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EHL Student-Athletes of the Year

By Neil Ravin - Director of Communications, 04/16/18, 12:00PM EDT


Kucharski, Friend, and Rosales Earn Top Honors

BOSTON, MA -- The Eastern Hockey League is pleased to announce that Connor Kucharski (New Hampshire Avalanche), Alex Friend (Total Athletics Seahawks), and David Rosales (Vermont Lumberjacks) have been named the 2017-18 Student-Athletes of the Year. Each player turned heads both on the ice and off the ice, exemplifying the idea of being a 'student-athlete.' Whether it was community service hours, or additional time spent studying, each individual set themselves apart from the rest. For this year's new award in the EHL, each team submitted their own candidate and the league officials determined the final award winners.

"Just like our new Humanitarian Award, we sought out to find a way to honor some of the top individuals in the EHL," said Mark Kumpel, the EHL's Director of Hockey Operations. "Our organizations are helping these players grow as young men, and much of this growth takes place away from the rink. Of course what takes place on the ice is important, but all the college coaches also ask about what takes place when our guys aren't playing hockey. The college coaches are looking for players who will help them win hockey games, but also earn an education while they play. These three individuals all have very bright futures ahead of them, because they are dedicated to aspects of their life other than hockey. On behalf of the EHL, I would like to congratulate Connor, Alex, and David, for all the work they put in this past year."

Connor Kucharski (New Hampshire Avalanche)

Looking back on the 2017-18 season, and there is no doubt that Kucharski will always remember being a part of the group that won the First Title for the Avalanche. It was quite simply the perfect ending to the team's inaugural season in the EHL. In terms of Kucharski's play on the ice, the '99 defenseman notched a pair of goals and 16 assists in 42 total games. The native of Solon, OH is now set to kick-off his collegiate hockey career this Fall at Williams College (click here for Kucharski's commitment story).

“Connor is a good skating and good puck moving defenseman," said Avalanche head coach and general manager Chris Cerrella. "It's what he does outside of the rink that is so incredible. Connor is one of the brightest players that I have ever coached, and I was not surprised at all when he made his commitment to Williams. He is as driven as any individual there is in the EHL, and he got into one of the toughest schools in the country all on this own. He didn't need any additional assistance, he did this all on his own. I can't wait to follow him on the next step on his journey, both academically and athletically."

Alex Friend (Total Athletics Seahawks)

Friend and Seahawks also have plenty to be proud of, following a solid inaugural season in the EHL. While the year ended sooner than they had hoped, the team made great strides in their first season of junior hockey, and the native of North Carolina was a key leader for the group. With a 3.8 GPA and perfect score on his SATs, the '97 was truly dedicated during his time away from the rink. When you include the community service hours spent at local schools and with the youth hockey program, it is clear how well-round Friend truly is (click here for Friend's commitment story).

"Alex’s dedication to hockey reaches far beyond what is seen," said Seahawks head coach and general manager Bill Zaniboni. "He was a guy who would break down every shift and watch it with me, and his compete level at practice matched his game. His love for the game made him a player who realizes he’s a lucky one, and with that, Alex gave back to the community at least two times a week. He would coach youth games on off days and spend extra time with his billet family and little billet brothers. Alex made a big positive impression on Cape Cod this year and he is very deserving of this award."

David RosalesĀ (Vermont Lumberjacks)

Last, but certainly not least, Rosales will be returning for his final season of junior hockey this upcoming Fall, with aspirations set on committing to a school in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). The NESCAC is well-known for its academic excellence, and Rosales is driven to make his dream become a reality. On the ice this past year, the native of Jericho, VT tallied 10 points in 43 total games.

"David is one of the hardest working players I've ever coached," said Lumberjacks head coach and general manager Jim Mosso. "When we are on the road, he is up early in the hotels doing his homework before the other guys get up from breakfast. On top of his academics, David was voted by his peers two consecutive years for receiving the Lumberjack award. This award is given to the player who best represents the upstanding character that our organization is about."

Photo Credit - Snapshot Photography and Team Shred Photography


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