By Warren Kozireski —
Sacred Heart University’s men’s hockey team finished under .500 in each of the last two seasons, but freshman and Penfield native Blake Humphrey has helped the Pioneers get off to a quick start in 2022-23.
Tied for second in goals and points through the first 12 games, Humphrey was doing most of his offensive damage during five-on-five play.
“Obviously I’ve been given a good opportunity to play a bunch and playing with good players helps out, so putting the puck ion the net a few times so, yeah…off to a good start,” Humphrey said in early November.
“Having the coaches believe in you and getting a real opportunity right away and I’m thankful for that.”
The 5’9”, 161 lb. forward originally committed to RIT and then Providence College before landing in Connecticut at Sacred Heart.
“I committed to RIT at a really young age; the idea of committing was cool, but at the end of the day realized that I had a ton of development left to do, so I decommitted and committed to Providence for a little while, but things weren’t going to work out there right away.
“So, I wanted to go to an organization that really believed in my abilities and I’m thankful that I picked a good spot.”
Humphrey turns 21 years old in January, was the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week Nov. 1 and stood top-ten in the nation among rookies in points per game. His first collegiate goal came at Holy Cross Oct. 14.
He bounced around quite a bit during his youth and junior hockey days playing with the Syracuse Nationals (2016-17), the Jr. Sabres (17-18), Rochester Monarchs (18-19), the NV River Rats and Lawrence Academy (19-20), the New Jersey Titans (20-21) and finally Sioux Falls in the USHL in 2021-22.
“Kind of the way youth hockey works, especially around here. Big commitments from my parents driving back and forth, but some good teams there. Lawrence was a New England prep school and was a really good spot with good coaches. We had a really good team there with nine Division I commits that are playing college hockey right now.
“Around nine or ten years old when we started driving to Syracuse from Rochester was a big commitment for my parents and myself included, so I had an idea then that Division I hockey was the goal.”
Humphrey has already found himself on the power play setting up just above the left faceoff circle for the one-timer.
“We’ve had some success—I was able to score on one the other week and I had a couple of assists from that place. If teams make it difficult to get the shot off, it opens up opportunities for others on the power play.”
One perk to setting in with Sacred Heart University is the brand-new rink, the $70 million Martire Family Arena, he and his teammates will inaugurate on Jan. 14 against Boston College.