With six players recently announcing their college commitments, the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack organization has accumulated a dozen such commitments during the 2016-17 season.
By Jim Smith
General manager/head coach Chris Cerrella has certainly helped the Wolfpack earn the reputation of providing an opportunity for players to develop and advance to the next level.
The latest commitments include goaltenders Kevin LaCroix and Michael Rockwell committing to Southern New Hampshire University and Johnson and Wales respectively.
Bryn Athyn College will welcome forwards Nick Malvasi and Jimmy Lockamyeir, along with defenseman Connor Devereux.
The Bryn Athyn Lions will compete at the NCAA Division 3 level for the first time during the 2017-18 season.
Cerrella described the opportunity for the Bryn Athyn commits to be part of a new program.
“They will get to build a new Division 3 program and help build the culture. That’s kind of nice. It’s an exciting time and I’m glad for those guys,” added Cerrella.
Forward Felix Takacsi-Nagy has committed to Lebanon Valley, a team that will play in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference beginning next season.
“We’re up to 12 [commitments] now and we should have 16 or 17 by the end of the end of the year,” said Cerrella. “It’s going well. Everybody pretty much has some kind of option.
“The college networking that I have provided has been a great success for us. Realistically, at the end of the day, [advancing his players to college] is all that matters. It’s an exciting piece of coaching,” Cerrella added. “That is what playing junior hockey is all about.”
With the 2016-17 regular season coming to a close and the playoffs looming, Cerrella continues to encourage development in his troops.
“It’s getting there,” Cerrella said. “It’s still not where I’d like it to be but it’s getting there. We basically have all rookie goaltending and I think the guys are gaining experience and they are getting better. They are getting more efficient.
“Right now, it’s all about momentum down the stretch, and that’s what the playoffs are all about – building the momentum,” Cerrella added.
Coaches often discuss “simplifying the game” and the Jr. Wolfpack mentor believes in that concept as well.
“Every day is an important day. I just tell my guys that every shift is as important as the next one,” Cerrella said. “As long as we do our jobs, we’ll be fine.”
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