PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore forward James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team has decided to forego his last two seasons as a Wildcat to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League.
van Riemsdyk is expected to be assigned to the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League. He was the second overall pick of the Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft, becoming the highest drafted Wildcat in program history.
He was a Hockey East All-Rookie selection in 2007-08 as he posted 34 points on 11 goals and 23 assists. This past season, van Riemsdyk was an All-Hockey East Second Team honoree. Overall, the sophomore forward led the team with 40 points (17g, 23a) and ranked first on the team and second in the nation in short-handed goals with four. van Riemsdyk closed out the 2008-09 season a +14 and led the team in shots on goal at 138.
van Riemsdyk finished his career with 74 points (28g, 46a) in just 67 games played (1.10 ppg). He was a two-time semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award (given to the top American born college hockey player in New England) and was Hockey East’s Rookie of the Month in March 2008.
A highly touted recruit for Coach Umile and the Wildcats, van Riemsdyk came to UNH after two seasons with the United States National Program under head coach Ron Rolston. He led the US U-18 team in scoring in 2006-07 with 63 points (33g, 30a) in 42 games. In addition, he represented the United States in each of the past three World Junior Championship and was the tournament’s leading scorer in 2008.
The following is a statement from James van Riemsdyk:
“It is with deep appreciation to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) community that I am announcing my decision to officially join the Philadelphia Flyers organization effective immediately after having just agreed to terms on an entry level NHL contract. I will be joining the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, for the remainder of the ‘08/’09 season.
It has been my lifelong dream to one day play in the NHL. The University of New Hampshire provided me with the opportunity to become a student-athlete at one of the country’s most highly-regarded ice hockey programs. This opportunity has allowed me to be able to continue my development as an athlete, student, and person. UNH has played a crucial role in preparing me for this important next step in my hockey career and I shall be forever grateful. I fully intend to complete my academic obligations for the current second semester.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to coaches Umile, Borek, and Lassonde, as well as Colin Shank, Glenn Riefenstahl, Paul Chapman, Tim Churchard, and the UNH hockey and support staff at large for all of their support and impact they’ve had on me. My teammates during these past two years have been extraordinarily supportive and the friendships I have made here will last a lifetime. With many thanks also to the UNH faculty and administration, student body, and UNH hockey supporters everywhere, I again express heartfelt appreciation for my wonderful experience at UNH.”
The Wildcats finished 2008-09 with a 2-1 loss to Boston University in the NCAA Northeast Regional final at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. UNH holds the second longest streak of NCAA appearances with eight and ranks behind only Michigan for the longest stretch of consecutive 20-win campaigns at 12.