Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: TVR signs with Chicago
Trevor van Riemsdyk plans to follow his older brother, James, from the University of New Hampshire to the National Hockey League. (COURTESY)
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman for the University of New Hampshire hockey team took the next step toward making that happen when he agreed to terms on a two-year, free agent contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
"I narrowed it down partly based on style of play," he said. "It was a struggle choosing between a couple of them at the end and I'm happy with what I decided."
He'll continue his rehab there and thinks he may get to play before the season ends. Then he will prepare for the Blackhawks' camp in late summer.
UNH coach Dick Umile likes Trevor's chances of joining his brother, a forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the NHL at some point.
"One of the hardest things was to watch the games at the end and have my last time in a UNH jersey be lying on the ice," van Riemsdyk said.
Van Riemsdyk led Hockey East in scoring with four goals and 19 assists for 23 points in 26 games when he got hurt.
The UNH defensive corps certainly takes a hit with the loss of the player who would have been the team's leader.
"It's a big hit, but not a surprise," Umile said. "We planned with the idea that there was a possibility he was not coming back just because of his skill level and the fact he was a free agent. It was not only one team that owned him. A lot of teams were interested. We're not caught off guard. But we won't have somebody of his caliber to replace him, that's for sure."
Younger brother Brendan, a 6-foot-4 forward who is finishing up high school at Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey, has made a verbal commitment to accept a UNH scholarship. He's expected in Durham in the fall of 2015 or 2016 after a year or two of juniors.
UNH captain Eric Knodel, a 6-foot-6 senior defenseman and van Riemsdyk's playing partner this season, is also turning pro.
He signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization on Tuesday. The deal starts at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and Knodel will report to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL on a professional tryout agreement for the remainder of this season.
FOOTBALL wide receiver David Ball (2003-06) and Harvard and United States' Women's Olympic hockey coach Katey Stone ('89) lead the list of the latest inductees headed into the UNH Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ball walked on to the Wildcat football team out of Orange, Vt., and became the all-time FCS leader in career touchdown receptions with 58.
Ball teamed with quarterback Ricky Santos, now a UNH assistant football coach, to lead the Wildcats to a streak of appearances in the FCS tournament that reached 10 years last fall.
She has been the head coach at Harvard the last 19 years and took this year off from the school to guide the women's Olympic team to a silver medal in Sochi.