Persistence has paid off for one of the Langley Rivermenâ€™s most dynamic offensive players.
Forward Gage Torrel, in his final year of junior A hockey, has earned an NCAA Division 1 scholarship to Lake Superior State University, beginning in the 2015/16 season.
In his second year with the Rivermen, the St. Paul, Minn. native is one of the teamâ€™s top three point producers.
â€œIâ€™m very excited for the opportunity Lake Superior State has given me and itâ€™s going to be a lot of fun,â€ Torrel said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to it.â€
â€œWeâ€™re happy for Gage,â€ Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson said. â€œHeâ€™s worked really hard both last season and this season and we know heâ€™s going to do well there.â€
In his first year with the Rivermen, Torrel scored 24 points in 28 games, helping the team capture the Ron Boileau Memorial trophy for the best record in the BCHL regular season.
â€œI have to give thanks to my advisor, the coaching staff here, and my parents,â€ Torrel said. â€œMy dad told me you should go to a school where youâ€™re wanted. I felt this was the right choice.â€
Lake Superior State University, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, is one of the smallest public universities with roughly 3,000 students.
Notable names to graduate from Lake Superior State include former NHL forwards Doug Weight, Brian Rolston and Bates Battaglia.
The Rivermen return home this Friday and Saturday to play back-to-back games at the Langley Events Centre. On Friday, they host the Surrey Eagles and on Saturday, the â€™Men are taking on Vernon Vipers. Game time both nights is 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door or online at www.langleyrivermen.com.
Heading into this weekendâ€™s two-game home stand, the Rivermen own an impressive 6-2-1-1 record on LEC ice.
Rearguard to join Rivermen
The Rivermen recently announced that 1996-born defenceman Tyler Niven is committed to the team for the 2015/16 season.
The 18-year-old currently plays for Governorâ€™s Academy in Massachusetts as part of the Independent School League.
â€œItâ€™s a great opportunity,â€ Niven said. â€œI met with the Rivermen coaching staff in the summer and I fell in love with the town, the area, and the building. Iâ€™m real excited to get out to the West Coast and play a different style of hockey.â€
â€œTyler is an elite defenceman who has a great skill set,â€ Henderson said. â€œWeâ€™re lucky to have him be part of our organization next season.â€
Niven, from the state of Maine, was nominated captain of his hockey team this season.
â€œItâ€™s a great honour,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of new guys on the team and I like the responsibility and to lead by example. I believe itâ€™s important to work hard and have a positive attitude every day.â€
â€œHe thinks the game well and has an enhanced skill set to compliment his hockey IQ,â€ Rivermen assistant coach and director of player personnel Kurt Astle said. â€œTyler is a well-rounded defenceman who has shown an offensive upside.â€
Niven has heard that the BCHL is a fast league. â€œThe forwards are quick and big. Itâ€™s a physically grueling league. I want to test myself in that category of that game,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s going to be a great opportunity and Iâ€™m looking forward to everything.â€
â€œWe look forward to seeing Tyler in a Rivermen jersey next year,â€ said Henderson.
ICE CHIPS: Governorâ€™s Academy is a highly selective and prestigious co-educational independent boarding preparatory school. The school was established in 1763 and is the oldest continuously operating independent boarding school in the United States.