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March 25. 2014 10:06PM

Going pro

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)


Trevor van Riemsdyk 

TREVOR VAN RIEMSDYK wants to join his big brother, James, in the National Hockey League.

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.

"It seemed like the right time," Trevor van Riemsdyk said on Tuesday night. "It was a pretty quick process when the season got over. I didn't want to keep people waiting too long. I talked to some people, James, my Mom and Dad, our family advisor, and ended up deciding on Chicago."

There were a few teams interested, he said.

"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."

Van Riemsdyk, an All American last year who missed the last two months of this season after breaking his ankle, will forego his final year of college eligibility. James van Riemsdyk played two years at UNH before heading to the pros.

He heads to Rockford, Ill., to join the Rockford Icehogs, Chicago's American Hockey League affiliate, on Thursday afternoon for a couple of weeks.

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.

Van Riemsdyk has been talking with his UNH professors and will be able to finish out the semester and will be about a semester shy of graduating after May.

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.

"I think he can make it," Umile said. "He's a very good prospect. He's as good a player and as smart a player as I've coached. And we've coached some good ones. He can play the game. He's a very smart, skilled player. He's got the vision and the awareness on the ice. It's almost like he's a step ahead. He's very clever and he's got great composure. He doesn't get beat too often. But the next step, where he's going, is against the best players in the world."

Van Riemsdyk broke his ankle when he fell into the boards in a game against Union on Jan. 19 in what turned out to be his last game as a Wildcat.

"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.

"It's tough that it's the last memory, but I've had a lot of good ones. I had three lucky years and made some memories I wouldn't trade for anything."

Van Riemsdyk led Hockey East in scoring with four goals and 19 assists for 23 points in 26 games when he got hurt.

He scored eight goals and had 25 assists for 33 points in 36 games as a sophomore.

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."

The leader of the defense now will be Brett Pesce, a sophomore this season, who came on strong toward the end of the year as he picked up minutes and added responsibilities with van Riemsdyk out of the lineup.

The van Riemsdyk line, by the way, should continue at UNH.

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.

The six others to be honored in the 2014 Hall of Fame class include gymnast Jana (Reardon) Mowers ('97), diving coach Dr. Rich Schavone ('71), volleyball player Alyson (Coler) Quinn ('03), men's soccer player Ryan Leib ('94), men's soccer and lacrosse player Jack Sebastian ('88) and hockey player Nicki Luongo ('99).

The 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held June 7 in Lundholm Gymnasium at 6 p.m.

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.

He shattered school records with 304 career receptions and 4,655 receiving yards.

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.

Stone was a four-year, letter-winner in lacrosse and women's hockey at UNH. She was a two-time All American in lacrosse and helped the Wildcats to the 1985 NCAA championship.

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.

alessels@unionleader.com On Twitter: @AllenLessels


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