Despite being only a 2003-birth year, and having a year of eligibility still remaining in the junior ranks, the native of Great Britain is ready to make the jump now to NCAA hockey.
"Aren came to us after leaving the NCDC and was able to get settled into juniors with our program," said Avalanche head coach and general manager Chris Cerrella. "He earned the opportunity to represent his country and player in the World Juniors tournament, only adding to his resume fill of experience. I am very proud of how he developed and think his best hockey is still ahead of him. He will be a great addition to the Golden Bear community, both on and off the ice. I wish the best of luck to Aren and the Francis family in the future."
As Cerrella mentioned, Francis hit the ice for Great Britain in each of the past two seasons, notching a goal to his credit over the course of 10 total World Junior games. That experience, along with a season under his belt with the Avalanche, has Francis feeling ready to take the next step in his career.
"I’m proud to announce my commitment to further my academic and athletic careers at Western New England University," said Francis. "I would like to thank my family, teammates, coaches, and everyone that has helped me throughout my journey. The Avalanche are a great organization that have helped me tremendously this past season. Playing for Coach Cerrella and Coach [Mario] Martiniello has provided me with the chance to improve every day and advance to play college hockey. I’m looking forward to being a Golden Bear for the next 4 years."
Francis is one of four EHL players heading off to WNE this fall, but he also closes the books for the 2022-23 class of Avalanche commitments. With 106 NCAA Commitments accumulated throughout their first six seasons in the EHL, Cerrella and the Avalanche have solidified their name as a pipeline for NCAA hockey.
Learn more about the Avalanche on the team's official website, and check out the full 2022-23 NCAA commitment list.