Two Catamounts prepare for the NHL

One member of the men’s hockey team has finally gotten the chance to do what many hockey fans can only dream of: playing in the National Hockey League.

Senior captain Chris McCarthy signed an entry-level contract with the New York Rangers in early March. He has been a frequent member of the America East Hockey Top Performer list over the past years, according to UVM athletics.

McCarthy played five seasons for the team, including a junior season cut to six games due to a shoulder injury.

This season the Cats lost to Union College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, but head coach Kevin Sneddon acknowledged McCarthy’s role in helping the program “get back to the tournament in his final year.”

McCarthy posted career highs in goals, assists and total points. In their NCAA tournament opener against Union, he provided the only offense, scoring twice in the 5-2 loss.

“When Chris is on he can take over games with his offensive ability and come up big for teams when goals need to be scored. His offensive skills definitely put him in an elite category amongst other players,” senior forward Connor Brickley said.

Despite the exit from the tournament, McCarthy will leave UVM ranking 30th on the Universities all-time points list, with 114 points between 46 goals and 68 assists.

First-year linemate Mario Puskarich said he is aware of the gap that will need to be filled.

“It is definitely a huge loss for our team. Not only the points, but also his presence and leadership in the locker room and on the ice,” he said.

Puskarich said Chris influenced his own improvement.

“McCarthy was always there to give me advice on how we can be the best line on the ice. Being able to play alongside a senior is great, let alone playing with someone of his caliber,” Puskarich said.

In addition to McCarthy, Brickley received a contract from the Florida Panthers, who was drafted 50th overall by in 2010.

When asked about the possibility of playing against each other, Brickley said he’d look forward to the experience.

“It would definitely be a cool experience, having played with Chris for my four years spent at UVM. Chris is a great teammate,” Brickley said.

“Having the opportunity to play against him at the highest level would be an experience both of us would not forget. Chris has the ability to change the outcome of games,” he said.