(Photo feature of David Krejcik) —
NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Niagara hockey head coach Jason Lammers announced on Tuesday the addition of three freshmen and one transfer goaltender for the 2017-18 season. Forwards Eric Cooley and Justin Kendall, defenseman Jack Zielinski, and goaltender David Krejcik have been added to the Purple Eagles’ roster, giving the team 11 newcomers and 19 returning players this season.
Read more about each of the four recruits, along with comments from Lammers:
Eric Cooley | Forward | 5-foot-9 | 175 lbs. | Right | Pittsburgh, PA | Amarillo Bulls (NAHL)
Cooley joins the Purple Eagles from the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, where he played for current Niagara assistant coach Matt Nicholson. In his first season in the NAHL, Cooley was third on his team in scoring with 34 points in 51 games, scoring 14 goals and adding 20 assists. He was named the Second Star of the Week in the NAHL’s South Division for the week of April 3, 2017 after scoring three goals and two assists in three games played. Prior to Amarillo, Cooley played in the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite organization from 2013-16.
Cooley has two uncles, Tom and John Mooney, who also played college hockey. Tom played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 1984-88, and John played at Colorado College from 1989-91.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cooley intends to major in finance at Niagara.
Lammers on Cooley: “Eric’s top-end speed will make him a very important part of our team immediately. He has a very bright future, and his work ethic and commitment to the game will serve him well at the collegiate level.”
Justin Kendall | Forward | 6-foot | 180 lbs. | Left | Holmen, WI | Coulee Region Chill (NAHL)
Kendall played parts of two seasons in the NAHL with the Coulee Region Chill, most recently for head coach Ryan Egan. Kendall totaled 50 points (30+20) in 65 games with Coulee Region. After opening the 2016-17 campaign with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL where he posted two goals and three assists in 21 games, Kendall averaged more than a point per game for the Chill, racking up 14 goals and nine assists in 20 games. He also played 45 games with Coulee Region in the 2015-16 season, tallying 27 points (16+11).
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kendall is planning on majoring in business at Niagara.
Lammers on Kendall: “Justin is one of the faster players that I have ever seen, and he has a personality that will make sure his engine and motor never stops. I am excited to see what he does on the rink, in the classroom, and in the community.”
David Krejcik | Goaltender | 6-foot-2 | 200 lbs. | Left | Zdar nad Sazavou, Czech Republic | Williston State College / Traverse City Hounds (MWJHL)
Krejcik joins the Purple Eagles after playing two seasons at Williston State College in North Dakota for head coach John Bowkus. In the 2016-17 season with the Tetons, Krejcik posted a 2.92 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, helping the team secure the top seed in the West Region for the 2017 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Men’s Division II National Championships.
Krejcik began his North American playing career in 2013, playing two seasons with the Traverse City Hounds of the Midwest Junior Hockey League (MWJHL). Krejcik was named the MWJHL’s Rookie of the Year and Goaltender of the Year in 2014, compiling a 20-4-2 record, a 1.93 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage, and four shutouts. The next season, he earned Goaltender of the Year honors again with a 21-2-1-1 record, a 2.03 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and three shutouts. Krejcik helped Traverse City win the MWJHL Veteran’s Memorial Cup in both 2014 and 2015.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Krejcik graduated from Williston State College with an Associate’s degree in arts and will pursue a degree in business management at Niagara.
Lammers on Krejcik: “David is an incredibly mature young man who was highly sought after as a junior college graduate. I am looking forward to his experience helping our team learn and grow.”
Jack Zielinski | Defense | 6-foot-2 | 205 lbs. | Right | Richmond, VA | Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL)
Zielinski closed his junior career as a Robertson Cup winner, helping the Lone Star Brahmas to a NAHL South Division title before winning the Tier II national championship under head coach Dan Wildfong. During the regular season, Zielinski placed third among Lone Star defensemen in scoring, posting 20 points (2+18) in 58 games played. He added one assist and a plus-2 rating in the team’s playoff pursuit of the Robertson Cup.
In the 2015-16 campaign, Zielinski played in the OJHL with the Kingston Voyageurs, tallying 10 goals and 24 assists in 43 games and adding two goals and five assists in 12 playoff contests. Zielinski was named the Voyageurs’ Top Defenseman and was a Second Team OJHL Fan Favorite Player as Kingston advanced to the OJHL conference finals before falling to eventual league champion Trenton.
Prior to Kingston, Zielinski was a longtime player in his hometown Richmond Generals program. During the 2014-15 USPHL season, he posted 21 points in 38 games, earning USPHL Defenseman of the Week honors twice before earning the Generals’ Top Defenseman Award in 2015.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Zielinski will be majoring in finance at Niagara.
Lammers on Zielinski: “I am a believer that winning is a learned skill, and Jack has certainly learned that from his team’s Robertson Cup run last season. He is another talented addition to our blue line for the upcoming season.”
The upcoming 2017-18 campaign marks the first for Niagara under Jason Lammers, who was announced as the third head coach in program history on April 24. He will be joined by assistant coaches Andy Boschetto and Matt Nicholson. The Purple Eagles sport a roster with eight freshmen, seven sophomores, ten juniors, and five seniors.
Niagara kicks off the new season on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a 4 p.m. faceoff on the road against the Colgate Raiders. The Purple Eagles’ home opener comes on Alumni Weekend as Niagara and Robert Morris square off at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6.