Tag Archives: NCAA DIII

Bryan Whelan Commits to Framingham State Rams

Bryan Whelan’s had a busy year. The EHL forward started the season with the New York Bobcats Royals before being traded to the Knights in January. Whelan had played 2016-17 with Knights NA3AHL nemesis, the Long Island Royals, before making the transition to the EHL this season.

Wherever he’s gone, Whelan has produced. In 29 games with New York this season, he tallied 15 goals and 23 points. Since coming to the Knights, he’s picked up six goals and seven assists in 16 games.

“I would say I bring speed and an offensive presence to the ice, with good vision and a quick release on my shot, Whelan said of his game. “I think I will be able to help Framingham out both during even strength and on the power play.”

The Framingham Rams are a member of the NCAA division three MASCAC conference. The university has been a member for the DIII level since 1971.

“I really liked the area of where the school was, and being able to walk not even a mile to go grab food or see a movie and stuff like that,” said Whelan of Framingham’s campus in Massachusetts. “The kids on the team were all welcoming when I went on my visit and I think this is a great fit for me.”

Whelan is confident that the EHL has prepared him for the next step in his career.

“Playing in this league has helped me because of its speed of play,” he said. “Seeing the few college games I have watched, I think I will be able to jump right into the college level and not have to make to major an adjustment to it.”

Standing at 5-9 with speed to burn, it didn’t take long for Whelan to make an impact with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the EHL. The right-handed forward scored in his first five games with the team, scoring six goals in his first nine appearances with the Knights. Needless to say, he’ll be a key piece for the team as it heads into postseason play.

“Bryan has been a welcome addition to our Knights family,” said head coach Josh Fusco. “He has progressed in his time here and I’m  very proud of the strides he has made. He came here on mission to make the playoffs in his last year of junior hockey and to prepare himself for college hockey. He wanted to be a Knight and we made it happen. He’s another kid that wants to be here and another kid for us to help. It couldn’t be any better than that.”

“Being a Knight has been a very fun experience,” said Whelan. “They are a top class organization, and I enjoy playing for them. Getting here, and now heading into college, I would like to thank my parents who have traveled this path with me since I was six years old, driving me to 6:00 am practices all over the US. I thank my brothers, for pushing me every day to be the best I can be and telling me to never give up and follow my dreams. This isn’t possible without them. I would also like to thank the Royals coach Ken Hoey, for always believing in me since my first junior year in 2015. I want to also thank Coach Fusco and the staff I’m with now for taking me in half way through the season and believing in me to go out there and play my game of hockey. Finally, I would like to thank all of my teammates since I have first started playing hockey as a little kid. They have helped me grow as a player and as a person of the ice and have bettered me in every which way possible.”

The Knights would like to thank Bryan for his dedication in his time with the organization. They wish him the best of luck in his career!

“Very happy for Bryan and his decision in pursuing his academic future and playing hockey at Framingham,” said Fusco. “I wish him all the best and much success with his future.”

Mike Gelatt Commits to Skidmore College

Just 217 miles separate Middletown, New Jersey and Saratoga Springs, New York, but Mike Gelatt’s hockey career has taken him much farther. Over 140 games played in the NAHL have sent him to destinations as far as Minnesota and Alaska, but have also allowed him the benefit of developing his game in and around his hometown. At the start of this week, the 1997-born forward committed to Skidmore College where the Thoroughbreds play NCAA DIII hockey in the NEHC conferrence.

“It’s a really nice area,” said Gelatt. “The town the school’s in, Saratoga Springs, is beautiful. It’s an awesome school academically, and they take their hockey seriously. That’s everything I wanted in a school.”

Gelatt will enter the college ranks after completing his 2017-18 season with the Knights, a team that’s been his home for the past two years.

“Mike Gelatt is a guy we brought in in our second season in the NAHL,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We had his brother on our blue line so we were familiar with the family, and Mike had played us a number of times with the New Jersey Titans. We saw a big-bodied, hard-working forward that could score. Mike’s been that for us over the past two years while growing into a strong leader in our locker room.”

“I would say I’m a big, power forward,” said Gelatt. “I like to hit, I like to get in deep and get involved on the forecheck. I’m maybe not the most skilled player, but I am a hard worker, and I think that allows me to be a good player.”

Gelatt grew up in Middletown, New Jersey, the home of the New Jersey Junior Titans hockey organization. When the program added a team in the NAHL in 2015, Gelatt quickly established himself as a regular, scoring seven goals and 20 points in his first 43 games. The following offseason he joined his older brother Tim with the Knights as a part of a draft day trade.

“It’s been fun place to play,” said Gelatt of his impression of the Knights. “It’s a great organization with a great group of players and staff. You get treated well as a player and you’re given freedom here.”

In two seasons, Gelatt has been a consistent source of grit and production, logging minutes on the power play and penalty kill, while upping his scoring to 26 goals and 35 assists in 96 games. He credits the NAHL for helping him grow as a player.

“The North American Hockey League is one of the top developmental leagues in the country,” he said. “I’ve grown so much here. It’s a league that makes you work hard for everything. There’s so much skill and really good players on every roster. You have to earn everything.”

“Mike’s a guy who’s sets a tone for our team,” said Kowal. “I think naturally you have our younger guys looking up to him, knowing that he’s logged a lot of games at the junior level. Mike’s a versatile guy, we’ve been able to pair him with a lot of other guys and get positive results. That’s a valuable player and person to have in your building, and we’re happy that he’s been a Knight for the past two years. I’m excited for him, and look forward to rooting him on as he progresses through college and life.”

With the final month of the regular season underway, Gelatt and the Knights are looking to finish the year out strong as they prepare for a playoff run.

“I want to see each and every one of the rest of our ’97’s commit to a division-I program,” he said. “Of course on the ice, our goal is to win a Robertson Cup, and to do that we have to carry the way we played this past weekend the rest of the way. I’m excited.”

With such a strong family and support team that have helped him throughout his journey, Gelatt was sure to acknowledge those closest to his journey.

“First and foremost I want to say thank you to my family,” he said.  “I’d also like to thank Coach Tom, Coach Whiteside, Dr. DeNaples, the Titans organization that I grew up with, and Mr. Randy Walker, who all made this possible.”

The Knights would like to congratulate Mike for his commitment and all the hard work he has put into his Knights career. As he advances forward in his career and beyond, the Knights will be rooting for him each step of the way!


JP Natishan Commits to King’s College

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights EHL forward JP Naitshan has announced his commitment to King’s College of the NCAA’s DIII UCHC conference. As a ’97 birth year, he will suit up for the Monarchs next season as King’s continues to grow its new hockey program.  For Natishan, the acclimation period should be a short one.

“I felt like I was at home,” said Natishan of his experience visiting the King’s campus. “I’m from this area. The campus is beautiful. I know what they’re about as a school and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The Wyoming, Pennsylvania native is a long-tenured veteran of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights program, dating back to his youth hockey days. His familiarity and impressive resume made him a more than logical choice for the Knights when the team was building a roster for their return to the EHL this year.

“JP is the hardest worker out there,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “He’s a leader who sets the tone for our guys on the ice, in workouts, and in the locker room. He’ll run through a wall for you.”

Natishan will join the Kings Monarchs in their second year playing NCAA division three hockey. The team has played hard even through the growing pains of their inaugural season, a fact that has not escaped their newest recruit.

“I’ve seen Kings play this year, they’re a great group of guys,” Natishan said. “They’re a really hard-working team. I think I fit that. I work hard, I like to play penalty kill, I block a lot of shots. I know I can bring that to their line up.”

Through 33 games, Natishan has three goals and three assists for the Knights in 2017-18 and his presence in his own zone, killing penalties, and matching up with the opposition’s skill lines has been invaluable.

“I lose count of how many shots JP gets down in front of each game,” said Fusco. “He’s a player we turn to in big moments. He grinds out every shift. He’s a guy you love to have on your roster.”

“JP has been a Knight for a long time,” added Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s been here longer than I have, but I’ve seen him in games, in practice, off the ice. It’s great to see his tremendous effort pay off with him going to play college hockey. We’ll  be rooting for him every step of the way.”

With just a few months remaining in his Knights career, Natishan looks back favorably on his time within the organization.

“It’s tough, but I’d have to say my favorite memory was winning an AYHL U16 championship,” he said of his 2012-13 season. “That was pretty special. I want to thank all my family, friends, teammates, my current and former coaches, and Coach Mallaro at Kings for helping me through this process.”

The Knights are proud of JP’s accomplishments and are excited for him as he moves forward in his college career. The organization will be rooting for him each step of the way!