The Topeka RoadRunners have announced that forward Andrew O’Leary has committed Army (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.
O’Leary, a 19-year-old from Norwich, Vt., said it was his recent visit to the West Point campus that finalized his decision.
“The coaches were personable and clearly high-quality, the team was a tight-knit bunch of guys, and the academics are top-notch,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play Division I college hockey and go to a prestigious academic school, and to me West Point offers the best of both worlds and then some.”
O’Leary, who has eight goals for 31 points through 38 games this season, is thankful for his opportunity with the RoadRunners.
“I’ve been fortunate to play for some good organizations in the past, but I believe what we have here is first-class and something special,” he said. “It's a pleasure coming to the rink everyday and being with my teammates and getting coached by two of my favorite coaches (head coach Scott Langer and assistant R.J. Enga) I've ever had.
“I also enjoy spending time with my billet family. Having a comfortable home life while playing junior hockey is essential for having success on the ice."
O’Leary, who is leaning toward a management degree at West Point, also credits his family for their unwavering support.
“My parents have always pushed me and my brothers to be great people,” he said. “My father has been my biggest inspiration in hockey; his love for hockey has been contagious from the first time I put on skates, and he continues to lend me his knowledge of the game.”
With his college plans secured, O’Leary will turn his full attention to the RoadRunners’ pursuit of a Robertson Cup championship.
“I’m getting more and more excited as we approach the playoffs,” he said. “We’re working hard everyday to produce a championship team. I think we have a special group that’s shown great character.”
O’Leary is the second RoadRunner to select Army as his college destination. Forward Cody Omilusik played in Santa Fe in 2006-07 and this season is a senior co-captain of the Black Knights.
O’Leary becomes the sixth player on this year’s roster to commit to a Division I program, following forwards Michael Hill (University of Alaska-Fairbanks), Brian Christie (Merrimack College) and Justin Hussar (Merrimack); defenseman Jacob Poe (University of Connecticut); and goaltender Rasmus Tirronen (Merrimack).
“You won't find a better organization to play for,” O’Leary said of his experience in Topeka.
View the complete NAHL College Commitment List here.