HOOKSETT, NH -- The New Hampshire Avalanche hockey program takes great pride in every NCAA Commitment that they are able to produce. For some players, this accomplishment is reached after just a single season in the program, while others return for an extra year or two. Regardless of when that ultimate goal is achieved, the Avalanche staff focuses on providing a path for each and every player. This is proven through the rate of players that choose to return to the program each year.
While some players may get discouraged to see a number of their teammates move on to a higher level, the Avalanche coaches leading the way help each player recognize what they need to work on, in order for their name to get called in the future. This is a key reason as to why this year's midget and junior teams have some familiar names at the core of each roster.
Starting with the 16U and 18U midget teams, the list of returning players is long, and includes Nicholas Plaza, Eric Hodgkins, Evan Mccuaig, Kyle Dann, Ryan Kamentz, Aiden Brenner, Kameron Levesque, Alex Douidi, Callum Welch, Nicholas Douidi, Justin Pugsley, Andrew Wessling, Landon McClure, Jordan Richard, and Tyler Lacroix. For these 15 players, they've seen the benefits of what the Avalanche midget program has to offer, and with another year, they will be ready to take the next respective steps in their hockey journeys.
They could follow players such as Robert Martiniello, Parker Mabbett, Mathew Gover, and Andrew Woloszyn, who will be attending prep school this upcoming fall, or choose to stay in the junior ranks like Alex Gagne (drafted in the USHL) and Zach Mooers (drafted in the QMJHL).
However the list of returning midget players doesn't stop at just 15, as Zachary Merrick, Baxter Kimball, Ryan Tobeler, Cable Rizan, Conner Murray, and Kegan Vincent are all moving up from midgets to juniors, within the Avalanche program.
Turning our attention now towards the Avalanche junior programs, and this season will be the first year with two teams playing out of Hooksett. After winning back-to-back championships in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), the Avalanche have added a program underneath their championship squad, as they get set for their first year in the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP). With the addition of the EHLP team underneath the EHL team, the Avalanche expect even more players to continue to trust the process as they work their way up the pipeline.
The process has proven to be successful, not just in terms of the winning successes for the top junior team, but in terms of the NCAA Commitments. In just two seasons, the Avalanche have produced 34 NCAA Commitments from their EHL team, far and away the top mark in the league. This is the main reason nine players are returning from last year's squad, and the coaching staff is focused on reaching the 50-mark this upcoming year.
Here is a list of the returning junior players:
Each individual played a key role on the team that defending its EHL title. It's also worth noting that Jake Pasquini is a returning player who has already committed to SUNY Canton for the fall of 2020.
As we mentioned before, and we will do it again, the Avalanche help create a path for each and every player. This is why you see so many individuals stay within the program until they reach their ultimate goal. Even for those players who choose to go play a year at a prep school, the return rate for these players is also high. Every player has a different story, and the Avalanche program does a tremendous job helping to guide young men along their respective journeys.
Tim Cronin ('99) is a great example of the Avalanche pipeline. The native of NH played for the U18 team during the 17-18 season, helped the Avalanche win their second EHL title this past year, and is now set to return for his final year of junior hockey.