NAHL, NAPHL alums Copley and Pochiro sign NHL deals
March 20, 2014
Providing further evidence that in just five short years, the ladder of development that exists within the path from the NAPHL to NAHL to NCAA or major junior and now NHL has become a reality, the NAHL and NAPHL is pleased to announce that two alumni have recently signed contracts in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Former California Titans (NAPHL) and Corpus Christi IceRays (NAHL) goaltender Pheonix Copley has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
Former Nevada Stars (NAPHL) and Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL) forward Zach Pochiro has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.
Copley, 22, spent the last two seasons at Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Copley appeared in 30 games for the Huskies this season, posting a 10-13-6 record with one shutout, a .911 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average. The North Pole, Alaska, native ranked sixth in the WCHA in goals-against average and seventh in the league in save percentage. Copley earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors twice during 2013-14 season.
As a freshman at Michigan Tech during the 2012-13 season, Copley appeared in 24 games for the Huskies and posted an 8-15-1 record. The goaltender registered three shutouts, a .900 save percentage and a 3.22 goals-against average during the season and ranked 11th in the WCHA in save percentage and 12th in the conference in goals-against average. Copley was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week twice and the Defensive Player of the Week once. In 54 career WCHA games, Copley has recorded an 18-28-7 record with four shutouts, a 2.82 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
Copley spent the 2010-11 season with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), posting a 14-23-4 record with a 4.17 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage in 42 games. Prior to his season in the NAHL, Copley spent the 2009-10 season with the California Titans 18U team, which won the NAPHL Championship. Copley had a goals against average of 2.62 and a save percentage of 87.1% that season.
Pochiro, 20, has spent the past two years with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
This season, the 6-foot-1, 162-pound forward has dressed in 63 games, ranking third on the club with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) while leading the team with 123 penalty minutes.
Prior to Blues training camp, Pochiro represented the club at the 2013 Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan, where he posted two points (one goal, one assist) and eight penalty minutes in four games. Originally born in St. Louis, and a native of Las Vegas, Pochiro was originally drafted by the Blues in the fourth round, 112th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.
During the 2011-12 season, Pochiro played for the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats. During that season, he led the team in scoring with 34 points (18 goals, 16 assists) in 52 games played. He also led the team in penalty minutes with 154.
Two years prior and like Copley, Pochiro played during the inaugural season of the NAPHL in 2009-10 for the Nevada Stars 16U team. During that season he ranked 2nd on the team in scoring with 29 points (18 goals, 11 assists) in 20 games played.