FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Florida Eels junior program is proud to announce its first eight players committed so far for the 2017-18 season. The Eels expect seven more from this season.
The Eels, based in Fort Myers, Fla., continue on the road to academic advancement and scholarship. Both of the Eels teams made the first round of the playoffs.
The Eels Premier team advanced to the USPHL Nationals in Massachusetts, finishing second in their division. The real barometer in evaluating the performance or grading the report card, however, is to see how many players will advance to college from that program.
Thus far the Eels have seen the following commitments: Nick Kotz (New England College, NCAA Division 3), Nikita Lopatin (Utica College, NCAA D-3), Jonas Hostovecky (Concordia-Minnesota, NCAA D-3), Alec Parr (Trine University, NCAA D-3), Brian Kozek (Framingham State, NCAA D-3); Jeremy Hamerquist (William Paterson University, ACHA Division 1), Sean Doyle (Concordia-Wisconsin, ACHA D-2) and A.J. Giordano (Iowa State, ACHA).
“We expect another seven or eight for this season, totaling approximately 15 for the season,” said general manager Frank Scarpaci. “That is incredible for any team, be it Tier-3 or even Tier-2. The Eels will total over 220 players it has advanced to college from its program when the final tally is made for this season.”
What is even more impressive is that two-thirds of the Eels’ all-time commitments are to NCAA programs.
“The Eels work hard in achieving those heights,” Scarpaci added. “We recruit from all over the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, the Eels are amongst the top in putting European players on its rosters. This season, the Eels program had 13 imports from all across the globe on its USPHL Premier and Elite teams.”
The Eels’ No. 1 goal in recruiting is to find “the best and most talented players who want to play college hockey.”
“We are not interested in players who simply want to go off and play pro hockey,” Scarpaci added. “I have been doing this for over 20 years and the key here is not so much where you place in the standings or even how many championships you win. The most important statistic is how many players you move on to college. Nobody will ever remember the goal or assist or the results of one game over another.
“The one everlasting and most important stat is ‘how many players did your program move and advance to college?’” Scarpaci said. “This is what the parents want, and this is what the players want. They worked their entire life to realize a dream come true.”
That is not to say that the Eels’ don’t experience – and play for – on-ice success.
“[We] are one of the most competive and exciting teams to watch in the entire USA,” Scarpaci said.
Eels players train more than 500 hours per year, and are regularly among the top players in the Florida Division. The advanced level of training supports the players’ main goal – to be the best and perform at the top like college-bound players.
“The college coaches know what the Eels training is made up of and the type of character our players possess,” Scarpaci added. “It is the total package – ability, skill set, the inner fabric of the players’ will to win, and the instilled high compete level that makes them so attractive to the colleges.”