By Jamie Neugebauer
Recently graduated North York Rangers’ defenceman Kyle Thacker has committed to the NCAA Division III State University of New York at Potsdam for the up-coming year, the club announced Monday.
Thacker, 20, scored 13 points in 26 games this past season for the Rangers since being acquired from the Orangeville Flyers mid-campaign.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “It’s something I thought about all year and it’s something I’ve worked for the last few seasons and it’s nice and a weight off my back now that it has come true.”
At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Kyle is an excellent passer, possesses a huge shot and has the capability of being a fantastic all-round defender at the next level.
The SUNY Potsdam Bears play in the SUNYAC with other Division III schools around New York State.
“My dad and I went down for a visit back in February,” he said.
“It is a small school and it was something that I was looking for exactly. It has a tight community, a great atmosphere and it is in a big hockey area with three other hockey-centred schools in the immediate vicinity. They also put big money into their rink recently and it felt kind of right when I went to see it for myself.”
This past season was his fifth in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and the Mississauga native completed his career with 61 points and 107 penalty minutes in 189 regular and post-season games.
He spread his time out between Milton, Vaughan and Orangeville before arriving at North York on Nov. 20, 2013.
“It definitely helped me get more exposure to come over to a team like North York with playoff expectations,” he said.
“No disrespect to the Flyers at all, by the Rangers were a playoff a team where the goal was to win a championship and really go as far we could. I learned a lot from (North York head coach) John Dean and he definitely helped me achieve what I wanted so I am very grateful to the organization for bringing me in.”