Tag Archives: Commitments

Christian Stoever Commits to Merrimack College

When the Knights selected Christian Stoever in the third round of the 2017 NAHL Draft, they knew they had found an asset between the pipes.

“Christian is a super-talented, young goaltender that will be able to jump in and play juniors right away,” said Knights assistant GM Justin Schreiber following the Knights final pick. “We are very excited about Christian’s future and his time in the Knights crease.”

The 2000-born netminder went on to win 21 total games through his rookie campaign and proved to be a linchpin for the Knights NAHL postseason run. His body of work earned him a spot on the NAHL’s All-East Division Rookie team and a pair of games in the USHL.

“I’d describe my style of play as aggressive,” said Stoever. “I like to play the puck a lot. I get into playing and helping out my teammates. I’m definitely a competitive kid on the ice. I’m on the big side at 6-2. I can stand my ground when I need to. I like to assert my game around my angles and my positioning.”

“Christian played a big part in winning the East Division in playoffs this past season, and going to the Robertson Cup Final Four,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s the type of player that steps up when the lights shine the brightest and when the stage is the biggest. He’s the type of goalie that can steal a game or backstop a winning streak. He did both for us this year.”

On Tuesday, Stoever announced his commitment to Merrmiack College, an NCAA Div. I program that competes in the Hockey East Association. The Massachusetts-based college won a division II national championship in 1977-78 before jumping to division I in 1984. Since then, the college has produced a number of alumni that went on to play in the NHL, including journeymen like defensemen John Jakopin and Steve McKenna, among others.

Stepping into the role of head coach for the Warriors this season is Scott Borek, an alumni of Dartmouth with years of division one coaching experience, something that stuck with Stoever during the recruiting process.

“I really was impressed with the coaching staff,” he said. “They made me feel wanted. They have  a lot of experience at the division one level and they let me know they wanted me to play for Merrimack. I’m excited to develop my game there. Hopefully that leads to getting an opportunity to one day signing a pro contract somewhere and fulfill my dream of playing pro hockey.”

2017-18  was a first for Stoever as well, as the 2017-18 was his first season of junior hockey. After playing in 43 regular and postseason games, the goalie has gained an appreciation for what the North American Hockey League has done for his development.

“Having played one year in the NAHL, I’d definitely recommend it to future junior players. “I feel like it has gotten me ready for the USHL and ready to make that jump, and then after that make another jump to college hockey.

His well-documented performance in the playoffs this past season goes down as the best in the Knights brief NAHL history, as Stoever moves forward as the organization’s all-time  NAHL leader in playoff minutes (539), games played (9), wins (6), GAA (1.89), and save percentage (.949).

“It definitely raised my confidence a lot, just showing what we could do as a team,” said Stoever of the Knights postseason effort. “I’m not sure if I’d be in this situation right now if not for that run. I’m thankful for it, thankful for the teammates, and how we all played and stepped up. It was definitely a good last month and a half with everyone.”

When asked to describe his favorite part of being a Knight, Stoever echoed the sentiment of others players moving on this summer in his appreciation for the chemistry his teammates shared.

“Probably the guys,” he said of what he’d miss most. “Even though it was only one year, I think we made too many memories just to pick one favorite. It had to be my teammates. We all still talk every day. I definitely love those guys.”

Through it all, Stoever understands who’s helped him along the way, particularly those who have been in his corner since day one.

“My dad,” he said. “He’s been around my entire hockey career. He’s definitely spent a lot of money on me over the years, moving from Florida to Michigan just for hockey. He made a lot of sacrifices along with my whole family so I could play hockey.”

“We’re here to move all our players onto the next level of hockey, but they can also help move your program forward,” said Kowal. “Christian was a big part of a big step forward for our organization in the playoffs this past season. He’s an incredibly talented goalie who has the potential to add even bigger things to his resume as he continues to develop. I’m proud of what he’s accomplished for us and for himself. I wish him the best of luck at Merrimak and I can’t wait to see where his career takes him.”

The Knights thank Christian for the time and effort he contributed to the team, and wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward in his career and education!

Michael Morrissey Commits to Colby College

One of the longest-tenured Knights is heading off to college. Michael Morrissey, a 20-year old forward and veteran of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hockey program since its second season, announced his decision to attend Colby College this weekend. He’ll join former Knights forward Joe Schuler as on the roster for the 2018-19 season.

An assistant captain and veteran presence, Morrissey is in the midst of his finest season of junior hockey, recording 11 goals and 17 assists through 54 games played. Coincidentally, the Colby Mules are in the midst of one of their best seasons in their proud history, playing out of the NESCAC Conference in NCAA DIII hockey.

The Mules made waves around the hockey world last Saturday night, when they bested the Geneseo Ice Knights in the final second of regulation to move onto the Frozen Four. That same night, Morrissey scored the game-tying goal, before providing the screen on the game-winner for his Knights against the New Jersey Titans.

“I really liked the coaching staff,” said Morrissey. “Coach Hall, their assistant coach did a great job recruiting me. Blaise MacDonald, the head coach, spent a long time coaching in Hockey East, and has a few national championships to his name. Colby has top-of-the line academics and highly-competitive hockey, so it’s the best of both worlds for me.”

The Mules will travel to Lake Placid this weekend to vie for their first-ever national title, taking on St. Norbert at 6:30 pm EST this Friday. The winner of that contest will play Saturday in the National Championship against the winner of Salve Regina’s and Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s competition earlier in the afternoon. The aforementioned MacDonald has led the Mules to their first NCAA Frozen Four berth since 1996, when then coach Jim Tortorella-brother of John-came up just short of achieving the program’s ultimate goal.

“I’ve been following their run over the past few weeks,” said Morrissey. “It’s pretty exciting-their guys are talking about spending spring break in Lake Placid. It’s really cool to see them make the final four.”

The Knights in the meantime are preparing for a postseason run of their own, having clinched a playoff spot this past weekend. They can enter the playoffs as high as the second seed in the East Division should they finish the year on a strong note.

“I think some of our guys were in a bit of a slump to start the second half, but we’ve returned to playing simple hockey lately,” he said. “We went back to the basics, getting pucks on net and we’ve been able to find some success. We’re looking to carry that into our series with Northeast this weekend.”

Hockey has been a whirlwind ride for Morrissey, a native of nearby Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who’s played with and against NHL talent to develop his own strong skill-set.

“I would say I bring it every night,” he said. “I play an intense, two-way game, and I think I’m a play-making center. I’ve played a lot of years here and each one has been special. I won a national championship with our team in 2012, so that ranks high on the list for me in terms of best memories, but this last year has been great.”

With a high number of players committed to college from this year’s roster, Knights head coach Tom Kowal is thrilled to see the fruits of the program’s efforts result in so many player advancements, but Morrissey’s is one that has been a long time coming.

“Mike’s been here longer than I have,” laughed Kowal. “He’s been a member of some special teams here at the youth and junior level. He’s also played a big part in why the teams he played on were successful. Mike’s a hard-worker and one of the toughest players to play against I have ever coached. He brings a great two-way game to the ice, and it doesn’t matter who we put on his wing, that player gets better next to him. We’ve leaned on him heavily this year and just like you saw against the Titans Saturday, he’s capable of delivering in the biggest moments for us.”

With the final games of his junior career ahead, and college on the way, Morrissey wants to leave the Knights on a high note, but he’s not overlooking those who helped him along the way.

“I have a bunch of people that deserve a shout out, and a lot of special memories having played here,” said Morrissey. “Of course, I want to thank my family and parents for supporting me all this time. My billet family, the Latimers, for taking me in and making me part of their family. I want to thank our coaching staff with the Knights-TK and Whitey have done a lot to help me, and our owner, Dr. DeNaples, for supporting me all the way back to youth hockey and always looking out for my best interests.”

“I’m proud of Mike and the progress he’s made in his career,” said Kowal. “It will be a different place without him, but it’ll be for the best reasons. I’ll be cheering him on as he takes his next step with Colby in hockey and in life.”

The entire Knights organization thanks Mike for his hard work and the many years he’s put in with the program. They will be rooting him on with full confidence that big things lie ahead both in hockey and the world beyond.

Austin Weber Commits to Alabama

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Earlier this week, Knights EHL forward Austin Weber confirmed his commitment to the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide play DI hockey in the ACHA. The Tide’s program came into existence in 2005, and have built their way into a powerful ACHA contender since ascending to the division one level in 2015.

“Well first off, they have a sweet locker room,” said Weber of his future home. “It’s huge, it has four TV’s. I also have a lot of friends that go there. It’s a really nice campus, I like that. I kinda feel at home being 45 minutes away from my actual home. I feel like they actually appreciate the students. I’m going to business school there. My uncle went there. He’s told me a lot about it, it just sounds really good to me.”

The ‘97 forward has wracked up travel miles throughout his junior career playing in Minnesota, Alabama, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania over the past four years. Wanderlust turned out to be another major selling point for the Crimson Tide’s program to Weber.

“They play all over,” he said. “They play Utah this year. They went up to Syracuse last year to play outdoor games. Like in the NCAA, I didn’t want to play in just one conference, I wanted to go all over and play different teams all over the country.”

In his final season playing junior hockey, Weber has been a key piece for the Knights, notching four goals and 12 assists over 33 games. Coach Josh Fusco has had no reservations about plugging and playing Weber in a variety of situations.

“Austin has been a big part of our success,” said Fusco. “We’ve had him play multiple roles and on multiple lines for us this season. He’s a competitor; he mixes it up on every shift. He’s able to create on the attack and buckle down on the back check. He’s a fixture for us and it’s been a pleasure to have him here.”

Weber feels the EHL has helped prepare him for the jump to collegiate hockey.

“This is probably the best tier-III league I’ve played in. The overall speed, I think it’s almost up there with the NAHL. Everyone’s good in this league. I think it’s really developed me and gotten me along this path to where I am now. I think to Alabama I’ll bring my shiftiness, my quickness; I can get the puck up. I’ve got a little bit of hands here and there. I bring a speed factor to the game.”
With 15 games remaining in the regular season, Weber is fixated on helping his team making a playoff run. He’s appreciated the moments along the way, and is committed to finishing out his junior on a high note.
“My favorite memory so far is probably beating the Av’s in the showcase,” he said, noting the heated nature of the rivalry between the pair of teams. “I really just want to bare down here and finish with an 18-game win streak here, ride it out to the end.”
Through it all, Weber is happy to have had his journey, and thankful to those who have been a part of it.
“I want to thank Coach Kowal, Coach Whiteside, and Coach Fusco for always helping me, getting me whatever I needed when I needed it. My family, friends, and teammates along the way. It’s been a long journey and it’s finally coming to an end.”

Reed Robinson Commits to Niagara University

On Thursday, Knights forward Reed Robinson confirmed his commitment to Niagara University. Robinson, a ’98 from Rockwall, Texas, has been a member of the Knights organization since 2015.

“Reed Robinson is one of our most veteran players,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “This is his third season playing in our organization. He’s a guy who’s improved every year and is proof of where hard work can take you.”

Robinson is currently second on the Knights in scoring, with 10 goals and 14 assists in 25 games played in 2017-18. That total is ninth-highest in the North American Hockey League through the first three months of play.

“Reed’s one of our most talented players, and one of our biggest threats on the ice,” said Kowal. “Whether it’s 5-on-5, 3-on-3, overtime, power play, or penalty kill, we’re confident in putting him on the ice. He’s one of our leaders in points this season, but more importantly he’s one of our leaders in the locker room. He sets the tone and has really been a mentor to our younger players in helping them make the transition to junior hockey.”

“I’ve spent the last two years focused on my fitness,” said Robinson. “I think that’s really helped me to become a point-per-game player and I think it’s allowed me to help others on my team. Playing in the NAHL, it’s a high level of play, and the competition is hard to beat. It’s matured me.”

It was Robinson’s continued success at that level that brought him the attention of the Niagara University Purple Eagles, who play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA’s division one level. The program has a new staff this season, one that has guided the Purple Eagles to a quick start in 2017-18.

“The coaching staff was really what stood out to me,” said Robinson of his future home. “They’ve got the program going in the right direction, and I’m confident that I can play a role there. It’s in a small town-everybody knows everybody and I like that. Niagara Falls is right there and it’s right next to the Canadian border. It’s a really beautiful place.”

Robinson will spend the rest of his current season working to continue to improve his game as well as helping the Knights in their efforts in accomplishing their highest goal.

“We’re tied for first right now, we want make a run,” he said. “I want keep scoring and performing well but our ultimate goal is to win the Robertson Cup. I’m going to do whatever I can to help us get there.”

“At the end of the day, Reed is a great addition for the Niagara Purple Eagles and for division one hockey,” said Kowal. “He’s earned it and we’re thrilled he’s being rewarded for it.”

On behalf of the entire organization, the Knights would like to congratulate Reed on his commitment to Niagara University, and thank him for his continued efforts both on and off the ice to advancing the team’s success!

Knights Forward Joe Schuler Commits to Colby College

The 96 birth year will play for the Colby Mules in 2017-18

When the Knights made a trade that brought them Joe Schuler last summer, they were looking for a veteran forward to help bolster a young roster. The Webster, New York native rewarded them by bringing energy and the knowledge gained from already one year spent in the NAHL to their locker room. After a steady regular season, Schuler’s number was called upon often down the stretch to take shifts in some of the team’s biggest moments. In the playoffs, Schuler finished tied for the Knights lead in goals, ending the year on a two-game goal streak.

“First of all, the NAHL, it’s a great league,” said Schuler. “People say tier-II, but it’s extremely competitive. I think it’s made me twice the player I was. It’s helped me prepare for college. Living away from home allowed me to attack my academics more aggressively. I think it made me more independent.”

Schuler will take that dedication to his studies to college when he joins the Colby Mules of the NESCAC next season. The Mules program, located in Waterville, Maine, just completed their 22nd season playing at the division III level of NCAA hockey. Schuler is excited to get to work.

“I think when you visit a place, and it just feels right, that’s what stood out to me about Colby,” he said. “It’s a smaller school that’s challenging academically and they’ve had a hockey program for a long time. In the NESCAC conference, they play a lot of fun, competitive hockey.”

The Mules, once led by Jim Tortorella (brother of John) for their first 16 seasons, are now steered by head coach Blaise MacDonald. His team is coming off a 13-7-4 season in which they finished second in NESCAC’s regular season standings.

“Colby has a great tradition,” said Schuler. “I’m excited to play for a school where hockey and academics are a big deal.”

In reflecting on his final season in junior hockey, Schuler was most sure to talk about his teammates he shared it with.

“I like our guys,” he said. “We had a great group. We had a lot of fun together. Whether we were filling a teammate’s car with packing peanuts, going on long road trips or just hanging out in our hotel, we really enjoyed our time together.”

In parting, he had a few final words of gratitude.

“I just want to thank my parents,” he said.

The Knights organization thanks Joe for his contributions and wishes him all the best moving forward in his career!

Knights Captain Tim Gelatt Commits to Wisconsin River Falls

Knights blue-liner will join the Wisconsin River Falls Falcons in 2017-18

Tim Gelatt has announced he will be attending the University of Wisconsin River Falls next year. The Falcons, who play out of the WIAC in Division III of the NCAA, are a proud program that boasts 11 Frozen Four appearances and two National Championships since their formation in 1964.

“They just built a $63 million new athletics facility so that grabs your attention right away,” said Gelatt of his future workplace. “They have a great winning tradition. I felt that going there gave me the best chance not only to win but to do well academically.”

The ’96 defenseman will follow the same path as former Knights teammates Blake Busch and Tanner Bennett who committed to the Falcons program last year.

Gelatt, who is currently finishing his final year of junior hockey, registered three goals and five assists last season in 32 games played between the regular and postseason.

“I think the NAHL is the toughest league in junior hockey both physically and mentally,” said Gelatt. “Playing here, I think has set me up well for college. They do business like a pro league. It’s 60 games and you’re working, practicing and playing every week for a good chunk of the year. It’s a good test. There’s a lot of exposure between Blaine and the player showcases. The league just produces good hockey players.”

As captain of the Knights in 2016-17, Gelatt has been a steadying presence in the defensive zone while also contributing on the other end of the ice, tallying three goals and 11 assists in 50 regular season games played.

“I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” said Gelatt of his two years with the Knights. “We started building from the ground up in this league. We finished over .500 this year.  We made playoffs both years I’ve been here. Everyone’s put in so much work, from players, staff, billets and ownership. I’m happy to have been here since the start.”

The Knights organization would like to wish Tim the best of luck moving forward in his hockey career and congratulate him on a well-earned commitment.