The next stage of Matt Cope’s career is set. The 18-year-old Lakewood, Colo., native has committed to continue his education and hockey career at Division I Robert Morris University.
Cope, in his second season with the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), made his decision to commit to Robert Morris on Christmas Eve.
“It’s really exciting,” said Cope, who noted that he has family members who live near the campus. “A lot of thought went into the decision. It was a relief and a big weight off my shoulders to find the place that I’m going to go to and play at.”
Located in Moon Township, Pa., Robert Morris’ men’s ice hockey team is in just its eighth year of competition. Under the direction of Derek Schooley, the Colonials have improved steadily since their inaugural season in 2004-05.
In 2009-10, Robert Morris beat then No. 1-ranked Miami (Ohio) twice. The Colonials won a school-best 18 games last season, and 30 former players have gone on to play professionally. The Colonials are currently in second place in the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) with an overall record of 9-7-2 (7-2-2 AHA).
“The program is still new,” Cope said, “And the success that they have had from year to year is impressive.”
Cope has 10 points (6G, 4A) in 27 games with the Wild this season. He recorded 16 points (8G, 8A) and was plus-10 in 49 games with the Wild in 2010-11.
“I think [Cope’s commitment] is really good in a sense that it’s still very early in Matt’s [junior] career,” said Wild head coach John Becanic. “It’s always nice to see a guy who plays hard and works hard get rewarded with a scholarship. Physically, Matt’s ready. Detail-wise and ability-wise, he’s ready.”
Cope is the fifth active player on the Wenatchee roster to commit to an NCAA Division I school joining: Ben Carey, Blake Roubos, Blake Saylor and Kyle Vogel.