The Topeka RoadRunners have announced that forwards Brian Christie and Justin Hussar have committed to Merrimack College (Hockey East).
Hussar will begin in the fall of 2012 and Christie will join the Warriors in the fall of 2013.
Christie, from West Chester, Pa., which is about 45 minutes west of Philadelphia, ranks third in team scoring with 43 points and leads the RoadRunners with a plus-31 rating. He also has a point in nine of his last 10 games.
It was a recent visit that convinced Christie to choose Merrimack.
“During my visit, I had a good feel on campus,” he said. “The biggest thing for me was the coaching staff. I really liked the whole staff; they’re definitely coaches I want to play for.”
Christie, who intends to focus on some area of business at the Massachusetts school, acknowledges his coaches in Topeka for helping him prepare for the next level.
“They’ve been pushing me all season to develop my game, and put me in good situations to succeed,” he said. “I couldn’t credit them more.
“I enjoy all the people that work with the team and who are involved with the organization,” he added. “The fans here in Topeka couldn't be more supportive of us as well. It truly makes it fun to play here."
With his college future secured, Christie is eager to concentrate more on team goals.
“This gives me the opportunity to fully focus on our goal of winning the Robertson Cup, and I couldn’t be more excited to make our run at it,” he said.
RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer believes Christie will be a solid Division I talent.
“Brian’s a player who does so many little things well, and he makes others around him better,” said the coach. “Merrimack is getting a quality hockey player in Brian Christie.”
Hussar, the youngest player on the RoadRunners’ roster, is second on the team in scoring with 45 points. The 18-year-old from Lancaster, N.Y., native wasted little time having a solid impact on his team.
“It's easy to forget he's the youngest player on the roster,” said Langer. "He plays with a veteran presence and level of composure that will take him far in his playing career.”
Hussar, himself, was surprised to land a college deal so quickly.
“I wasn't really expecting anything,” he said. “I just went out there every night and played my best game."
For Hussar, who plans on pursuing Business Management in college, choosing Merrimack was a fairly simple process.
"The overall experience on campus and the instant connection I had with the coaches made the decision pretty easy for me,” Hussar said.
He went on to praise his current coaches for helping him land his Division I deal.
"My coaches played a huge role by giving me the opportunity to play and show that I can compete at a high level,” said Hussar. “My coaches advised me and helped me make my decision. They guided me and put me in situations that helped me succeed.”
Like Christie, getting college plans allows for more time to focus on the remainder of the season.
“It motivates me even more to step up my game to help the Topeka RoadRunners win the Robertson Cup,” he said.
When asked what the best part of playing junior hockey in Topeka is, Hussar replied, “The love and support we get from our fans and playing for the best coaches, owner and organization in the league.”
View the complete NAHL College Commitment List here.