By Randy Russon, Soo Eagles Media
A dandy duo of 1992 birth year forwards from Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League have secured National Collegiate Athletic Association commitments for the 2013-14 season.
Jared VanWormer is headed to the Ferris State Bulldogs, a Division 1 powerhouse that will be part of the exodus from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the Western Collegiate Athletic Association effective next season. And Brandon Adams is off to the Oswego State Lakers of the Division 3, State University of New York Athletic Conference. Oswego State has a reputation as one of the top D3 programs in the United States.
VanWormer, who joined the Eagles this season from the erstwhile Traverse City North Stars, is the Soo's leading point-getter at the 50-game mark of the current campaign with 20-40-60 totals. He also recently played on the Great Lakes team at the 2013 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. He said a number of factors played into his decision to commit to Ferris State for next season.
"I am quite familiar with the hockey program at Ferris as a number of guys who I have played with are already there," said VanWormer. "There's that comfort factor, plus Ferris State is only about an hour and 15 minute drive from where my family lives in Traverse City. Plus, Ferris State has a good reputation for hockey and academics and I really liked what I saw when I went there for my official visit."
The 6-foot, 195 pound Van Wormer said knowing that he is headed to Ferris State next season takes a weight off of his shoulders.
"It's a relief," he related. "I have worked hard for this opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. Now I can fully concentrate on the rest of this season with the Eagles and hopefully help our team go to the Robertson Cup."
VanWormer said he likes playing for Eagles coach Bruno Bragagnolo and enjoys the Sault Ste. Marie hockey atmosphere.
"Bruno's a good coach who lets you play while making you accountable. It's been really good playing for him and it's been a different experience leaving home to play hockey in Sault Ste. Marie. It's been an enjoyable season," said VanWormer, who plans to study Business at Ferris State.
As for Adams, who joined the Eagles midway through this 2012-2013 season after leaving the Division 1, NCAA program at Holy Cross for financial reasons, he said making a commitment to Oswego State for 2013-2014 "seemed like the right fit for me.
"The combination of academics and athletics at Oswego is second to none," said the 5-foot-11, 200 pound Adams, who intends to major in Criminal Justice.
Adams, who is from the Chicago area, has 23 points, including 12 goals, in just 18 games with the Eagles this season. He called his decision to leave Holy Cross to return to junior hockey, specifically the Eagles and the NAHL, "a great opportunity that has provided success at a personal and team level. It's been such a great experience playing for Bruno and the Soo Eagles."
Meanwhile, the low-key, no-nonsense Bragagnolo was rather expressive when discussing the NCAA commitments made by VanWormer and Adams.
"First of all, on behalf of the entire Soo Eagles organization, we are very happy for Jared and Brandon. Jared is the type of player that every team needs to be successful. His combination of exceptional skill, leadership abilities and work ethic are unmatched by anyone and I will be looking forward to watching him play as a Ferris State Bulldog next year. As for Brandon, he has made a great decision to go to Oswego State as they are a perennial power every year. His speed and scoring ability along with his work ethic have been a strong asset for the Eagles and I am sure they will be the same for Osewgo State."
VanWormer and Adams join goalie Tyler Marble (Division 1, Lake Superior State) and forward Denver Pierce (Division 1, Northern Michigan) as Eagles who have future NCAA commitments.