skip navigation

Back From The Brink: From Outside Hockey To A College Career For Northern Colorado Eagle

By Brendan Price / Northern Colorado Eagles 05/25/2022, 4:15pm EDT

Forward Erik Brink will head across the Rocky Mountains and has committed to Weber State University in Utah for the 2022-23 season.

“I felt it was time for me to take the next step in my life and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go to Weber State to play hockey and earn my degree,” gushed Brink.

His commitment marks a precipitous climb over the past two years - he hadn’t played hockey in nearly 18 months before arriving at Eagles’ main camp in August as an invitee. 

“I quit hockey for a year and a half and this organization showed me why I loved the game so much in the first place,” he said.

The Greeley, Colo., product not only made the team, but he played big minutes and developed his scoring touch as the season progressed. Brink was in and out of the lineup for the first month of the season, but quickly rounded into form. His six-game point streak in December was punctuated by four points (1-3-4) at the Chicago Showcase, cementing the rapid rise of the physical forward. 

“Erik grew this season with us and we saw him tap into his potential,” remarked Head Coach/General Manager Steve Haddon.

The forward finished with 18 points (8-10-18) in 35 games, good for second amongst Eagles’ rookies. However, it was Brink’s first career goal versus arch-rival Pueblo that embodies the player that Haddon believes will find success at the next level.

“[Erik] is at his best when he is playing that power forward game. Being physical and not over thinking decisions with the puck, letting his natural instinct kick in; it will allow him to play his best hockey,” he continued. 

For his part, Brink can’t wait to join a Weber State (ACHA Division II) squad that has already inked four other Mountain Division commitments. Still, he made an emphatic point of thanking everyone that had helped him get to this point in his career.

“I would like to thank my parents for always supporting me and dedicating so much time to help me achieve my goal of playing hockey in college. My coaches and teammates over the years have been a second family to me and I am so grateful for the roles they have all played in helping me get to where I am today,” Brink concluded.

Entering their 10th season of existence, the Eagles have graduated over 100 players to college commitments in the United States (NCAA) and Canada (U-Sports), as well as professional contracts abroad. Eagles’ alumni dot the hockey landscape; playing in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), Poland and Sweden.

If you are a player that is interested in joining the Eagles organization for the upcoming 2022-2023 season, please email Coach Haddon at haddon@northerncoloradoeagles.com.

Minnesota Mullets' Van Orsdel Commits To University Of Southern Maine

By Jim Den Hollander / Minnesota Mullets Staff 05/24/2022, 1:30pm EDT

The recent college commitment for Elliot Van Orsdel is probably no surprise to anyone who knows him. The path was locked in when he moved as a youngster with his family to Eveleth, Minn., home of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. 

After 15 years honing his craft in the State of Hockey, Van Orsdel will visit the nation’s other hockey hotbed when he takes his act to New England, more specifically, the University of Southern Maine, this fall.

From a youth player to a member of a storied varsity hockey program, featured in a hockey documentary along the way and finally, taking his act to the State’s capital to play for the Minnesota Mullets junior hockey team, the journey for Van Orsdel has been epic.

The move to Eveleth started it off in his first year of school.

“I was extremely fortunate to grow up in an area with so much hockey culture,” recalled Van Orsdel in an email interview. “I moved up north from St. Cloud with my family right before kindergarten and didn’t have a clue what hockey was. It didn’t take but a day of school for me to come home begging to get a pair of skates.”

After playing his youth hockey locally, Van Orsdel lived the dream of any Minnesota-born youth, playing for his varsity hockey team, the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears. 

“We didn’t have the numbers some schools had, being from a small town, but the passion was unmatched,” said Van Orsdel adding the unorganized matches of his youth were as memorable as the ones in front of spectators.

“I still remember packing my backpack for school with my skates, so all of us rink rats could play pond hockey until sundown. Some of my best memories are playing out on the rink. It was a place to escape and just have fun.”

Playing youth and high school hockey with the same jersey worn by local legends like Mark Pavelich, a member of the Miracle on Ice team or earlier, John Mayasich, another local that found success with the US Olympic teams in 1956 and 1960, was an honor for Van Orsdel.

“The games were always electric, especially in my latter years of high school,” said the 6’2,” 180-pound forward. “As I got older, we got better and with Eveleth being such a small town, the whole community supported us. I am thankful and proud to be a Golden Bear.”

Following his junior season, Van Orsdel took some big strides in shaping the next stage of his career, beginning with a 10-game stint with the Minnesota Iron Rangers from the Superior International Junior Hockey League, a Tier 2 junior circuit that includes teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as Northwestern Ontario.

“We had a local team and when my junior year ended, I wanted to keep playing. I was lucky enough to know the coach and earn a spot on the Iron Rangers. It was definitely an eye opener. At the time I had never seen hockey like that," said Van Orsdel of his time in the SIJHL. "Coming from a Single A high school to what looked to me like grown men, I was shocked. I learned a lot from that experience though. I saw the intensity and passion of junior hockey before I even graduated which was helpful down the line. I am glad I got to call myself a Ranger for those 10 games.”

The other saw him playing in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League, a high caliber group of teams that play a short but intense schedule leading up to the varsity high school seasons.

“I was fortunate to make what we call ‘Elite League.’ The Best of Minnesota and Wisconsin in a summer-long tournament. Just on my team alone, we had 6-8 D1 (College) commits. I grew a lot that off-season between Elite League and SIJHL. I could tell coming into my senior year, I was the best I had been to that point, and it paid off.”

It sure did as Van Orsdel returned to his final season of varsity, putting up 21 goals and 50 points in 25 games, adding three more in a pair of playoff contests.

“We ended up having some great wins,” said Van Orsdel. “The best one was against Greenway who finished second in state the season before. It was a hell of a game, topped off by my goal in overtime. We had never beaten them, so it was a great feeling for all of us seniors.”

Some of those exploits were captured in a hockey documentary film called Hockeyland, which was released to theaters in 2021.

Van Orsdel was a key figure in the movie and counts it as another great experience the sport has brought him.

“It was quite the experience for sure,” said Van Orsdel. “I was hesitant at first, having a camera on you for months, everywhere you go from school to the rink. It was strange, but I’m glad I did it. The movie was unbelievable, so emotional and real. I’ll never get back those moments with my teammates, but we are lucky our whole senior year was captured on film. I think as I get older, I’ll come to appreciate it even more.”

Van Orsdel finally had to leave his small town to take the next step and moved to the heartbeat of the State of Hockey, playing in the Twin Cities for the Minnesota Mullets. He clearly made an impression on Head Coach Chris Walby who gave the forward a ‘C’ for his jersey and the responsibility of helping man the ship as the squad moved on from the graduation of many aged-out players.

In two seasons with the ‘Mullies,’ Van Orsdel played 78 games, potting 26 goals and collecting 90 points.

“We were a great team together. I learned a lot from Walbs,” said Van Orsdel. “He’s a great coach but more importantly, a great person. I always found myself to be a leader, not in a selfish way, but simply trying to help the team in any way possible. I’m passionate and competitive. I can’t turn that off.

“We weren’t just a team, but a family and that directly stems from Walby’s influence. We played for each other as a family and that’s how you create accountability. I can’t thank Coach Walby enough. I am honored to say I was captain of the Minnesota Mullets.”

The admiration goes both ways as Coach Walby, ironically a one-time coach for the Iron Rangers as well was a coach and a huge fan of Van Orsdel from the moment he put on the burgandy, yellow and white jersey.

"Elliot was incredible here for us," said the coach. "When entering the rink, he has the 'switch' that I always talk about. Every time he enters the rink, he's ready to prove that he and his team are the best on the ice that night.

He competes each game and leads the way. I've enjoyed every moment being his coach and love how much he loves this team. I am grateful for his role as a leader and the positive impact he brought to the program. As a captain, he motivated us as a group and led the charge. He is one of the toughest competitors I've coached and a talented hockey player. 

"Elliot is extremely bright and I enjoyed that during each of our discussions, texts, phone calls and meetings. I am proud of the man he has become, forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of his journey and I can't wait to watch his hockey career continue at a fantastic school."

This past season, Van Orsdel drew plenty of attention from college scouts and his decision will take him to the east coast. 

“There were a lot of schools that reached out, but Southern Maine seemed like the best fit for me. I’m ready for the next step in my education and hockey career and USM gave me the best opportunity for that to happen,” said Van Orsdel who took Community College courses while still in high school. I achieved my AA degree, so I plan to jump right into a Business Analytics Degree.”

Of course, there will be another jump in the level of play at the rink, but Van Orsdel has clearly been able to adapt to anything thrown at him so far. 

“Of course, I don’t expect it to be easy at all,” said Van Orsdel. “There is a plethora of new experiences to face, not only on the hockey side of things, but educationally as well. As far as the hockey, it’s bigger and faster. I’m confident in my ability to adapt but not going into it like it’s a cakewalk.”

Looking back on the road he has taken so far, several coaches and teammates have played a role, but Van Orsdel said there has been a constant in terms of support, ever since he went to them for that first pair of skates.

“Nothing I’ve accomplished is possible without the support and love from my parents,” said the points producing forward. “I can’t come up with the right words to thank them properly. From day one, they have been my number one supporters through thick and thin. I’m the luckiest person in the world to have the best parents anyone could ask for. They made me into the man I am today and gifted me with a beautiful, loving life. I am blessed for all they have done and continue to do.”

Jets Fan Favorite Adragna Makes NCAA Commitment To Trine University

By Matt Mackinder / Metro Jets 05/21/2022, 9:45pm EDT

During Cristian Adragna’s two seasons with the Metro Jets, he always seemed to make something happen every time he hit the ice.
 
Now, the 20-year-old from Rochester Hills, Mich., will get to bring that passion and intensity to the college hockey world after recently committing to NCAA Division III Trine University, an NCHA school located in Angola, Ind.
 
“Trine appealed to me for so many reasons,” Adragna said. “I loved how the school was a close-knit campus and not scattered everywhere, the location and being close to home, as well as their hockey program and the way they run things. Making this commitment is a dream come true. As a kid growing up in the hockey hub Michigan is, it was a dream to play NCAA hockey, and having this opportunity in front of me is just beyond what I imagined. 
 
“As a freshman, I hope I can fit in both in the classroom and on the ice easily. With Trine being a smaller school, I hope to establish relationships with all of my classmates very quickly. As for on the ice, I hope I can make an instant impact on the team. They had a very good season last year and I only hope I can help them go even farther into the playoffs this upcoming season.”
 
In the classroom, Adragna, who served as an alternate captain this season, is looking to major in Business.
 
“Academically I expect nothing but the best from Trine, and I can’t be more excited,” said Adragna. “Getting back into the swing of school will be fun. After two years of not being in a classroom, I think it will be awesome to get back to the student-athlete mentality and be the best in both worlds, the classroom and the ice.”
 
During his two seasons with the Jets, Adragna collected 34 goals and 86 points in 73 regular-season games, adding 11 goals and 15 points in 13 USPHL playoff games.
 
“Every year we are blessed to have players invest in themselves and the Jets to develop and advance,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “Cristian was a different breed. He took it to another level and took what he did seriously. It was evident in his preparation, leadership and, naturally, his play. He is a player every coach wants on his team and every coach hates to play against. The attention he draws on the ice was impressive and his maturity to play through some of it was as well.

"Not only is he a bull on the ice, but he can score, play in all situations and back all of it up with his toughness. We were lucky to have him here and help him reach his goals, and Trine is lucky to have him for the next four. ‘Drags’ had many NCAA options, but ultimately chose Trine, and we wish him the best of luck."

“Cristian is so strong on his skates and his speed makes him an absolute force on the ice,” added Jets Associate Coach Jamie Lovell. “He really raised the level of his game during the playoffs, and it really showed during the national championship. We’re going to miss him, but Trine is getting a great character player for their program, and we wish him all the best as he starts the next chapter of his life and hockey career.”
 
Adragna said his time in a Jets uniform has “honestly been one of the biggest blessings in my life.”
 
“The entire coaching staff cares so much about the players and making sure they get what they need to succeed,” Adragna said. “There are honestly too many people to thank when it comes to this. From Pete Cammick to Coach Q, Jamie, (assistant coaches) Tina (Ciraulo), Randy (Wilson), and Dan (Pszenyczny) teaching us all season long, to Matt (Prieur) and Doug (Bailey) broadcasting our games, to Matt Mackinder with all of the media and announcing of games in the arena, I cannot thank them all enough.

"These people are what make the Metro Jets the Metro Jets. There is an unconditional amount of love that everyone has for each other in the organization which is why this place is so special.
 
“To all of the coaches, thank you for believing in myself and your players this season. I know I speak for the players of the organization when I say that you guys are the best thing that happened to us. To impact the lives of young boys and watch them become men is difficult to do, but you all managed to do so, and I couldn’t be happier that it was you guys that have been with us every step of the way. Being a Jet is more than just a jersey - it’s a way of life. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to this organization and all it has done for me.”
 
Going further, Adragna said he will miss being able to throw on the Jets jersey on a daily basis.
 
“What I will remember most about my time as a Jet are the relationships I made,” said Adragna. “Putting it into words just does not do justice to what all of these people mean to me, it just simply doesn’t. All of my teammates and coaches and experiences I had over my two seasons are the some of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.”
 
Off the ice, Adragna said his biggest supporters helped him realize his gift to play hockey has given him memorable junior hockey memories and more to come at Trine.
 
“I want to thank my entire family for everything that they have done for me on this long journey,” said Adragna. “The unconditional amount of love and support you guys gave me throughout this whole process is just amazing. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them. I love you all more than you can know, so from the bottom of my heart, just thank you, all.”

The Minnesota Moose of the USPHL Premier are excited to announce the college advancement of 2001-born forward and Captain Tristan Avoletta to Grand Valley State University. GVSU is an ACHA Division I program playing out of Grand Rapids, Mich. 

The Moose are excited to see Tristan compete at the collegiate level with Grand Valley State University for the    next four years.

Avoletta, a native of Wasilla, Alaska, was a three-year veteran for the Minnesota Moose (and he also played in the league in 2018-19, in Atlanta; he has also played for Charlotte). He finished his career with the Moose netting 53 goals and 77 assists for 130 points. He currently sits as the third highest scoring player to wear a Moose jersey, third in goals, assists, and points.
Tristan was a Captain for the 2021-22 season and served as an assistant captain for the 2020-21 season. 

He contributed to much of the success of the Minnesota Moose where he helped them get to two USPHL National Tournaments.

“It is players like Tristan Avoletta that set the tone for the success within our program here in Blaine, Minn.," said Moose GM/Head Coach Jon Jonasson. "Tristan showed up every day with a top-notch work ethic for practice or games, it didn’t matter. He is the type of player that pushes everyone around him to be better and sets an example for everyone around him. We strive to build this program around good hockey players, but even more so good human beings and Tristan was a great example of both.

"Avo was also a huge component in our success in the community with his constant involvement being someone we could always lean on away from the rink. Tristan was one of the truest Captains the Moose program has had in five years and we can’t wait to see him carry that over to the collegiate level for Grand Valley State University. Tristan had many college opportunities and chose a program that will suit him well on the ice and in the classroom.” 

“I just want to say thank you to all of Blaine. From the billet families to my teammates, to the coaches and other staff of the Moose, and to the fans. The past three years I’ve spent in Blaine were a blast, and I reminisce on those times often even though I’ve only been gone a couple months," he added. "Minnesota at this point is a second home to me. It’s comforting to know anytime I come into town to visit, I have countless families and friends to stay with. Special thank you to Coach Jonasson for giving me the opportunity to grow as a man, leader, and a hockey player. I wouldn’t trade the ups and downs in had in Minny for the world. Once a Moose always a Moose! #RollMoose." 

When the Minnesota Moose Junior Hockey Club started in 2017, the goal was to see players move on to the next level of hockey and begin the next chapter of their lives as young men and student athletes. Since the inception of the Minnesota Moose, there have been over 80 players that have gotten the opportunity to play at the next level from NCAA Division I to Tier 2 Junior Hockey.

The goal has always been to move players to the most reputable programs at whatever level suits their needs most. That depends on academics, coaches, campuses, the hockey, the balance of lifestyle etc.. Once a player dawns that Minnesota Moose jersey on Day 1 of training camp, they know that they will be taken care of, have an opportunity to chase a championship and have every door opened as possible to move on to Collegiate hockey (NCAA/ACHA D1) or Tier 2 Junior.

The Minnesota Moose have been one of the top teams in the USPHL Premier and Midwest West for the last five seasons since their inception in 2017, with 80+ advancements, a 186-59-10 overall record since 2017, four trips to the National Tournament and two Division Championships. 

Players interested in playing for the Minnesota Moose next season or beyond can visit the website at www.minnesotamoosehockey.com or reach out to Head Coach and General Manager Jon Jonasson at mnmoosecoach@gmail.com.

P.A.L. Jr. Islanders NCDC Goalie Smith Committed To St. Lawrence University

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com 05/19/2022, 12:30pm EDT

P.A.L. Jr. Islanders NCDC goalie Cam Smith is extremely excited to be heading to the NCAA Division I realm with St. Lawrence University. 

That said, he’s going to miss his carpools with four other P.A.L. teammates every day to practice.

“I lived with a bunch of other guys on the team, and we had a long drive to the rink,” said the 2002-born native of Stamford, Conn. “It was five guys in the car every day, so we had some great talks and I got closer with every one of my teammates throughout the season.” 

He’ll get a chance to bond with a new set of teammates as he moves north and west to the St. Lawrence campus at Canton, N.Y. He’s on the right track in terms of chemistry as he struck up a great rapport with the St. Lawrence coaches during the year-long recruiting process. 

“I originally reached out to them during my senior year of high school [at Hotchkiss School], but we didn’t end up having any games that season,” added Smith, referring to the 2020-21 campaign when many high school hockey seasons were canceled. “I knew that playing juniors would be a chance to prove myself. I told them I’d be playing for P.A.L. in the NCDC, and they said they’d be watching me. I kept trying to improve my game and get better every month and it worked out.” 

By November - just over a month into the season - Smith was leading in wins (seven), goals against average (1.93) and save percentage (.943). He was also the league leader in GAA and save percentage in December, and the save percentage leader in January. In the end, he came across the line with a .920 save percentage and a 2.81 goals against average, both keeping him in the Top 10 for the season. 

“The [St. Lawrence] coaches were so nice about the entire process, always checking in,” said Smith. “They kept talking with me and after the season, I moved on to play in the USHL. After my season ended there, I went up to campus for a tour and they offered me a spot.

“When I was on campus,” he added, “it was just a great feeling, everyone smiling and saying Hi, a real community feeling. They also have a ton of new renovations and new facilities, so it just made me feel comfortable and made me want to play Division I hockey at that school.” 

He is also greatly indebted to P.A.L. NCDC Head Coach Mike Marcou for giving him a chance to make the team last year after a season without games in 2020-21. 

“I went to the NCDC Showcase last year and after my second game there, Coach Marcou offered me a tender,” said Smith. “That showcase was a great way to showcase myself in front of the coaches. He told me I could be a No. 1 guy, and I just got that feeling this was a coach who would believe in me.” 

Unfortunately, Marcou’s cancer and treatments kept him off the bench for much of the 2021-22 season. Smith worked mostly with Assistant Coach Bobby Goepfert, who was himself a former P.A.L. player and NCAA Division I goaltender, first with Providence and then at St. Cloud State. Goepfert was a two-time All-American in 2006 and 2007, both years at St. Cloud State. 

“Goepfert took over as head coach during the season so he was balancing running the full team and also keeping an eye on the goalies,” said Smith, whose creasemate Harrison Chesney is also going the NCAA Division I route with Northeastern. “Marcou is going to be back this year, and he has a fire under him now, so Bobby will be able to more involved with the incoming P.A.L. goalies.” 

What kind of goaltender is St. Lawrence gaining? 

“They said they like my calmness and quickness. I’m calm in stressful situations and I can also be quick on saves in second and third opportunities That balance of quickness and patience, if you can prove it in NCDC, you can develop in the NCAA as well,” said Smith. 

Smith is focusing more on his off-ice conditioning during the off-season, while still getting on the ice as many as three times per week.

“Throughout the six-month regular season, you have to contain bad habits and get stronger throughout. I need to maintain my quickness and patience and just get my body ready for the upcoming season,” added Smith. 

When he gets to St. Lawrence, of course, he’ll be spending much more time on academics than hockey, and that is also a challenge he welcomes. 

“I’m looking into psychology and economics. When I was at Hotchkiss, I took some courses with some professors who were interested in psychology, in terms of how the brain works and helping other people,” said Smith. “ With economics, I can get a better understanding of the economy and what’s happening in the world.”

The USPHL congratulates Cam Smith, his family, the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders and St. Lawrence University for his commitment. 

Three-Year Minnesota Moose Forward Frankel Commits To Nichols College

By Minnesota Moose Staff 05/18/2022, 5:15pm EDT

The Minnesota Moose of the USPHL Premier are excited to announce the college advancement of 2001-born forward and Assistant Captain Isaiah "Ike" Frankel to Nichols College.

Nichols College is an NCAA Division III program playing in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Moose are excited to see Ike compete at the collegiate level with Nichols College for the next four years.

Frankel (a native of San Diego, Calif.) was a three-year veteran for the Minnesota Moose. He finished his career with the Moose netting 56 goals and 80 assists for 136 points. He currently sits as the second highest scoring player to wear a Moose jersey and first all-time in goals. I

Ike also had 220 PIM which is the most in the history of the Moose. Ike served as an assistant captain for his last campaign for the Minnesota Moose in this past season. He contributed to much of the success of the Minnesota Moose where he helped get the team to two USPHL National Tournaments.

“It was a pleasure coaching Ike Frankel for the last three seasons and having him wear a Moose jersey. For three years, I had an opportunity to see Ike grow as a player and a great leader during his tenure in Blaine, Minn.," said Moose GM/Head Coach Jon Jonasson. "Ike became a fan favorite and contributed over 100 hours of community service to the Blaine Community while playing for the us. This was a great testament to his passion to the game of hockey and giving back. While in the Midwest West Division, Ike was one of the most feared forwards in the division for three years and it will be very hard to replace him. I am thrilled to see players like Mr. Frankel get the opportunity to continue from our program to the collegiate level and continue to live their dream of playing at the highest level possible. Coach Mike Parnell is getting a top-notch player and even better person at Nichols College.” 

“Coming to the Minnesota Moose from San Diego three years ago, I was excited, but nervous. As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed by the entire Moose family and Blaine community. My billet became my second home along with the city of Blaine, Minn.," said Frankel. "Going into my third year as an assistant captain, I was able to further my leadership skills and develop even more as an athlete and a person. The Minnesota Moose taught me the importance of community and developed my skills to have me ready to play at a higher level. Being a part of the Moose organization also showed me how important hard work and dedication is. You have to put the work in, in order to produce the results you want. That is why nobody outworks the Moose. I cannot wait to continue my career playing NCAA hockey for Coach Parnell at Nichols College. Once a Moose always a Moose. ” 

When the Minnesota Moose Junior Hockey Club started in 2017, the goal was to see players move on to the next level of hockey and begin the next chapter of their lives as young men and student athletes. Since the inception of the Minnesota Moose, there have been over 80 players that have gotten the opportunity to play at the next level from NCAA Division I to Tier 2 Junior Hockey.

The goal has always been to move players to the most reputable programs at whatever level suits their needs most. That depends on academics, coaches, campuses, the hockey, the balance of lifestyle etc.. Once a player dawns that Minnesota Moose jersey on Day 1 of training camp, they know that they will be taken care of, have an opportunity to chase a championship and have every door opened as possible to move on to Collegiate hockey (NCAA/ACHA D1) or Tier 2 Junior.

The Minnesota Moose have been one of the top teams in the USPHL Premier and Midwest West for the last five seasons since their inception in 2017, with 80+ advancements, a 186-59-10 overall record since 2017, four trips to the National Tournament and two Division Championships. 

Players interested in playing for the Minnesota Moose next season or beyond can visit the website at www.minnesotamoosehockey.com or reach out to Head Coach and General Manager Jon Jonasson at mnmoosecoach@gmail.com.

Tampa Bay Juniors All-Star Defenseman Chadwell Commits To Manhattanville

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com 05/18/2022, 2:15pm EDT

Parker Chadwell certainly believed in the fantastic program run by brothers Brett and Garrett Strot out of the AdventHealth Center Ice facility in Wesley Chapel, Fla. 

A local player who cut his teeth at Bloomingdale High School a little further south in the Tampa Bay area, Chadwell first joined the Tampa Bay Juniors in 2018 at the USPHL Elite level. After one season of development there, he was ready for the USPHL Premier and stood tall on the Juniors’ Premier blue line for three years. Now, he’s extended his hockey career for at least four more years with an NCAA commitment to Manhattanville College in New York. 

“I loved everything about playing for Tampa Bay these past four years. Playing in my hometown, in a great facility and for a great program, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Chadwell, who stands second in the Juniors Premier franchise in games played by a defenseman with 124 (second all-time only to his regular D partner Jon Heller, who played in 150 games). 

His longevity and steady play, all of which helped earn him Florida Division All-Star honors this year, also helped attract the attention of Manhattanville College. 

“Towards the end of the season was when I came into contact with the school after reaching out via e-mail. The coaches said I was a big defenseman who could skate well and believed the way I played would be a good fit for the program,” said Chadwell. “As far as the academic side, I knew they had degrees and classes that I am interested in taking. On the hockey side, I took a look at a few videos that captured the program and the culture and it was definitely something I liked. When I got the offer to join the program, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t waste.”

Chadwell made a career out of taking advantage of opportunities, especially when the Juniors brought in former NHL and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba to its coaching staff.  

“While playing with the Premier team, I have gotten the opportunity to work with Coach Kuba, who has excelled at the highest level, and he pays very close attention to detail while going through film,” said Chadwell. “He works with the defensemen during practice and works on the little things that can really improve your game. I have broken some bad habits and have gained good ones through attention to detail while with Coach Kuba.” 

Along with working with Coach Kuba, he also attributes his success over the years to getting that first season in the USPHL Elite under his belt to make the transition from youth and high school hockey to higher-level Tier-3 hockey in the Premier. 

“My Elite season is always going to be special to me. It was a great way for me to adapt to junior hockey coming out of youth hockey. The development I got through the speed and mental training with TBJ - along with off-season training - made the transition from Elite to Premier easy,” said Chadwell. “Of course over the three seasons of Premier under the training, TBJ has made it easy each season and I feel come August, I will be prepared for NCAA Division III.” 

Chadwell has every intention of making the roster each night with Manhattanville - no one wants to watch from the sidelines when healthy, of course. It’s a hard-traveled road to get there, but he’s fueled up and ready to roll. 

“Every aspect of my game has to be taken to the next level in order to make an impact,” said Chadwell. “The speed of the game changes at every level and I need to be prepared to play at and exceed the speed of NCAA Division III hockey to make an impact.”

He also wants to show just how good a Florida-born-and-trained player can be in the wider world of college hockey. He’s got a state to rep.  

“Hockey is still early in development in Florida, but you can see the growth,” he added. “With the Tampa Bay Lightning being as successful as they are now, they have drawn major attention to the sport in Florida. The Tampa Bay Lightning organization is also taking a more hands-on role in developing the sport, as they run the high school hockey league in the Tampa area.” 

The USPHL congratulates Parker Chadwell, his family, the Tampa Bay Juniors and Manhattanville College for his commitment.