Austin forward Richards makes NCAA DI commitment
May 22, 2017
By Michael Keeley, Austin Bruins
The Austin Bruins, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have announced that forward Jon Richards has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) program for the 2017-18 season.
Richards joins Jake Kucharski (Providence), Jan Stefka (American International), and Justin Misiak (Michigan Tech) as members of the 2016-17 team to land a Division I commitment.
Richards, 19, was a rookie in 2016-17 and led all first-year Bruins in points (35) and goals (19). He was tied for fifth in overall team scoring. The Callaway, Minnesota native excelled on a line with Justin Misiak and fellow rookie Cole Lawrence, which proved to be the most consistent forward trio for the B’s offense. He was also named to the Central Division Team at the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
“The Bruins organization has had a huge impact on the person and player I am today,” said Richards. “As a Bruin, I was always pushed to be the best player I could possibly be. I would not be where I am today without the support and help from the Bruins.”
RPI is located in Troy, NY, just north of the state capital of Albany. The Engineers are one of the oldest college hockey programs in the country, with a history dating back to 1901. They play in the ECAC Hockey Conference, in which they were champions last in 1984 and ’85 - the latter also including their second and most recent National Championship. RPI’s last NCAA Tournament Appearance came in 2011.
“RPI is a great fit for me because not only do they expect the best out of the players in a hockey sense, but as student athletes as well,” Richards added. “Every experience I’ve had with the coaching staff has been outstanding and I definitely feel like I am part of a great hockey program.”
The Engineers recently made a coaching change, naming former Canisius College head coach Dave Smith as their bench boss last month.
Richards, who was a high school standout at Detroit Lakes High School prior to his Junior career, thanks his support system for helping guide him:
“I would like to thank my family, coaches, and teammates for all the support they have given me over the years. My parents especially, have always been my biggest supporters and without them, I could not have reached this point.”
Richards ended up scoring 196 points in 107 career high school games – including time with the Great Plains organization in the Upper Midwest Elite League. After 6 games as an affiliate player with the Bruins in 2015-16, he was a mainstay in the lineup this past season, dressing in 51 games.