July 12, 2017 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Corpus Christi IceRays
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS - The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce the commitment of forward Brad Power to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), a U SPORTS program in Ontario University Athletics (OUA), for the 2017-18 season.
"I'm really excited, especially with Tucker [White] being there, too," said Power on his commitment. "It's definitely going to be a new experience. It'll be fun to go to school with Tucker. It's great hockey, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the ice. It's been three or four years since high school, so I'm looking forward to bucking down and getting to [studying]."
Power, 21, completed his final year of junior hockey eligibility with the IceRays, recording 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points with 47 penalty minutes and a +27 rating through 58 games. His 2016-17 performance ranks in the top-10 all-time for an IceRays player, sitting tied for third in goals, tied for sixth in points and tied for ninth in assists. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound forward also topped the 2016-17 roster in goals, power play points (18), shorthanded goals (three), game-winning goals (4) and rating (+27) while resting second in assists, points, and power play goals (7). Over his two-year career with the IceRays, Power posted 37 goals and 46 assists for 83 points with 69 penalty minutes and a +20 rating through 112 games. He is ranked in all major categories on the IceRays All-Time Rankings, finishing first in power play goals (14), second in shorthanded goals (3), fourth in points, fifth in goals, sixth in assists, and 10th in games played.
The St. Jonh's, N.L. native's entry into junior hockey began in Canada with a choice between the Major Junior route and the university track after being drafted 238th overall (14th Round) by the Moncton Wildcats in the 2013 QMJHL Draft and then 22nd overall (1st Round) by the Summerside Western Capitals in the 2013 MHL Draft. Knowing he wanted to continue his education after junior hockey, Power joined the Capitals and became an immediate impact, finishing eighth in the MHL in goals during both seasons as well as 11th in points during his second year. In two years with the Capitals, he recorded 54 goals and 49 assists for 103 points with 26 penalty minutes and 16 power play goals through 92 games.
"I find that in the Maritime Hockey League, it was less serious than the NAHL. People took hockey less seriously because it's a lot of former QMJHL players who are done with their junior careers and many are already committed to college. But I got better as a leader when I was there and wore an 'A' my second year there, and I learned to prepare better for each game while giving my best effort every shift."
Despite not having selections in the first two rounds, the IceRays picked Power 55th overall (3rd Round) in the 2015 NAHL Draft and was the second player taken by Corpus Christi. He also became the first and only player drafted out of the MHL by the IceRays in team history, and his humble beginnings paid off for the IceRays. Though the IceRays fell under expectations during the 2015-16 season, Power finished third on the team in scoring that season and led in power play production, recording 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points with seven power play goals. The move to change leadership behind the bench paid off dividends for Power in his second season, leading to a breakout year that fell just four points shy of his 58-point season in 2014-15 and kept pace with his goal-scoring mentality.
"I knew coming into Corpus Christi that I was trying to get a college commitment, so I kept trying and trying to get schools to notice me and just prepare myself for games a lot better than before. I just took things game-by-game and tried to find ways to put the puck in the net."
"In hockey we always say if you work hard, improve daily and are a good person the scouts and schools will find you," said IceRays Head Coach Brad Flynn. "Although Brad left Canada, he still had multiple offers from different schools in U SPORTS along with the NCAA Division I level. At the end of the day, for a variety of reasons, OUIT was the fit for Brad."
However, Power's greatest value was his commitment to both his on-ice performance and the Corpus Christi community, embodying the ideal junior hockey player. During the 2016-17 season, he went above and beyond to connect with multiple fans outside of the scheduled or required public appearances and community events, exemplified by two specific instances. The first came at the Corpus Christi Art Walk near the beginning of the season when Power volunteered to help a man confined to a wheelchair walk from downtown to the Staples Street Bus Terminal, a 40-minute trip while already at an IceRays appearance. The second was his connection with a young fan, who skated with Power during every Braselton Homes Post-Game Skate for the last two seasons. The connection was so strong that she invited him to her birthday party and, without hesitation, attended for her.
His commitment to the Corpus Christi community, whether IceRays fans or not, led to the inaugural presentation of the Brad Power Award at the IceRays End-Of-Year Banquet. He also received the IceRays Community Man of the Year Award for his efforts to supporting IceRays fans and donating his time to community appearances with the organization.
"We are extremely happy for Brad that he will be moving on to play university hockey in the extremely competitive U SPORTS," said Flynn. "Brad is a terrific ambassador for our IceRays program in terms of a Canadian player from Newfoundland who came to Corpus Christi for a different junior hockey experience after being a successful player for a marquee franchise. He took a giant leap of faith leaving his comfort zone and sacrificed a lot to be part of our organization, and we are proud that he will continue to grow as a player and person at the university level."
Power joins teammate Tucker White at a University of Ontario Institute of Technology program that completed its second-straight winning season and an appearance in the Queen's Cup Playoffs. White announced his commitment to UOIT on June 20, citing the ability to continue his education and preparation for life after hockey while also going to an older league in hopes of a professional career. While Power's rationale is along a similar line to that of White's decision, the final pushes from White and other hockey people did help cross the line to make his Canadian commitment.
"[Tucker] has been on me over the last couple months since we left," said Power. "I wasn't sure if it was going to work out talking to other schools, but [UOIT] came back with an offer I couldn't refuse. It's a stronger league, and people are older. You can be 24 years old playing in that league, so it's going to be a lot of working out in the coming weeks to get faster and stronger. Hopefully I'll be able to produce like I did in Corpus Christi."
The addition of Power to the public research university in Oshawa, Ont. strengthens the IceRays' development of Canadian-born and former Major Junior players to U SPORTS programs, marking the fifth player in the last three years to join a Canadian university. He is also the sixth player to make a college commitment this season from the IceRays, joining Cole Gammer (Liberty University), Logan Gestro (Canisius College), Mason Krueger (Army West Point), Tomá=A1 Vomá=C4=8Dka (University of Connecticut), and White. Now 12 players with IceRays ties and 10th on the 2016-17 roster to play college hockey, including David Baskerville (Canisius College), Nathan Bryer (Mercyhurst University), Camden Burggrabe (Northern Michigan University), and Cody Fleckenstein (Army West Point). Of everything he's experienced, Power is going to miss the people he grew to know along the way the most.
"This was, by far, the best team I've ever played on, and that's going a long way down the road," said Power. "There were no clicks, everyone was everyone's brother. From day one, it was the perfect fit. You couldn't ask for a better group of guys to surround yourself around. Everybody made my stay much easier. I'm going to miss my billet family, the Dabbs family, the front office, [Brad] Flynn, and everyone. It's going to be tough. I'm going to miss it and always do for sure."