Home College Mahopac’s Nolan Helping Stabilize Black Knights Blueline

Mahopac’s Nolan Helping Stabilize Black Knights Blueline

Jan 19, 2024; West Point, New York — Army takes on Air Force in an NCAA Division I college hockey game at Tate Rink at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Photo by Danny Wild/Army West Point

By Warren Kozireski —

The points have been a little harder to come by since his junior hockey days, but West Point blueliner Owen Nolan is playing a key role for Army as they enter the postseason.

“We have ten “D” and we have been playing all ten because they are all so close together,” Army head coach Brian Riley said. “When “O” is out there, he can skate (and) he gives us a physical presence. He is steady and when the puck is on his stick, he makes good decisions.

“We don’t have one senior (on our defense), so every game we’re getting probably two or three new guys in, and I think that’s helped us.”

After playing in only eight games as a freshman and garnering his first point—an assist Jan. 13 versus Canisius—he has dressed for 20 games in 2023-24 and registered three assists.

“Trying to find a role early on has been important for me,” Nolan said late in the regular season. “As a team we’re trying to play a little more physical and that’s a presence I bring, so it’s good to contribute when I can.

“The penalties have been ramping up a bit for me which I have to control so the physical presence I bring helps the team. We have a really strong back end and I feel like that’s a strong part of the team so being able to rotate ten guys in is pretty beneficial and I don’t think a lot of the teams in our league can do that.”

Older brother, Tommy, also played collegiately at Cortland State and their father, who played as a kid in the Bronx, coached both growing up.

The 6’0”, 185 lb. Nolan committed to West Point as a 19-year-old in his final year at Millbrook, played two more years of junior hockey and then headed to the banks of the Hudson River.

“Played with the Westchester Express basically my whole life until I was 16, 17 and then went to Millbrook prep school in New York. From there went out to Surrey (BCHL) and played there for a little bit and then went to Lone Star (NAHL).

“I enjoyed it (Surrey). I went out there once in the spring to go to a camp and I fell in love with it, so I tried to out there with one of the better teams and it ended up working out, so it was a fun experience.”

And why Army?

“A lot of things. I think I wanted to challenge myself at a school and I think I wanted a different experience, and it is a very different experience. So, I’m taking it one day at a time.”

(Photos provided by United States Military Academy/Army Men’s Hockey Team)