NORTH YORK, ON - FEBRUARY 13: Goaltender James Gray #30 of the North York Rangers watches the play during the third period at the Herbert Carnegie Centennial Arena on February 13, 2022 in Ontario, Canada (Photo by Ray MacAloney / OJHL Images)
May 5, 2022

4:59 PM EDT

North York Rangers goalie James Gray has officially committed to St.Cloud State University of the NCAA DI (NCHC) in Minnesota. He will play for the Huskies, while attending one of the best academic institutions in the fall of 2022.

“For me after visiting the school and meeting all the staff, players, personnel, everybody involved with the hockey program and the school itself I was absolutely blown away with the culture and values of the school. It’s a place where I can step in and work and be around truly great people that are dedicated to my development as a player and a person,” he explained. “As soon as I stepped on campus I knew right away it was the place for me and I couldn’t me more proud to have this opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing college hockey at one of the top programs in the entire nation. It is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get started and go to work in the fall.”

Gray joined the Rangers ahead of the 2019-2020, but made his name known this past season. The second-year netminder simply dominated the leaderboard for goaltenders in the 21-team Ontario Junior Hockey League across every category that mattered during the 2021-22 season: Most wins: 25 (three-way tie for first) – Goals-against average: 1.96 (first) – Save percentage: .931 (three-way tie for first). No other netminder finished tops in two of the categories, let alone three. Gray started strong and never looked back. He was the OJHL Warrior Goaltender of the Month for October, which was the opening month of the OJ’s schedule this season. Gray was 7-1-1 during the month, posting a 1.83 goals-against average with a .938 save percentage. On the season, Gray had three shutouts while making 958 saves, playing 36 of the Rangers’ 54 games. He continued his success in the playoffs going 2-2 with the 1.91 GAA and .934 SV%. He earned the OJHL Top Goaltender Award and OJHL Goaltender of the Year. He was also named a finalist for the CJHL Top Goaltender Honours.

“James has meant a lot to the NYR program and culture. He has been a leader on and off the ice and conducts himself like a pro. We are so excited for Jimmy and his commitment to St. Cloud. James is one of our hardest working players,” head coach Geoff Schomogyi explained. “He is a competitor, that is constantly driving to get better. It’s no surprise that his hard work has paid off with a Division 1 commitment.”

Gray’s career stats with the North York Rangers are 33-22-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .915 SV%. His play was even better in the playoffs as he went 5-2 with a 2.01 GAA and .935 SV%. When he takes time to look at his time with the Rangers, it’s an experience that helped him grow and become the player and man he is today.

“North York has been instrumental in my development as a person and as a player since I stepped into junior hockey back in 2019. The culture and tight knit team environment we have at NYR is second to none and it was the perfect place for me to to come and grow. Walking into the dressing room for the first time back in the fall of 2019 I read the banner on the wall in the centre of our room that reads “Leave A Legacy” and since then that was my goal, I wanted to become the best person I could be while also leading our team to as much success as possible,” he explained. “What I accomplished as a Ranger could not have been achievable without all of the love and support from the coaching staff and my incredible teammates. I’m so grateful for the lessons learned as a Ranger, to be apart of the North York family, and to take this next step in my career leaving off as a Ranger. Once a Ranger always a Ranger.”

Gray becomes the 34th Ranger to commit to either the NCAA or USPORTS since 2016.