(photo courtesy of OJHL Images)
The North York Rangers are proud to announce that Gabriel Valenzuela has committed to play for the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers for the 2015-16 season.
R.I.T. plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association of NCAA Division I hockey.
Valenzuela, 19, is a native of Brampton, and has 38 points in 21 games so far this season.
“Early in the year there was a lot of Division III interest in Gabe,” said North York head coach Mark Joslin, “but I honestly believed that he is a Division I player all day long. His work and commitment to the game, and his perseverance has paid off because he really truly got his reward, and he is very deserving of it.”
Valenzuela join the Milton Icehawks late in the 2011-12 season and although only with the club for a short time, tasted immediate success, scoring goals in his first two junior games, while recording five goals and thirteen points in the final eleven games of the regular season.
Following a year away from the rink, the skilled playmaker returned in 2013-14, joining the North York Rangers. Valenzuela picked up where he left off, starting the season with a three-game point-scoring streak and going on to play all 53 regular season games for the club. He finished the regular season with 10 goals and 34 points and then posted another six points in six post-season contests.
To say that he has been on a tear this season is an understatement. Thus far this season, Valenzuela has tallied points in all but one of the club’s 20 games played, including an 11-game point-scoring streak during October. On the strength of nine goals and 11 assists, the diminutive forward led the South-West Conference in scoring to earn Player-of-the-Month honours in October and recorded multiple points in all but two of North York’s October match-ups. Highlights of Valenzuela’s month include back-to-back game-winning goals versus Ranger divisional rivals, St. Michael’s and the Toronto Patriots, a hat trick-four point performance versus the nationally ranked Georgetown Raiders, and four consecutive two-point efforts to finish the month.
“The points for him don’t tell the whole story,” said Joslin.
“Every player on our team is made a better player and a better teammate for playing with him because of his personality, leadership, commitment and passion for the game. You want to talk about a complete player in our league, he is a complete player and an excellent person, so that’s a great combination.”
Valenzuela joins North York alumnus Liam Kerins at R.I.T., who is currently redshirting as a freshman.
(with files from the OJHL website)