The Year Of Clark continues. Not only has the 2002-born Williamsville, N.Y., native Chase Clark helped push the Jersey Hitmen to the Dineen Cup Final and then won the championship game in net, but he was also named Dineen Cup MVP by The Dan K Show, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in July, and now the cherry on top - he has committed to Quinnipiac University for NCAA Division 1 hockey.
Clark will matriculate to Quinnipiac, located in Hamden, Conn., in the Fall of 2022.
“I began talking to Quinnipiac about a month before I committed,” said Clark, who was selected by the Caps in the sixth round, 183rd overall, during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. “The hockey program offers everything that I look for on and off the ice for my development, and a culture that I want to be a part of. The university has a beautiful campus with an amazing hockey arena and strong academics.”
Everything’s going well for Chase Clark, so maybe buying a lottery ticket might not be a bad idea.
Hold that thought, however, since Clark’s good fortune has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with being simply a fantastic goaltender and hard worker.
In the 2020-21 NCDC season with the Clark finished third in goals against average (1.79), fourth in save percentage (.935) and fifth in wins (18). He improved to a league-leading .952 save percentage in the playoffs, along with a 2.00 goals against average, which tied him for first with his creasemate Damon Beaver. Beaver set the all-time NCDC single-season and career shutouts record in 2020-21 with seven. So not only did two goaltenders have great peers to model off and learn from, they were also able to push each other for playing time and upped their game in the meantime.
“I learned from Beaver how important it is to play calm in the net and let the game come to you, and also to support each other and push each other to get better every day,” said Clark.
Clark definitely takes up a lot of net. Opposing shooters might swear they're looking at a Mite intermediate net behind his 6-feet-6-inch stature rising well above the crossbar. His 218-pound frame belies his many agile movements to extend pads, glove and blocker to take many of the corners away as well.
You can’t teach size, but Clark still learned a ton playing for the Hitmen NCDC team in 2020-21.
“The season I had with the Hitmen was very successful and a lot of fun. The Hitmen gave me all the tools and opportunities that made me the goalie I am today,” he added. “I am very thankful that Toby Harris and Jim Hunt gave me the opportunity to play for such a great organization.”
Now he moves on to a great university program that, after making the NCAA tournament only once in its first 37 years of existence, has made it to the National Dance six times out of the last 10 seasons and finished as runners-up in 2013 (Yale) and 2016 (North Dakota). The Bobcats will certainly try to get over the hump to be national champions in 2021-22, and then Clark will join them on their further journey towards continued dominance among the national NCAA hockey conversation. He certainly has what Quinnipiac wants in a player.
“What the coaching staff liked about me was my athletic abilities, my size, ability to play and handle the puck,” said Clark.
Far from luck, Chase Clark has carved out a fantastic hockey career of which his 2021 highlights may only be the beginning.
The USPHL congratulates Chase Clark, his family, the Jersey Hitmen and Quinnipiac University for his commitment.