Merrimack College recently announced its NLI signings for men’s hockey during the early signing period, which occurred last month. On Tuesday’s Merrimack Hockey Coaches Show, Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy commented on each of Merrimack’s signings.
The National Letter of Intent essentially puts a verbal commitment on paper and locks in a commitment. Only players who will be receiving athletic aid sign an NLI, and they can be offered as either one-year NLIs with grants that rollover if re-signed year-to-year, or programs can now offer athletes a four-year NLI, locking in their scholarship for the entirety of their career.
“One of the things all of these recruits have in comming is they’re great kids,” Dennehy said. “We’ve really worked hard and Coach (Curtis) Carr, deserves a lot of credit, beacuse we have a locker room full of hard-working young men who are respectful, good in the classroom and good in the community, and that’s something we really want to pay attention to. That’s not Kumbaya stuff, I think it helps us win hockey games. It makes our jobs easier because we can concerntrate on coaching.”
Jordan Seyfert, Forward, Chicago Steel (USHL)
“I saw him first playing for Peter Alden, a former player of mine, and he was playing for a team in Connecticut. He really blossomed under Marc Lotito with the North Jersey Avalanche. You can’t watch a game he’s a part of and not notice him. He’s a bundle of energy. He plays with passion, gets around the rink and he’s vocal. He’ll chirp you, he’ll hit you, he’ll take the puck from you, he’ll talk a hit and he loves to play. He’s infectious. Not to get ahead of myself, but you look at (Logan) Drevitch, (Ethan) Destefani and Seyfert, and you think that might not be a bad line. Jordan is a passionate, intelligent, hard-working young man.
“(The U.S. NTDP) had an injury and he was the first name they thought of. He played well. If the guy didn’t get healthy, they would have kept him, they thought that much of him. He played at Michigan a few weeks ago. Now he’s going to Chicago with Coach (Dan) Muse, and that will help him too. I went out and saw him at (Chicago’s) camp this summer and I thought he was one of the best forwards they had.”
Logan Drevitch, Forward, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
“The USHL is a great developmental league in the sense that you’re playing against the best players in your age bracket, and you can’t help but get better. For me, and for our coaches here, what you see there is what you’re going to get with that league and Logan is going to put the puck in the back of the net. He just got traded, but it was one of those trades where they wanted him. They felt he was a piece that could help them. He’s good at the tops of the circles and he sees the ice.
“Anyone who knows the Drevitch family knows that they eat, drink and sleep hockey, even the girls. Logan works hard and he’s dedicated. He went out (to the USHL) to work on his 200-foot game and he has made strides in that sense. He wants to be a player, and he is willing to do what he needs to do.”
Evan Bell, Defense, Fargo Force (USHL)
Dennehy: “He’s a dynamic skater. Evan Bell is another hard-working young man and he’s a dimensional skater. He really can skate. I call players like him a transition defenseman, because he’s good enough to defend and then get the puck going the other way. He makes the right play and he’s very good on the breakout, making the first pass and joining the rush. You can’t have too many of them and we think he’s a darn good one.”
Liam Dennison, Defense, The Hill Academy (ECEL)
Dennehy: “We’ve had a good relationship with Coach (Doug) Orr and The Hill Academy. Liam is just, I don’t know how many players have the passion for the game that he has for the game. He is another really good skater, a fleet-footed defenseman. He really keeps it simple and makes the simple smart play. He is a student of the game, wants to get better and works at it. He just had his official visit a few weeks ago and he doesn’t want to be an observer, he wants to get better. He’s a young player, a ’99, but I think his best hockey ahead of him.”
Ethan Destefani, Forward, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)
“Ethan almost made the US team for the Hlinka Tournament, he was right on the cusp. He’s really coming into his own. He’s coming off an injury but he’s young enough that he’ll be fine. He has a good stick, a power forward and he sees the ice and can make a play but he is good around the net.
“He has a chance to play beyond college because of his size, he’s going to be a big kid. He came into his own last year at Gunnery. He got off to a slow start, he wasn’t on the first line, but that’s where he finished. Leaving Gunnery was difficult for him I think, but to have an opportunity to play in the USHL as a ’99 is special and he did. He was on the roster until he got hurt and he was coming into his own. I saw him a lot at the (USA Hockey) festival this summer, he was really good there. He’ll get himself healthy and get back. He’s younger but a big, strong kid, and it will be interesting to see how quickly that body matures because he’s still a little bit of a boy, but he has a man’s body.
“He went (to Waterloo) and made the team. They drafted him, they knew who he was, but I don’t know if they thought he could play for them as quickly as he did, which is a good sign for him and for us.”