The Texas Tornado, proud members of the North American Hockey League, are pleased to announce that forward C.J. Reuschlein has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Army, The United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y, beginning in the 2013-2014 season.
“I’m thrilled to playing hockey at West Point next season,” Reuschlein said. “Making the decision to go to there isn’t the easiest one in the world, but the opportunities afforded to you after you graduate make it absolutely worth it in the end.”
All students who attend the United States Military Academy are required to serve for five years after they graduate. Athletes aren’t excluded from that, but Reuschlein is planning to use his education to serve his country in a non-traditional way.
“I want to go there and try to become a doctor,” Reuschlein said. “Depending on your class rank, you get priority on choosing where you want to serve. I’ve always been at or near the top of my class grades-wise, and I’m confident I can do that at West Point even while playing hockey.”
“Serving your country is the ultimate honor,” he added. “I don’t think I would have been able to go to such a prestigious academy if it weren’t for hockey,”
Reuschlein, from E. Lansing, Michigan, began his junior hockey career with the Tornado last season, playing in 38 games and scoring 18 goals and 16 assists before being traded to the Aberdeen Wings. He scored 5 goals and 8 assists in 20 games with Aberdeen at the tail-end of last season before returning to Frisco to start the 2012-2013 campaign. In 14 games played this season, he’s averaging just under a point a game, with 5 goals and 7 assists.
“Coming to Texas at the start of last season allowed me to get playing time right away and really develop as a player,” Reuschlein said. “You’re playing with good players every day here, and you can’t take a day off.”
“We’re excited for C.J.,” Tornado head coach and general manager Tony Curtale said. “He’s an extremely bright kid whose goal since he came to the Tornado was to not only play at the next level, but do so at an outstanding academic institution. West Point is one of the top schools in the country, and we think C.J. will be just as valuable to their hockey team as he is here with the Tornado.”
Reuschlein credits his coach’s attention to detail as something which really helped his game progress, allowing him to play at the next level. “Tony makes you work hard every day and hammers home the little things,” he said. “Stuff like working hard in the corners and getting after pucks. Not everyone pays attention to that, but it’s something that I’ve worked on since I came here.”
Reuschlein was initially contacted by Army after playing in a showcase in Boston over the summer, who made a point to see him play at the Combat Hockey/NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn. in September.
“I talked to three of their coaches in Blaine,” Reuschlein said. “They all told me that my I’ve got good skill and a good shot, but the fact that I work really hard really fit their style of play. They also told me I should be able to come in and got a lot of playing time right away, which I’m obviously excited about.”
He took his official visit to West Point a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by both the campus and the hockey program, which made the decision that much easier. “The campus is amazing,” he said. “I also watched practice while I was there and it looked like a really good hockey team. I’m excited to get started there next season.”