The United States Premier Hockey League is back for its second year of the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference, which saw a great first year with more than 120 college commitments from what was then an 11-team league.
The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs join the NCDC team for this season, and all 12 teams are chomping at the bit to make Year 2 even bigger and better than last year’s successful inaugural season.
New Jersey Rockets
2017-18 Record: 6-42-2
Did not qualify for playoffs
Outlook: It was a season of learning in 2017-18 for the Rockets, as they lifted to a higher level than the organization had ever played. Head coach Jason Kilcoyne said the lessons learned in Year 1 of the NCDC should see more of an evened-out attack.
“We will have all 13 forwards, six or seven defensemen and all our goalies contributing,” he added. “I don’t think we’ll have a first, second, third and fourth lines. We’ll have four units that can wear teams down with our depth.”
Top returning players: Kilcoyne points to returning ’98 forwards J.P. Lafferty, Tyler Glennon, Troy Crosson and Casey Sotanella as “guys who bring leadership and set the standard. They went through a struggling year last year, but all committed to coming back.”
Top newcomers: The Rockets are especially excited about ’01 forward Ryan Sorkin, who is coming off a season with the Chicago Mission 16U squad.
“He came from a great program that won the 16U Nationals. He is a very skilled player and we think a lot of Division 1 opportunities will come his way if he performs at this level,” Kilcoyne said. “He has extremely good grades, and on the ice, he did very well in our main camp against ’98’s.”
Additionally, Jesse Lowell, Luke House (’00) and Paul Bryer (’99) “all had extremely good camps.”