Dillon Manchester’s return to the USPHL was more than a smashing success. Not only did he hit the 20-goal mark and nearly average a point per game, he also helped the Rockets Hockey Club earn the No. 1 overall seed in the 51-team USPHL Premier Division.
Adding to that success, the ‘99-born native of Naples, Fla., committed to Neumann University, a program that is no stranger to the top, having won the 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship.
“I really appreciated the commitment the [Neumann] coaches had to me as a player,” said Manchester, who had 42 points in 43 combined regular season and playoff games for the Rockets in 2019-20. “They stayed in contact throughout the entire season and made their interest very clear from the start. I began talking to the Knights’ staff the summer prior to the last season at the Rockets’ main camp.”
He certainly proved his mettle with the Rockets over and over again, and was extremely grateful to Head Coach Jason Kilcoyne for all of his work this past season. He was able to earn a call-up and a game with the Rockets’ team in the Tier-II, Tuition-Free NCDC as well.
“Coach Kilcoyne really helped me with my decision-making and making plays. He taught patience as well as creating space for yourself and your teammates,” said Manchester. “I really enjoyed the [Rockets’] winning mentality. Even when we were ‘power ranked’ ninth in the league we all knew we had more to prove.”
Unfortunately, as with all other pro sports, the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic left the Rockets wondering what could have been as the Premier Nationals were canceled in the middle of their first day. Manchester would have loved to add to his previous USPHL championship, when he and his Florida Jr. Blades teammates earned the 2017 USP3HL (now USPHL Elite) championship.
“I played for the Blades my first two years of Juniors and I loved playing so close to home, as well as the development I received at such a crucial point in my junior career,” added Manchester. While with the Blades, he scored 68 points in 93 games.
He is certainly hoping to keep up the production he’s become known for when he reaches Neumann University. Manchester continues to work despite any limitations of a global pandemic.
“I train four days a week with a personal trainer and shoot pucks in my garage as well,” he said.
The USPHL congratulates Dillon Manchester, his family, the Rockets Hockey Club and Neumann University for his commitment.