By: David Carter/GCU Staff
Five new recruits. Three different locations. One common theme.
In preparation for their big move up to Division I in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey has welcomed five new recruits for the 2019-2020 season.
Their signing is creating excitement within the Lopes’ organization.
“Recruiting this year has generated more buzz, and the fact that we are moving up helps,” said Lopes Head Coach Danny Roy. “The caliber of players that are coming are good, solid, seasoned players. We are definitely excited with who we’ve signed so far, and we are looking forward to the players who are finalizing.”
As for the recruits themselves?
They hail from the west coast, the Great Lakes region and north of the border.
Defensemen Collin Madrid and Samuel Hernandez – as well as forward Brett Ruiz – all come from the Los Angeles, California area. In fact, Hernandez and Ruiz were teammates when both played for the Ontario Avalanche.
Forward Preston Larson is from Andover, Minnesota, while defenseman Leif Murphy is from Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
With these new recruits, Roy believes that they all can bring something different to the table.
“Brett went to the final four at their playoff level,” Roy said. “The team Preston played for won their division championship. All of them have something they can add on the ice and to the team: camaraderie.”
Roy likes what he sees from his defensemen, since Madrid will help the Lopes move the puck quickly in turning turnovers in their defensive zone into transition offense. Hernandez’s versatility helps him contribute on both the offensive and defensive sides of the puck. Finally, Murphy has good hockey awareness who can lock down and limit the amount of time spent in the defensive zone.
For the forwards, Roy likes how well Ruiz reads the ice, and thinks he’ll be a big contributor on and off the ice. Larson not only has the ability to score but also create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Although the Lopes recruited these five new players, they are far from done on the recruiting trail.
“We are always looking for players who are ready to play, guys who have good character, and guys who will mesh really well on the ice with the returning players,” said Roy.