I’ve never seen, and { } is involved in quite a few sports at the travel level.  Our boys had so many amazing experiences because of Eric, and Thad’s standing with the HJB organization.  Being a part of the Silver Sticks International Tournament will forever be one of our favorite hockey memories.  Traveling to Canada with our group of players and families was so special, not to mention how cool it was to be a part of our very first pin trading experience.  And I’m sure you know, HJB had the most coveted pins of all!  {  } was able to be a part of the opening ceremonies with Coach Esser, and he was so proud to represent Hershey and his team.  And Eric did this – he made {  }understand how important it was to be a part of this specific team, and taught him to be a leader.  To be frank, we worried that {  } might get frustrated as many of his teammates were new to hockey, or travel hockey.  But Eric taught {  } how to appreciate his role on the team, and absolutely developed him into a better player today than he was when the season began.  He’s a special coach, and we’re so grateful he entered {  }’s life this year, on this team. 

I just wanted you to know how someone like Eric was able to completely transform the experience that {  } and his teammates had, not just as teammates but as hockey players.  Like I said previously, we weren’t even sure there would be a team, and yet in the end it was the best team we had ever been a part of in any sport or organization.   I really believe if Hershey will be able to thrive in the new landscape of central PA hockey, it will be done by people like Eric.  And I just felt like it was important for me to share our experience this year as a member of the HJB travel  family.


Hershey Jr Bears Board of Directors

Hershey Jr Bears Board of Directors Applications

By Admin 03/14/2023, 12:30pm EDT

Get involved, be the change!

The Hershey Jr. Bears, proudly serving Youth Hockey in South Central Pennsylvania, are currently accepting Applications for Board of Directors Positions.
If interested, please forward a brief resume to Seth Mullen at Please submit your resume by March 30th



Hershey Jr Bears

2023-24 Travel Registration now OPEN!

By Admin 03/05/2023, 8:00am EST

Register now for the 2023-24 Travel Season

Are you ready to be a part of the longest youth hockey program in the area?  Come be a Brown Bear in one of the greatest hockey settings in the world.  Click the link below to register your player for evaluations and the 2023-24 Travel Season!

2023-24 Hershey Jr Bears Travel Registration

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