Two more NAHL players have committed to Division I schools, with Marquette Rangers forward James Gallagher heading to the University of Connecticut (Atlantic Hockey) next season and Springfield Jr. Blues defenseman Jack Callahan off to Quinnipiac University (ECAC) for either 2010 or 2011.
“It feels great,” said Gallagher, a Marquette native. “It’s nice to know where I’m going to play next after the long journey here. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to playing college hockey next year at UConn.”
In his third year with the Rangers, Gallagher, the team’s assistant captain, said the Huskies were late arriving in the recruiting process.
“They first contacted me at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine (Minnesota) and have been in contact with me ever since,” he said. “I went for a visit a few weeks ago, liked what I saw, I liked the coaches so to make the commitment to go there was easy.”
One of three original Rangers still with the team Gallagher, 20, is the all-time leading scorer in team history with 88 points on 35 goals and 53 assists.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder leads the team in scoring this season as well with five goals and 11 assists for 16 points.
“We’re all really happy for Jimmy,” said Rangers head coach Kenny Miller. “He’s a guy who’s worked hard over the past three years in this organization to get this opportunity, and I know he’ll go out there and represent our team and our league very well. It’s something I know he and his family are very proud of, as are all of us here.”
Callahan, from Red Bank, N.J., has posted two goals for 10 points after 18 games for the Jr. Blues this season, his first in the NAHL.
“My decision to leave the East Coast and join the Jr. Blues has helped me gain the exposure necessary to attract the attention of Division I programs,” said Callahan, 18.
“More importantly, (Jr. Blues) Coach (Chris) Wyler’s program has helped me improve the intensity and physicality of my play. The play in the NAHL is fast-paced; it forces you to be at the top of your game night in and night out.”
“The entire Springfield Jr. Blues organization is extremely happy for Jack on his commitment to Quinnipiac,” said Wyler. “Jack is an outstanding asset to our program and I'm sure he’ll carry that over into his college career."
Callahan is the second Jr. Blues player from this year’s team to decide on a Division I program, with forward Jon Bobb already committed to Army.
“Quinnipiac offers the combination of academics, athletics and campus environment I was looking for,” said Callahan. “When I visited the school last summer, I felt like it was a place where I would fit in. The opportunity to play for the Bobcats, to experience the tremendous support of their fans and to compete in the ECAC is a dream come true.”