The 2001-born Reading, Mass., native Cameron Lawhorne knows he found the best place for his development into an NCAA Division II hockey player.
“I feel that when I went to the Islanders Hockey Club, I learned a whole new style of play and a more advanced game. By advanced, I mean simple, which caused me to be a better player and learned to not do too much when I could do more out of doing something simple,” said Lawhorne, a two-year defenseman for the Islanders at the USPHL Premier level. “Going to two straight USPHL National Championships was surreal, and I was able to do it with the best teammates and coach [Jay Punsky]. We made the best out of the two years I was there and always found our way to the top.”
Lawhorne now brings his game to Franklin Pierce, a Rindge, N.H.-based member school of the Northeast-10 Conference, the only NCAA Division II hockey conference in the nation. It was just prior to that second straight trip to Nationals when he began his conversations with the Ravens staff.
“I first started talking to Franklin Pierce in March over e-mail with the coach and we figured out a time when I could come visit the school. All good things came from the visit and the one thing that really came out of it that I believed they liked about my game was my skating ability,” added Lawhorne.
The discussions with Franklin Pierce served as a great eye-opener for the player in learning about the university itself and its academic and hockey offerings.
“I really didn’t know too much about the school, but then I visited and they gave me a run down on how the classes are run and class size,” said Lawhorne. “For me, class size was really what caught my ear because it’s a smaller school and I think less kids in a class benefits my learning capabilities.
“On the hockey end, I felt like it was a home and I felt very comfortable the way that they run things,” he added. “It was an atmosphere thing for me. From what I saw, it seemed like everyone loved the team and was willing to work as a team.”
The commitment also served to reinvigorate Lawhorne’s love for the game.
“I got a call from the coach [just over] a week ago. It was kind of late, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue to play. I didn’t think for a second to not say yes to the offer. I was absolutely ecstatic,” he said. “I will continue to work extra hard and get bigger and stronger. I think the biggest thing is to keep skating and working on getting faster and faster.”
He knows he’s leaving behind a team and an organization that have certainly made an indelible mark on his career and got him to his dream of playing NCAA college hockey.
“I chose the Islanders because I always heard they were one of the best teams around and had an amazing year prior to the year that I came in,” he said. “My best friend whom I wanted to play with also played on the team, and it turned out to be the best two years.”
The USPHL congratulates Cameron Lawhorne, his family, the Islanders Hockey Club and Franklin Pierce University for his commitment.