Earlier in the week, Knights EHL skater Josh Edwards made his commitment to Lehigh University for the 2018-19 season. The Mountain Hawks play ACHA Division I hockey out of Steel Ice Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“It’s a really good engineering school and I want to be a mechanical engineer,” said Edwards. “I love the area, I love the campus. It’s really pretty. The coaching staff on the hockey team, they’re all very nice. They seem really excited to have me and I’m really happy about that. It’s just a great school. It’s pretty perfect for me. It’s enough where I could get away from home a little bit and have that college experience, but it’s close enough where I’m still only about an hour away. I can come back and see some games with the Knights if I want to, and come back and see my family. It would have been really hard to pass that up.”
Edwards, a native of Mountain Top, PA, has been amongst the most versatile players in the Knights organization. Over the past few seasons, Edwards has shown the ability play both forward and defenseman, making himself a rare and useful piece in any lineup.
“Right now I’m going to be a defenseman,” said Edwards of his future position at Lehigh and current role with the Knights. “I don’t know if that’s subject to change if they (Lehigh) need me anywhere else, but right now it looks like they need defensemen. I’m happy to fill that role for them.”
”He’s a versatile guy,” said Knights head coach Josh Fusco. “You can put him anywhere and he’ll step up to the plate. He started out as a defenseman. We tried him out at forward, we played around with it but he’s settled in in the EHL playing defense. He’s made a home out of it.”
A long-time veteran of the Knights program, the ’98 has been playing for Fusco for the better part of the last three seasons.
“It’s been great developing a relationship with Coach Fusco,” said Edwards. “I started out with him in my U16 year, I worked out with him all last summer too, after playing with him my first season. He’s a coach who lets you know when you do something wrong, but also helps you fix it. He’s always there, he’s very approachable, he’s someone you can talk to. I really have enjoyed playing for him over the past few years, and that’s one thing I’m really going to miss for sure.”
“It’s been a pleasure to have Josh,” said Fusco. “He’s an ultimate team guy. He’ll do anything for his teammates and coaches. He’ll go out of his way to help a teammate. He’s a coaches player-he’s one of the guys you don’t have to tell a whole lot. He knows what I expect. He’s enjoyable to be around. I couldn’t be happier for him with this announcement.”
Edwards has three points in 35 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The now-defenseman has been a reliable puck-mover, supplying speed no matter where’s placed, providing valuable transition ability as well as reliability in his own zone. All of that
“I like to be an all-around player,” he said. “I like to bring some speed to the lineup. I think every team needs a locker room guy. I think I do a good job of having a good attitude. I like bringing up the morale of the other players, keeping a light mood.”
His head coach agrees.
“He knows how to bring his teammates up to the next level, he just competes,” said Fusco. “He gives 110% every time he sets foot on the ice and his off-ice work ethic is by far the best out of any player I’ve ever met. His work ethic is contagious. His motivation to go the the next step has been evident. He’s an all-around good kid.”
As his junior career winds down, Edwards is committed to finishing strong for the Knights, and to go out on a high-note in a league that he feels has prepared him for the rigors of college hockey.
“I want to finish out the year strong. I think that we’re a team that can surprise a lot of people. Nobody wants to play us in the playoffs. We’ve been picking it up and getting better. I think that we really have a shot if we do the right things and play hard that we can end up in that finals in Providence and who would want to win a championship?”
The Eastern Hockey League prides itself on its ability to advance players onto college hockey. Edwards agrees that playing in the league has done well in preparing him for competitive hockey.
“It’s a really fast-paced league, it’s really competitive, he said. “Any team can win on any given day so you have to show up for every game-it’s not some leagues where you come in knowing you’re going to win a game. Every game is a challenge, you have to work hard. There’s just so much skill. There’s a lot of really, really talented players in this league and it’s been a great experience competing against them.”
His head coach couldn’t be prouder of how Edwards has grown in the time they’ve spent together.
“Coaching Josh for three years, seeing him grow, seeing him develop, seeing his passion, seeing him go off and find his college, that’s the ultimate satisfaction,” said Fusco. “He’s got a special place in my heart and he’s a guy I’ll miss seeing wearing a Knights jersey, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him in his career.”
In all of the excitement, Edwards didn’t forget to thank those who were there to guide him on his journey.
“I want to say thanks to my family, coaches, and friends,” he said. “Definitely the Knights staff. A big thank you to them. They helped me a lot along the way. They taught me a lot about not only hockey, but life too. I hope to carry those experiences with me forever.”
A very hearty congratulations to Josh Edwards from the Knights organization! The team looks forward to following and rooting for Josh as he advances in hockey career and education!