WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ -- Kris Zapata, a forward for the New Jersey 87's, has committed to Fitchburg State University for the fall of 2023.
The '02 native of Voorhees, NJ joined the 87's in early November, and over the course of 28 total games in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), Zapata tallied 16 total points to his credit.
“I’ve been on Kris for a few years, and then when we finally got him, he’s provided the boost we needed and he’s for sure an NCAA player," said 87's head coach and general manager Adam Houli. “For us to be a part of that journey and be a part of him getting to the NCAA level has been awesome. He’ll be a special player at the next level."
As Houli mentioned, he had been tracking Zapata for a while, following his time playing for both the Maine Nordiques and the Kenai River Brown Bears in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Ultimately the journey brought Zapata to the EHL, and for him to be able to make this commitment prior to the start of the postseason, is a huge relief for the veteran forward.
“It was an exhilarating experience making the commitment official to a school that had everything I was looking for,” said Zapata. “It was exciting to see my goal come to fruition. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and want to thank my teammates and the coaching staff.”
Zapata went on to talk about the home he has found with the 87'.
“I was very fortunate to join the 87’s," added Zapata. "I developed drastically upon joining the program and found a role on the team. I have definitely grown as a player, teammate, and person by being a part of the 87’s culture."
Zapata and the 87's begin postseason play tomorrow at 12:30 pm when they host the division rival Philadelphia Little Flyers for game #1 of their best-of-three series.
Learn more about the 87's on the team's official website, and check out the full 2022-23 NCAA commitment list.