HUDSON, NH -- Drennen Atherton will play for a team other than the Northern Cyclones for just the second time in four years next fall.
With the exception of the 2016-17 season, Atherton was the man between the pipes for the Cyclones in both the Eastern Hockey League and the National Collegiate Development Conference. Next year, it’s off to Sacred Heart University, a NCAA Division 1 school in Fairfield, Conn.
“It’s been a long road for sure, but Sacred Heart is a great school with good academics, and that was very important to me no matter where I was going,” said Atherton.
Atherton was a NCDC All-Star this past season, and he finished with a .923 save percentage and a 2.61 goals against average.
In 2014-15, Atherton split the season between the Cyclones’ former EHL team and their 18U squad. He was up full time with the EHL squad in 2015-16, before spending the next season in the Midwest. This year, he returned to Hudson, N.H., to fulfill his destiny of becoming a NCAA Division 1 prospect.
“It’s proof that if you stick with the process, and remain consistent in your dedication and if you have the right attitude, you can achieve what you want,” said Cyclones head coach Bill Flanagan. “He believed in the process and achieved his goal.”
Flanagan expects to see Atherton between the pipes next season for the Pioneers.
“He’s going to challenge, no matter what the situation is there, and whomever is the incumbent there,” said Flanagan. “He is a competitor and he wants to be in the net. I think the most important thing about him is that he’s going to bring competition to the position.”
“It’s what I’ve trained for since I was 7 years old. My goal was always to go Division 1,” Atherton added. “I’m extremely excited. Sacred Heart has a beautiful campus, it’s close to Boston and New York City, and it’s a good business school, which is probably the major that I’ll be in.”
Atherton said that Sacred Heart started talking to him “about a month ago,” but they had expressed interest in the goaltender back to December. Flanagan kept him in the loop, and was confident in Atherton’s ability to clinch the commitment.
“He’s very calm, he doesn’t get rattled,” Flanagan added. “You can rely on him even if the team is not playing well in front of you. He is very even-keeled. He resonates that to his teammates, that’s his biggest attribute.”