Will Gavin has a lot of reasons to be excited - in his eyes, a whole future full of reasons.
After all, with his commitment to Air Force Academy made late last week, the Northern Cyclones forward knows that besides hockey and school, that also comes with a commitment to serve in the Air Force.
“I know how good a school it is, and you have a job right out of the Academy,” said Gavin, who committed to the Falcons for 2020-21. “You don’t have to worry about that.”
The Cyclones certainly have not had to worry about what Gavin, a ‘99 native of New Haven, Conn., will give them. He is a power forward, scoring 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points to go with 98 penalty minutes in 40 NCDC games.
“My biggest thing is my shot and offensive ability, creating plays around the net,” said Gavin.
He is in his second year of NCDC hockey, but first with the Cyclones. He credits the Cyclones coaching staff for helping him increase his offensive output nearly five-fold over last year.
“I think Bill Flanagan is probably the most passionate coach in the league. Whether it’s providing ice time, skills development - he’s just dedicated 100 percent to us,” said Gavin. “He is doing it for all the right reasons. He is strictly doing what he’s doing for us.”
Gavin helped the Cyclones to pull off a huge No. 8 over No. 1 upset in the first round of the NCDC playoffs, as the Cyclones dispatched the regular season champion Jersey Hitmen in two games.
“I had a couple assists against the Hitmen, and they’re a tough team to generate offense against,” said Gavin. “As a whole, the power play is sticking pretty well right now.”
The Falcons, led by 22-year head coach Frank Serratore (fifth in wins among active coaches with 444), began to talk with Gavin just short of a month ago.
“It was kind of out of the blue. They came to watch me play, and they offered me four or five days ago,” said Gavin. “About three weeks ago, they reached out to me and sent something to say they were coming to watch.”
For Gavin, it was the ultimate validation of the reason he has played hockey in the USPHL since 2014.
“The biggest thing about this league in general is the amount of opportunity with the scouts watching you, and with so many schools in the [Northeastern U.S.] area,” said Gavin. “No other league can compete with the USPHL with so many scouts watching every night. Even from a young age, you have that kind of exposure. It’s awesome that you can stay in the USPHL from 10 years old to the time you turn you’re 21.”
His first USPHL season came with the South Kent Selects Academy 16U team in 2014-15, and remained there in 2015-16, continuing to team up with future NCAA Division 1 difference-makers and NHL prospects like Emilio Pettersen (Denver/Calgary) and Joel Farabee (Boston University). South Kent won the 16U title that year.
The Cyclones go into this weekend against the Boston Junior Bruins for the NCDC semifinals fully confident in their ability to go to the finals.
“The biggest thing right now is it’s about the group of guys you’re involved with, the biggest thing is people coming together at the right time,” said Gavin. “It’s the amount of good guys you have surrounding you, not so much the number of commitments. The Cyclones have 20 of the best guys you’ll find in the league form a personality standpoint.”