The Florida Eels are honored to announce our 7th College Commitment this season A huge congratulation goes out to Brian Kozek as he commits to Framingham State University. He is no doubt one of the Florida Eels top academic students. He had many NCAA Div. III options. He was honored to have been recruited by so many well-known and respected college coaches from some very prestigious colleges and universities. No doubt FSU loves what they saw in him both from a tangible and intangible basis.
Kozek is from Chicago, IL. He has been with our Eels Junior program for 4 years. He is a model for USPHL and the Florida Eels player development. Initially he played for the Eels Empire team, then the USP3 team, then the Elite team and this year our Premier team. It was all about developing his skill set and getting him ready for college hockey. This season he was voted as team Captain as he was also Captain on his USP3 team and assistant Captain on the Elite team. He did an incredible job with leadership responsibilities on each team he was on.
Florida Eels General Manager Scarpaci says:
“Brian Kozek has great vision on the ice. He has tremendous passion and is one of the most dedicated and determined young men who ever laced up a pair of skates for the Eels. He has one of the best work ethic I have ever seen in a player. He arrives at practice a minimum of 1 hour before anyone else and remained an extra hour shooting 150 pucks each day 5 days a week. This is a very dedicated and determined individual. He realizes in order to make it in life you can’t just put in your time. He works on all of the little things in his game during his down time. These are the ingredients of a successful individual in life whether as hockey player, lawyer, businessman or any craft. That is what makes him so special. I strongly believe he will go far in life. He will excel at anything he does.”
He is a great character young man who comes from extremely loving and supportive parents: Anne and Mike Kozek, who were supportive in every way to facilitate and allow their son to reach and realize his dreams and goals of advancing to the Next Level: College Hockey. In fact, Mrs. Kozek moved to Florida and billeted numerous Eels Junior players over the past 4 seasons and has been real surrogate mom to our players, and has had a major impact on their lives. The Kozek’s have been dedicated volunteers with the Eels program.
Eels Premier coach, Frankie Scarpaci noted in his player profile and scouting report:
This Eels veteran has a big leadership role. A big physical defenseman that plays in all 3 zones. A guy you want in the trenches with you in big games. As a defenseman, he makes excellent first passes out that college coaches look for. He battles extremely hard in front of his net. He plays like he has deeded rights to the crease. Also, a monster on the boards. Possess excellent gap control. Block shots. In addition to his defensive skill, he has excellent offensive abilities. Indeed, he is the lead leading goal scorer for a defenseman. He has a hard-heavy shot from the blueline that gets through traffic. On the powerplay and regular shift. He gets sticks in lanes on the penalty kill. This season like in his previous seasons with the Eels, Brian was selected by a panel of coaches to the league’s All Star Team.
Kozek is looking forward to becoming a FSU Ram and playing for Coach Guy Angers. FSU plays in the prestigious Massachusetts state college league MASCAC. Brian will be playing against Plymouth State, Salem State, Worcester State University, Fitchburg State, Westfield State, and the University of Mass Dartmouth. Coach Angers has been coaching for over 8 years at FSU. He is building a strong program that his players and the University can be proud of. Kozek is use to a coach like Coach Angers who brings enormous passion, excitement and creativity to a team. Brian is excited as well as he is joining 2 former Eels teammates: Goalie Nolan Greene and forward Michael Gennello who play for the FSU men’s hockey program.
We wish the best of luck to Brian. There is no doubt that he will make us all proud in his endeavors and studies at college.
South Shore Kings Premier forward Jake Ratcliffe has committed to NCAA Division III Westfield State University for the fall of 2018.
Ratcliffe, from Auckland, New Zealand began his junior career with the Kings in 2016-2017.
In his first season with the Kings, Ratcliffe helped the Kings to a 37-7 record, appearing in 43 games tallying 22 goals and 32 assists. This season, Ratcliffe was elected captian by his teammates. In 39 games played, he had a 20-38-58 line.
Ratcliffe will be playing for his home country in the 2018 World Championships (Division II Group B). This will be held April 14th-20th in Granada, Spain. This will be his third time playing for New Zealand in the World Championships.
Ratcliffe on his commitment "I'm very excited to continue my hockey career at Westfield State University. I'd like to thank the entire South Shore Kings coaching staff for the opporunity they gave me. This opportunity would not have been possible without the development I recieved playing for the Kings."
"Jake leads by example on and off the ice. His commitment and attention to detail over the past two seasons is why he has an opportunity to continue his hockey career at Westfield State University", head coach Dan Panciocco.
Congratulations to Jake and his family!
JERSEY HITMEN PREMIER: CHARLES STEWART MAKES NCAA COMMITMENT
Wayne, NJ – The Jersey Hitmen are proud to announce that Charles Stewart has committed to the Lawrence Vikings of Lawrence University in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. Charles ’98 from Littletown, Colorado came to the Hitmen a few weeks into the season and has been nothing but outstanding for the Hitmen. Charles was tied on the Hitmen for most points with 15 goals and 20 assists for a total of 35 points. Along with the skill sets he possesses on the ice, Charles also brings positive energy to the rink each and every day.
Charles Stewart on his experiences with the Hitmen, “I have had a great experience in my year with the Jersey Hitmen. My coaches Dan Henningson and Brandon Stroud have made me a better player and provided me with opportunities to play at the collegiate level. The professionalism and culture within the organization creates a great atmosphere that helps players succeed.”
Head coach Dan Henningson on Charles’ commitment, “I am extremely happy for Charles and his family. Charles’ work ethic and passion for the game sets him apart from the rest. Charles is a kid that comes to the rink with a positive energy which has been infectious to our team. Lawrence is not only getting a great player but will most importantly represent the University and community with class and dignity.”
Lawrence University is located in Appleton, Wisconsin and are lead by head coach Mike Szkodzinski. The Vikings compete against Adrian, St. Norbert, Lake Forest, St. Scholastica, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Northland, Aurora, Trine and Finlandia in the NCHA.
South Shore Kings Premier Goaltender Chase McKay has committed to NCAA Division II Stonehill College for the fall of 2018.
McKay, from New Port Richey, Florida, had a superb season playing for the Kings Premier team. He made 22 starts posting a 2.14 goals against, .932 save percentage and 4 shutouts.
McKay on his time with the Kings, "I really enjoyed my experience playing for the South Shore Kings. The coaching staff really believed in me all season and helped me develop on the ice, in the gym and with video sessions. My game really developed over the course of the season. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue my education and hockey career at Stonehill College."
"Chase showed up in late August and was ready to compete from day 1.Coming into the season we knew we had two strong goaltenders in McKay and Cal Wilcox. I cannot say enough about his work ethic on and off the ice. The work our goaltending coach put in with McKay speaks volumes. Chase gave our team an opportunity to win every night", head coach Dan Panciocco.
The Stonehill Skyhawks compete in the Northeast-10 Conference and are located in Easton, MA.
Congratulations to Chase and his family!
Cougars 2nd year Forward and Junior hockey veteran Adam Ryffel has made his college commitment and will be playing at Adrian College!
Ryffel is a 20 year old from St. Louis, MO in his 4th year of Junior hockey and will leave the Cougars program with 82 Regular Season Games Played (3rd All-Time), 5th in All-Time Points (83), 4th in All-Time Goals Scored (30), and 12th in All-Time Assists (23).
A leader in nearly every offensive category it is an understatement to say that Ryffel will be missed next season. His big, strong frame made him a force to be reckoned with in tough areas of the ice with skill and one of the best shots on the team, Ryffel cemented himself in the Cougars top 6 for two straight years and has now cemented himself in the Cougars record books for years to come.
"Hard to find another guy that cares more and puts more into the team than Adam. His numbers speak for themselves, but over his two years in Chicago he has really matured as a person and been one of our favorite players to coach because of how much he cares about the team and his teammates. I think Adrian College will be a great fit for him next year and they are getting one heck of a human being, we wish him the best." said Head Coach Brad Stoffers
Ryffel has made his commitment sifting through numerous offers and said he felt the best at Adrian and about Adrian College citing the hockey culture, commitment to the program from everyone involved, the academic coursework, and he had a phenomenal visit.
Adrian College in Adrian, MI has established themselves as a national powerhouse in hockey fielding 4 men's teams and numerous women's teams. With a rink on campus and a campus wide commitment to supporting their hockey programs Adrian College has positioned themselves to continue their tradition for many years to come. Solidifying top recruits like Adam Ryffel only helps further that legacy.
Best of luck to Adam Ryffel!
North Andover – MA,
The Islanders Hockey Club and the NJ Rockets Hockey Club are proud to announce that goaltender Michal Soustal, Prague Czech Republic, has officially committed to play his NCAA college hockey at Saint Anselm College next fall.
Soustal who started the year with the NJ Rockets was sent back to the Islanders Hockey Club on January 1st by Head Coach Jason Kilcoyne to help him be in a better position to play more. IHC Head Coach Tim Kyrkostas explains – ”We had just lost both of our goalies within a 24 hour period – first Eric Morrissey was lost to a season ending hip injury and then Ben Nelson was summoned early to begin his college career at Norwich University which left me without a goalie. Jason called me on the very same day as us losing Ben to ask if we would want to take Michal back as he had three number 1 goalies that all could benefit from cutting down to 2 and Michal being a 97’ needed to go somewhere to play more. This kind of open conversation shows just how the coaches in the USPHL Premier work together to help the players reach their ultimate goal of advancing to the NCAA Ranks.”
The Islanders Hockey Club therefore fit the home that Rockets Head Coach Jason Kilcoyne was looking for to move Michal and the IHC Premier Team certainly benefited from Michal returning back to the IHC where he started his Jr. Career last year. Since re-joining the IHC on January 1st Michal went 20-3-2 with a 1.55 GAA, and a .945 save % combined stats regular season and playoffs more importantly he led the team to a final 4 appearance in the league playoffs.
“He instantly brought back maturity and stability to our locker room and to our line up – he was our rock that our team relayed on down the stretch.” Added Kyrkostas
“Playing for the IHC over the last two years has helped me develop as a goalie and as a person. I would like to thank my family, Head Coach Tim Kyrkostas, Coach Peter Wallack and Coach Rob Day as well as Head Coach Jason Kilcoyne and the coaching staff at the NJ Rockets for all helping me achieve my dream. I am so excited to attend Saint Anselm College and play for Coach Tortorella and Coach Rocha next year.” Proclaimed Michal Soustal
The IHC, NJ Rockets would like to congratulate Michal and his family and wish them the best of luck in Michal’s next life chapter at Saint Anselm.
"The only reason this team exists is to give players further opportunities to play hockey and save money in college." says Cougars majority Owner John Schwarz and that mentality isn't lost in translation down through the coaches and Cougars staff.
In addition to recruiting e-mails, phone calls, sending video to teams, and college programs watching games, one of the unique things the Cougars do every year in their pre-season schedule includes exhibition games against some of the region's best collegiate programs.
"This is really a great opportunity for both squads to get games in before their seasons, an opportunity for our guys to get recruited, see campuses, meet coaches, and play at a higher level of competition. For the schools they get these players in front of them on campus and have a first hand look at some guys to target in their recruiting process for next year." said Head Coach Brad Stoffers in September 2017 after a recent visit to Adrian College.
Prioritizing player's futures and college decisions since their inception in 2015, the Cougars have visited the likes of Concordia University (NCAA/ACHA), Marian University (NCAA/ACHA), Adrian College (NCAA/ACHA), Aurora University (NCAA/ACHA), University of Illinois (ACHA), Illinois State University (ACHA), Northern Illinois University (ACHA), Lewis University (ACHA), Waldorf University (NAIA), Robert Morris University (ACHA), and others. Many of these programs are some of the very best in the country as witnessed this week at the ACHA National Championship.
The ACHA Men's M1 Championship game featured the University of Illinois with three Cougars alumni against Adrian College with current player Adam Ryffel committed for next season.
The ACHA Men's M2 Championship saw Lindenwood University and alum Hunter Schiffman against Florida Gulf Coast University who has invested interest in multiple current players on the Cougars.
Not only are we getting more games and putting players on campuses and in touch with coaches, they are being put in touch with some of the best in the country setting themselves up for success in their next career stop. This is what we believe Junior hockey is all about.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our college opponents on successful seasons and thank you for allowing us to be a part of your future success. Follow along with future Cougars in their college journeys by visiting our Commitments page to keep up with everyone's whereabouts.
For any inquiries to play the Cougars this Fall, please contact Ownership or Head Coach Brad Stoffers. This year's opponents for the college tour will be announced periodically throughout the Summer.
For Immediate Release: Steele County Blades Captain Off to Waldorf University
The Steele County Blades are proud to announce that Tristan Klewsaat has committed to play NAIA college hockey at Waldorf University in the fall. Tristan played 2 seasons in a Steele County Blades uniform.
The Larkspur, CO native played in 44 games for the Blades this season. In those 44 games, he logged 4 goals, 12 assists, and 48 penalty minutes. In his two seasons wearing black and orange, Klewsaat suited up in 85 games and totaled 22 points from the blue line. He skated for 3 other teams in 4 years total at the junior hockey level. Tristan was recently awarded with the Blades Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Pete Kalan Character of Steele Award.
Head Coach Nick Adamek had this to say about Tristan. “We are so proud to list Tristan as an alumnus here in Steele County. He learned a never give up attitude while here and demonstrated to others what it takes to leave it all on the ice every day. In his last year, he was the picture of consistency on the back end. He never gave us anything less than 100% effort every time he put on our jersey. This season, as our captain, he led our team graciously through the highs and lows of a rigorous junior hockey season.” He continued, “Coach Shelanski is getting a great hockey player, but more importantly, a tremendous young man with a good head on his shoulders. We wish Tristan the best of luck in Forest City!”
Waldorf Warriors Head Coach Brett Shelanski remarked “Tristan is the kind of defenseman that you can never have too many of. He is responsible in his own end and makes quick, accurate breakout passes. He skates well, plays a physical game, and is difficult to play against. Tristan also thinks the game well and has a quick, accurate shot from
the point. It became very evident to our staff, very quickly in the process, that Tristan is an individual with very high character. We are very pleased to welcome him to the Warrior hockey family."
Tristan added “I am very excited to be able to continue my hockey career at Waldorf University. I decided on Waldorf because I am a really huge fan of smaller class sizes and an overall smaller-school feel. I was also very intrigued by the new NAIA hockey division and what it could offer," he added. "I spoke to Coach Shelanski at length about the emergence of NAIA hockey and about its promising future. I then visited Waldorf with my family and felt it was the best place to further my education along with my hockey career."Klewsaat continued “My time in Steele County has been so important in terms of my growth on and off the ice. I believe that what I have learned with the Blades will set me up to have a successful college hockey career. I would like to thank everyone in Owatonna for their support along the way, and I’d especially like to thank my teammates for helping me better myself everyday ”
Waldorf University is located in Forest City, IA . Waldorf University is a charter member of the newly-formed NAIA Division. Currently, they are 7-16 on the season, entering the NAIA National Tournament in Dublin, OH this week. They are coached by Brett Shelanski, who is finishing his seventh season as Head Coach of the Warriors.
Tristan joins Kyle Wadden as players who have committed to a school for next season. Wadden previously committed to Morrisville State College (NCAA Division III). He will join a Waldorf team that has had several Blades players suit up for them over the years in Hunter Marsh, Josh Gouin, and Alex Fleming. Stay tuned as more players are slated to make their commitments shortly.