Oliver Eklund selects Arkansas

11032020_10205070382092817_8130237757976488142_nThe Razorback Hockey team is excited to announce that Oliver Eklund has formally committed to Arkansas. A 6’2″ goaltender from Uppsala, Sweden, Eklund played last season for the Springfield Express of the Western States Hockey League.

Playing in his third WSHL season, Eklund appeared in 21 games and posted an 11-10 overall record with a 3.81 GAA and .890 save percentage.  In 51 WSHL games before the 14-15 season, Eklund posted a record of 22-19, with a 3.21 GAA and a .913 save percentage.  Said Eklund, “I decided to choose the University of Arkansas because of its impressive team success in the past.”  He added, “I also see a very bright future for the program.”

Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The program will field two teams next season–one at the Division I level (WCHL) and one at the Division III level (SECHC).

All home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Dylan deRozario selects Arkansas

image3The Razorback Hockey team is excited to announce that Dylan deRozario has formally committed to Arkansas. Said deRozario, “going into college, I wanted an organization that not only was successful, but also cared for the game as much as I do.”  He added, “I believe the University of Arkansas will provide this and more to me.”

A 5’9″ center from Denver, Colorado, deRozario played last season for the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Knights of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League.  Playing in thirty-five games of the Knights’ 33-10-0-1 campaign this past season, deRozario notched seven goals and added sixteen assists.

Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Easton Oliver tries for pro ranks

20150221203412_EMP_2993__SM-MGraduating senior Easton Oliver is making a push to pursue professional hockey in Europe.  As a part of the Razorback Hockey team, he has helped the team win five SECHC titles and earn three National Tournament appearances.  Playing professional hockey would be a huge accomplishment for Easton–he would be the first former Razorback to do so.

In December of last year, Easton was a defenseman and assistant captain on the Division III ACHA Selects team, which traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia and Slovenia to play a five game series.  The trip  reinforced Easton’s dream to play professional hockey abroad and introduced the ACHA Selects team–and Europe–to the quality of hockey at the University of Arkansas.

Placing Easton on a professional roster will open doors for other current players to pursue professional hockey after college.  If you would like to support Easton, you can donate here.  Donations made on Easton’s behalf will be used for travel, securing an agent, and training–among the many other financial demands associated with this move.

 

 

Collin Young decides on Arkansas

Young-picThe Razorback Hockey team is proud to announce that Collin Young has formally committed to Arkansas.  Said Young, “I am very excited to be joining the University of Arkansas and Coach Gallini during their first year at the division one level.  I have heard nothing but great things about the program and I believe Arkansas has a solid foundation set to win a national championship.”  A 5’8″ winger from Sugar Land, Texas, Young played two years of junior hockey.

In 2013-14, Young played the Texas Brahmas where in 38 games he scored 6 goals and notched 19 assists.  This season, Young served as team captain for the Springfield Express (WSHL) where he played forty games and helped lead the Express to the second round of the playoffs.  Young added, “I look forward to doing whatever I can to help this program be successful on the ice while furthering my education.”

Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Jack Critser chooses Arkansas

best puck12The Razorback Hockey team is excited to announce that Jack Critser has formally committed to Arkansas.  A 5’11” winger from Overland Park, Kansas, Critser played two years of junior hockey first with the Minnesota Owls in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL) where he received the team’s Ironman award for playing in every game of the 13-14 season.

Critser began the 14-15 season playing sixteen games for the Junior A Minnesota Iron Rangers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).  He finished last season’s campaign with the Steele County Blades in the MnJHL.  Said Critser about choosing Arkansas, “the University provides a variety of options and opportunities.  I have also heard and seen a lot of good things about the hockey program at the University and it is something that I am very excited to be a part of.”

Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Luc Gradisar commits to Arkansas

Action shotThe Razorback Hockey team is proud to announce that Luc Gradisar has committed to Arkansas for the 2015-16 season.  Said Gradisar, “I chose the program because of the impressive history of the team alongside its growth potential for the future.”  Gradisar just finished his season with the  Osoyoos Coyotes in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).

A 5’8″ winger, Gradisar racked up 40 points in 35 games and chipped in 11 points during the Coyotes’ 15 game playoff run.  Gradisar added, “I am looking forward to playing a key role in the growth and development of the team, and cannot wait to see what success this program can reach.  The team has tremendous support throughout the community, and overall seems like a great place to be.”

“Luc has great hands and good ice vision,” said Division I Head Coach Brian Gallini.  “We’re assembling a great recruiting class in preparation for the 15-16 season and feel fortunate to have Luc as part of that class.”  Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Hogs ink CCHL Jr. A alum Chris Boswell

Carleton-Place-The Razorback Hockey team is pleased to announce that CCHL alum Chris Boswell plans to attend the University of Arkansas next season.  Chris is the first official Razorback Hockey commitment for the 2015 recruiting season.  A 6’1″ 195 lb. defenseman, Chris last played for the Carleton Place Canadians for Coach Jason Clarke.  Carleton Place regularly produces scholarship-ready student-athletes alongside NHL draft selections.  Said Chris about choosing Arkansas, “Arkansas has a great winning tradition combined with outstanding academics which was a big draw for me.”  He added, “I hope to be a key contributor to the expansion and growth of this successful organization as it moves up to Division I.”

Division I Head Coach Brian Gallini is equally pleased.  “Attracting players of Chris’s quality speaks volumes about the growth of our program.  We expect him to bring a physical presence to our blueline.”

Since 2009, the Arkansas hockey program has amassed an overall record of 161-48-4, including three trips to the Division III National Tournament and five SECHC conference playoff tournament championships.  The team’s home games are played at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

Rob Thomas accepts Head Coaching position for Division III team

Rob ThomasCoach Rob Thomas will join the University of Arkansas Razorback Hockey program as the Division III head coach effective immediately. “I see an opportunity to grow hockey here in Northwest Arkansas and wanted to be part of that,” Thomas said about becoming the Division III head coach.  “I believe that the program Arkansas has put together is a very good one, and they’re doing everything right to make hockey exciting to watch in this area.”

Thomas is a USA Hockey level V certified coach and has more than 30 years of coaching experience.  His playing career began at age 3. He competitively competed through midget AAA before he was invited to the Washington Capitals training camp. He played professionally for the American Hockey League Philadelphia Firebirds until a shoulder injury forced him to retire.

Thomas joined the Army after his injury healed, and he played for six years with the REV Heilbronn Club in West Germany. He began his coaching career in 1984 when he became a coach for West Germany’s junior league. There, he found the love of coaching and used a combined North American and European style of play that led his team to a winning record.

Thomas served as the head coach for the Bristol Blazers, a junior B team near Philadelphia, when he returned to the States in 1987. He recorded more than 50 wins and only seven losses in his two-year coaching stint there before becoming the head coach at Temple University.

In his two years at Temple University, Thomas led the team to two undefeated seasons, 18-0-2 and 20-0, and two Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey League champion titles. He was elected to coach the 1990-91 All Star Team.  Seven of his players were selected to play on the team, and his goalie was chosen as the season’s MVP.

Thomas, who was stationed in Tampa Bay, Fla. during Operation Desert Storm, then went on to led the Tampa Bay Junior Lightning to a winning record in 1992. He also coached the Tampa Bay Blades, a women’s team, for five years and led them to two championships in the world’s largest women’s hockey tournament in Brampton, Ontario.

In the 1993-94 season, Thomas played a key role in developing a youth program that included mites to midgets. He was involved with that program for four years.  Since then, Thomas organized and instructed various hockey camps around the country including in West Point, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. He currently serves as a consultant to the AHL Charlotte Checkers.

“I’m going to really enjoy being the Division III coach because I believe the main focal point at this level is going to be developing the players for the Division I team to get them prepared for Coach Gallini,” Thomas added. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

He lives with his wife, Valerie, and son, Cole, in Rogers.

2014-15 campaign comes to an end

Although the Razorbacks won two games in pool play at this year’s National Tournament by defeating Fairfield (6-2) and Calvin (9-2), a 6-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast derailed the team’s plans to advance.  Arkansas therefore finished pool play with a 2-1 record and ends its season with an overall 29-10-2 record.  Looking back, the season was a memorable one loaded with highlights including an eleven game win streak, three victories over a Division I opponent, a fifth SEC playoff championship, and two victories at Nationals.  Collectively, the team’s play over this past season and the several before it also enabled the program to, beginning with the 2015-16 season, become the first ever SEC school to advance to Division I.

As the season winds down, Arkansas says goodbye to graduating seniors Easton Oliver (#39), Marcel Toure (#33), Taylor Jones (#79), Connor Crumblish (#26), and Spencer Mulgrew (#37).  Oliver played for the Razorbacks for parts of six seasons and was the first ever Razorback player selected to play for the ACHA Division III Selects team.  He will graduate with his degree in Mechanical Engineering and hopes to continue his playing career next season as a professional in Europe.  A staple in the Razorbacks’ lineup over the last several years, Toure’s scoring presence will be missed.  He will graduate with a degree in Business Management.

Crumblish leaves the program as the only player in the team’s history to graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.  Recognized consistently on the SEC All-Academic Team, Crumblish also earned 2015 SEC Tournament MVP honors.  He will graduate with his degree in Management this May.  Taylor Jones transferred as a sophomore from Oklahoma State whose finishing ability around the net will be missed.  Jones will graduate with a Small Business Entrepreneurship degree.  Finally, Mulgrew leaves the program after having backstopped the team to numerous victories including notable wins over UCF in the 2014 National Tournament, Division I Midland University this season, and Fairfield University in this year’s National Tournament.  He will graduate with his degree in Marketing.

As we say goodbye to our five seniors, we are excited to introduce our new recruiting class.   Stay tuned during the off-season for stories about the newest incoming Hogs who will compete for a roster spot in August.  Thank you again to all of our fantastic fans for another memorable season.