December 11, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Tri-City Storm
KEARNEY, Neb. - Tri-City Storm captain Brian Ward is headed back to the college ranks with the St. Lawrence Saints next season. Ward, who is currently in his third season with the Storm, says he believes he has found the right school and can't wait to continue his career.
"I just felt like St. Lawrence was really the place for me personally," Ward said. "They really like me as a player and were very clear about where they see me in the program's future. I really like the other guys on the team and the school reminded me of my prep school days a little bit."
Ward first came to the Storm for the 2010-11 season and scored nine goals and six assists before leaving for Dartmouth the following fall. After one semester in Hanover, Ward made the decision to return to Kearney, scoring 16 points in the team's final 25 games of the 2011-12 campaign.
This season, the Haverhill, Mass. native has been among the USHL scoring leaders, registering 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 18 games. The 20-year-old said he took his time before committing to a college for the fall of 2013.
"I was more familiar with the process the second time around," Ward said. "I went up to St. Lawrence and I kind of had to look at it from all angles. It's six hours from my house so location was a little bit of a factor but when it came down to it, it's the only Division I sport on campus so they love their hockey."
One of the most important factors that went into his decision was the ability to play for Saints' coach Greg Carvel, who has coached at the NHL level with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Ottawa Senators.
"I just was a really big fan of [Carvel]," Ward said. "He coached in the NHL and has been to the Stanley Cup. It seems like he really knows what he's doing, and all the guys were big fans of him which says a lot. It just seemed like it was the perfect fit for me personally. I knew right away after the visit that it was the spot for me and they really wanted me."
Ward said the atmosphere in the rink during the game he saw was what set it St. Lawrence apart.
"They played Clarkson and that's a huge rivalry," Ward said. "The fans were crazy, yelling and chanting. It just seemed like an unbelievable place to play."
"I just felt like deep down it was the perfect spot. I'm glad I found somewhere that gave me that feeling inside that this is where I should be."
Tri-City is gearing up for a big weekend and two games with the Waterloo Blackhawks at the Viaero Event Center. Friday night's tilt starts at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday's is scheduled for 7:05.