Next great Catamount

You may not know his name yet, but defenseman Jacob Kearley of the Langley Rivermen will soon be a household name in the Vermont hockey community.

The Rivermen produced current UVM hockey sensation sophomore Mario Puskarich. Kearley looks to be on the same track.

The 6-foot-3, 220 pound defenseman hails from Newmarket, Ontario, and is capable of stopping opposing offenses in their tracks. Additionally, he possesses exceptional offensive prowess that was evident in a beautiful end-to-end goal he scored  Nov. 11, 2014, against the Surrey Eagles.

Kearley will be 20 years old when he joins the Catamounts next season.

Forward Liam Coughlin had reportedly already committed to Boston University, but the Vernon Vipers sniper decided to take his talents to Vermont for the upcoming season.

The Edmonton Oilers drafted Coughlin 130th overall in the 2014 NHL draft, obviously impressed by his poise with the puck and tremendous offensive talent.

Through 50 games with the Vernon Vipers, Coughlin has a combined  20 goals and 39 assists.

It’s not unheard of for players to commit before coming to the University when they are 16 years old.  Many of the players who have recently committed will arrive in the 2018-2019 season, when most current students have already graduated.

Next year, the men’s hockey program will lose a plethora of talent, including leading scorer and captain senior Mike Paliotta, slated to join either the Chicago Blackhawks or their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Other players to leave will be seniors Colin Markison, Kyle Reynolds, Jake Fallon and Nick Luukko.

The younger players will have to step up, especially on the defensive end, as the Cats will arguably lose their top two defensemen in Luukko and Paliotta.

Other players that will join the Cats next year in the 2015-2016 season include Conor O’Neil, Stefano Lekkas and Ross Colton.