TEWKSBURY, MA -- It's officially hockey season, and the Boston Junior Rangers are back. This year, the Rangers will once again have teams in both the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and Eastern Hockey League (EHLP), each with their minds set on returning to Providence College. It was at Schneider Arena where the EHL team saw their season come to an end, and the EHLP team won another championship.
"Looking back, those were obviously 2 very different endings for our teams this past year," said Rangers EHL head coach and general manager Rich DeCaprio. "While things definitely didn't end the way we wanted them to for our EHL team, that group still has a lot to be proud of. On the other end, the EHLP team was in the title game for the 3rd straight season, and we have a little dynasty in the making now having won 2 of the first 3 EHLP titles."
As DeCaprio mentioned, the EHL team reached the EHL Frozen Finals this past March, but things didn't go as hoped in Providence. It was still a record-breaking season for the Rangers though, as over 15 players from the EHL team will be kicking-off their collegiate hockey careers this Fall. With that much turnover it does put pressure on the coach to reload the roster for the next season, but DeCaprio is feeling confident in his top group, led by a core of 6 returning players.
As for the EHLP team, their biggest loss will likely be Ryan Blair, the 2017-18 Coach of the Year. Blair recently accepted a new position with UMass Lowell, and the Rangers would like to wish their former coach the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Moving forward, the Rangers are lucky to have a solid replacement, as Keith Aucoin will be taking over as the new EHLP Head Coach. It's a best case scenario for the Rangers, but even Aucoin can admit the pressure is on.
"I'm really looking forward to helping the kids get better every day, and pass on what I’ve learned over the past 20 years of my career both on and off the ice," said Aucoin. "This organization has had a lot of success over the past few seasons, and Blairsy was a big reason why. I am hoping to make a similar impact with both teams."
As we officially turn the page for the new season, the Rangers' EHL team will get started tonight when they host the Lehigh Valley Junior Rebels at 7:40pm. On the flip side, the EHLP will kick-off their season next weekend in New Jersey against the 87s.
View this year's team rosters and schedules.
EHL Roster -- EHL Schedule
EHLP Roster -- EHLP Schedule
TEWKSBURY, MA -- The Boston Junior Rangers are pleased to announce the addition of Keith Aucoin to the coaching staff. Aucoin will serve in an assistant's role, helping out at both the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) levels. A native of Massachusetts, Aucoin has been eager to begin coaching and will provide the players with a wealth of professional knowledge.
"It goes without saying that when you have a coach join your program that has a Stanley Cup ring, a Calder Cup ring, and 20 years of profesional experience, it is a huge asset," said Rangers head coach and general manager Rich DeCaprio. "On a personal note, Keith and I were high school teammates. He’s always been highly competitive, and obviously successful. Our program and players will benefit tremendously being around him on an every day basis."
As DeCaprio mentioned, Aucoin brings with him multiple years of playing experience. It began for Aucoin when he put together four great seasons at Norwich University, tallying over 230 points and a National Championship to his name. Following his time in the college ranks, Aucoin went on to play over 900 games combined between the National Hockey League (NHL) and American Hockey League (AHL). Aucoin also spent a number of years playing overseas in Europe, before officially retiring this past spring.
"I'm really looking forward to helping the kids get better every day, and pass on what I’ve learned over the past 20 years of my career both on and off the ice," said Aucoin.
The Rangers players are set to begin arriving in Tewksbury, as the EHLP team will play its first game on September 14th and the EHL team kicks-off its season on September 15th.
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.