By Jake Howorth, North York Rangers Communications and Digital Director. Image from OJHL Images.
Former North York Ranger Jesse Tucker has committed to Michigan State University to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Spartans this Fall.
“I committed to Michigan State because its a very blue collared school and the environment was something I could envision myself a part of. Coaches and players are phenomenal people as well,” Tucker explained.
The forward was with the Ranger organization for two seasons between 2016 to 2018. He played for the North York’s GTHL U18 team as a 16-year-old in 2016-2017. He displayed his offensive gifts at such a young age putting up 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 43 games. He was frequently used by the big club as an AP call up throughout the season as well. He registered three assists in 13 regular season games. Tucker must have made a good impression since he dressed in all five playoffs against in the team’s first round series against the Oakville Blades. He did not look out of place registering three points in those five contests.
The following season he was an everyday player for the Rangers. He turned out to be one of team’s best offensive weapon at the young age of 17. The rookie led the team with 50 points (17 goals and 33 assists) in 52 regular season games. He went on to add six points in 10 playoff games. Despite only being in the OJHL for one season, Tucker knows it helped him grow on and off the ice.
“North York had a big part of helping me create an identity as well as maturing as a person and a player,” he stated.
Despite his age, the Rangers put Tucker is every situation possible including powerplay and penalty kill, which is somewhat unheard of for a rookie. He was a key cog in the Ranger setting a franchise record with 37 wins in a season and finishing first in the division. Fifth-year Head Coach Geoff Schomogyi believes Tucker was and still is a different type of player that is rare to find.
“Jesse brings such a unique style of game to whatever team he is with. He has tremendous skill sets that allow him to play a skilled game, but at the same time he plays on the edge and can be very tough for opponents to have to play against,” the coach said.
The coach saw the development of the forward firsthand in his only season as a Ranger. He knew Tucker would succeed at any level moving forward.
“I think the biggest development we saw from Jesse as a player in NYR was his maturity on and off the ice. He really put the time and effort in to becoming an all around player and started to understand what it takes to play at that next level,” he said.
Tucker is currently in his third season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. The growth in evident since he was named the team’s caption for the season. So far in 132 career games with Green Bay, he has accumulated 35 goals and 72 assists for 107 points.
He did commit to Lake Superior State University a couple of years ago, but decided to withdraw that and head to Michigan State University instead.
Tucker is a part of 31st Rangers who have committed to either the NCAA or U SPORTS since 2016.