LSSU boasts 4 scholar-athletes
Four members of the Lake Superior State Lakers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association are scholar-athlete award recipients for the 2016-2017 season.
The WCHA’s scholar-athlete award recognizes those who have completed at least one year of residency at their school prior to the current academic year and who have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale.
The four Lakers recognized for their academic success are junior goaltender Gordon Defiel, junior defensemen Aidan Wright and Ryan Renz and sophomore goalie Nick Kossoff.
Wright, who hails from Wawa, Ontario, moved to Sault Ste. Marie as a young teenager and played much of his minor hockey in the Canadian Soo.
OFF TO RIVER FALLS
It is called advancing to the next level.
The 1997 birth-year forward Bradley Hofelich will move on from the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League to play for an elite, powerhouse, Division 3 National Collegiate Athletic Association program.
Hofelich has a commitment to play for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons effective the 2017-2018 season.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Hofelich is in his second NOJHL season with the Eagles. As of February 17, the product of Novi was second on the Eagles in scoring with 27 goals, 33 assists, 60 points.
Hofelich will head to a UW-River Falls program that has made it to the NCAA championship tournament 12 times in the past 16 seasons. UW-River Falls is coached by Steve Freeman, who is in his 21st season with the program and has been named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach-of-the-year 12 times.
Eagles co-coach/general manager Bruno Bragagnolo referred to Hofelich as a young man "who has really improved in his second season with us. He is going to one of the best D3 programs in the nation and it's a credit to Brad that Wisconsin-River Falls committed to him.
“We are extremely happy and proud for Brad as he is an excellent hockey player but more important an exceptional person with great character and dedication to his team and to the community," Bragagnolo added, in further praise of Hofelich.
Hofelich, from his end, offered his take on the planned move to the next level.
"I am very excited to be a part of a great hockey program and continue my education at a top tier school. I want to thank my coaches, Jim Capy and Bruno Bragagnaolo, for giving me the opportunity to play for the Soo Eagles organization and helping prepare me for next level," Hofelich stated.
MORE TO WISCONSIN
Forwards Konnar Dechaine and Brandon McReynolds of the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL have landed Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association commitments effective the 2016-2017 season.
The pair are both headed to Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools.
Dechaine will be off to the University of Wisconsin-Stout and play for the Blue Devils while McReynolds is heading to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points to study and skate for the defending Division 3, NCAA champion Pointers.
The 20-year-old Dechaine hails from Lac la Biche, Alta., and is in his first season with the Crunch, has tallied more than 30 goals thus far.
“Konnar came to us in the summer on a trade and we promised him we would do all that we could do to make his dream come true to play college hockey. We couldn’t be happier that he has been given this opportunity,” Cochrane coach-general manager Ryan Leonard said of Dechaine. “He is a leader on and off the ice, is very coach-able and also pays attention to the 200-foot game.”
As for McReynolds, the 20-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., product is also in his initial campaign with the Crunch and has hit the 20-goal mark.
“We want to congratulate Brandon on earning an opportunity to play for one of the most prestigious college hockey programs in the NCAA,” stated Leonard. “He leads by example on and off the ice and is very coach-able and listens to detail and follows it which makes his game that much better.
“We told Brandon when we recruited him last year in B.C., where he was playing Junior B, that we would do all we can to help get him to the next level. He has answered the call in every way for our program,” added Leonard.