TEWKSBURY, MA -- Blake Bride, an alumni of the Boston Jr. Rangers, has committed to the Air Force Academy for the Fall of 2019. The '98 spent the 2016-17 season with the Rangers, racking up a total of 46 points in 52 total games. Following the end of the season, Rangers' head coach and general manager Rich DeCaprio sought out to help Bride land a spot on a North American Hockey League (NAHL) team for the 2017-18 campaign. The native of Broomfield, CO was able to land a roster spot, as he started the season with the Minnesota Wilderness. Following the NAHL Showcase in September, the Odessa Jackalopes acquired the forward, and it was at this point when his season really took off. Bride finished the year on the Jackalopes roster, tallying 53 points in 55 total games.
"I am very happy for Blake," said DeCaprio. "He is one of my favorite players that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching, and he truly works harder than everyone else. We told him all the time that he had the talent to play Division I hockey, and we are very proud of his accomplishment. I am really looking forward to watching him play at the next level."
For Bride, while he only played two seasons of junior hockey, he knows each year was very key towards his development. Looking back on the 2016-17 season in the EHL, Bride knows that year in particular really helped him make the jump that he needed.
"Playing in the EHL was the best thing for me at the time," said Bride. "It was my first year of juniors and all I remember when I first got out to Boston was me questioning if I was going to be able continue my success at this next level. My first few games I was intimidated by the talent I was going against. I thought I was going to be able to do whatever I want and put up points, no questions asked. I soon realized that it was okay to play and develop myself into a more well-rounded player. Coach DeCaprio and Coach Blair were very helpful in my growth. They gave me the push and hope that I needed. They taught me to work hard at practice and off-ice training. I wouldn’t be here without these coaches and the Boston Jr. Rangers organization."
While Bride's commitment is the most recent display of a player going from the EHL to the NAHL, and then on to college hockey, he isn't the only Rangers' player to have followed that pattern. Kolby Vegara was a key piece on the blue line for the Rangers during their 2015-16 season. Following that year, Vegara spent the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons with the Philly Rebels in the NAHL, and now he'll join the UMass Minutemen this Fall.
"The EHL helped me to begin to develop all parts of my game, and gave me the opportunities to grow as a player before making the jump to the NAHL," said Vegara.
TEWKSBURY, MA -- The Boston Jr. Rangers are pleased to announce that Mike McPherson has committed to Plymouth State University for the Fall of 2018. The '97 spent the better part of three years with the Rangers organization, playing for the EHL and EHLP teams.
"We are very happy for Mike on his commitment to Plymouth State," said Rangers EHL head coach and general manager Rich DeCaprio. "Mikey developed with us and climbed the ladder from EHLP, to EHL, and then had stints in both the NAHL and CCHL. Ultimately I think he realized our team and our league was the best spot for him to finish his junior career and make his college commitment. When we got him back in January, he helped us tremendously. He’s a goal scorer and a competitor, but most importantly he’s a great kid. He will have a great college career!"
McPherson's time with the Rangers began with the EHLP team in the 2015-16 season, and that year he tallied an even 100 points in 38 total games. The native of Somerville, MA was named EHLP's Most Valuable Player, and was a key piece in the Ranger's first EHLP Championship.
McPherson moved up the ladder to the EHL for the 2016-17 season, and his scoring didn't skip a beat, as he led the league with 35 goals in the regular season. Including the playoffs, McPherson notched 69 total points in 53 total games that year. Next up for the talented scorer were a pair of stints in the NAHL and CCHL this past season, before ultimately returning back to the Rangers for the playoff run.
In his final set of games in the EHL, McPherson went off for 31 points in 15 total games. All in all, it was a fabulous junior career for McPherson, and he is very glad to have ended it with the Rangers.
"There is nothing more I will miss in life than coming to the rink everyday with the guys and knowing that I am going to improve as a hockey player," said McPherson. "My time spent with the Rangers in the EHL was enjoyable and everything I could ask for from a developmental standpoint. Both Coach DeCaprio and Coach Blair were dedicated day in and day out, not only to win hockey games, but more importantly to make their players ready for the next level. They changed how I viewed the game of hockey and showed me how the game should really be played with a balance of fun, intensity, and poise. I could not have picked a better team and family to play for in a steadily improving and already talented league. I am extremely excited to start my NCAA journey with Plymouth State University!"
TEWKSBURY, MA -- The Boston Jr. Rangers are pleased to announce that Jon Fowler has committed to Anna Maria College for the Fall of 2018. The '99 just finished his first season with the Rangers at the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) level, and he racked up a total of 25 points in 42 games on the blue line.
"Fowler was a great presence on and off the ice for our program," said Rangers EHLP head coach Ryan Blair. "He is a big body that can really shoot the puck. We are proud of the body of work Jon put in this year and wish him all the best in his college career."
Fowler is the first EHLP commit of the season for the Rangers, and the second overall for the entire division. For the most part, the EHLP has been a great stepping stone for players to develop for a year and then move up to the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). Looking at this year's EHL team in particular, seven of the players began in the EHLP, worked their way up to the EHL, and are now getting set to kick-off their collegiate hockey careers this Fall.
For Fowler, he took some time to weigh all of his options following the EHLP Championship game back on March 25th. The young defenseman found some security in the back of his mind, knowing that he could come back and likely compete for a top-six spot at the EHL level. Then Anna Maria came calling, and it was the perfect fit to move on to the next level.
"Having the opportunity to play Junior Hockey this year helped me develop my skills to be able to compete at a much higher level," said Fowler. "Coach Blair was always supportive and ran great practices so that each time I was on the ice I felt like I was improving my game. I’m excited that I'm getting the opportunity to play for Anna Maria in their first season and help them pave the way for a successful hockey program."
As Fowler mentioned, the Anna Maria College Amcats will begin their inaugural season at the Division III level this Fall. To date, their roster includes Fowler, and six other EHL/EHLP players, all from different organizations.