(Amherst, NY) – Buffalo Jr. Sabres goaltender Parker Gahagen has confirmed his commitment to enroll and play hockey at Army beginning with the 2013-14 academic year, the Jr. Sabres announced Thursday evening.
“I chose Army because of the opportunities it creates both hockey wise and career wise,” said Gahagen. “In comparison to other colleges I had to choose from, none of the others gave me as great an opportunity to excel in both aspects of life and hockey. Also, I am looking forward to the challenge of West Point to transform me into the best leader and person I can be.”
Gahagen, a native of Williamsville, New York, is currently in his second season with the Jr. Sabres and is among the top goaltenders in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. As of January 17, 2013 he leads all OJHL goalies with wins (23) and shutouts (7). In November he was honored by the OJHL as its Gongshow Gear Goaltender of the Month.
“I couldn’t be happier for Parker,” said Jr. Sabres head coach and general manager Michael Peca. “He is a perfect fit for West Point academically, athletically and most importantly for the moral integrity he exhibits. He will be a great addition and help them right away next season.”
Gahagen revealed he leaned heavily on his Christian faith while making his choice among several schools.
“I was constantly stumbling upon Bible verses and other references that were leading me towards West Point so I felt that God was also leading me towards it,” said Gahagen. “I knew if it was somewhere He wanted me to go then it would work out the best for me in the end.”
Before departing for West Point, Gahagen will continue to lead the Jr. Sabres from the goal crease as they seek to finish atop the OJHL West Division and pursue a lengthy run in the postseason. The former Williamsville North High School standout, who won both Super Sunday and New York State titles with the Spartans, reflected on his time with the Jr. Sabres and what it has done for his development.“
Juniors played a pivotal role in my commitment to Army because it gave me the confidence to keep dreaming and keep believing in myself and the talents I’ve been blessed with,” he said. “It has brought my game to a new level. I feel like I’ve been improving since my sophomore year of high school and juniors has solidified my belief that I can compete at whatever level I am called.
“The coaching staffs have been tremendous in providing me with the chance to succeed and their experience and knowledge has helped me to improve both mentally and physically. Without the opportunity to play juniors I wouldn’t be playing at the level I am now, so it has set me up to continue getting better once I start playing for Army next year.”
Gahagen’s announcement is the second this week by the Jr. Sabres regarding college commitments. On Monday, the team confirmed that defenseman and team captain Derek Patterson will enroll at SUNY Plattsburgh this fall. Also confirmed to begin studies and hockey later this year are forward Josh Kielich (Canisius College) and defenseman Darrin Trebes (Fredonia State). Forward Nolan Sheeran will enroll at Canisius beginning in 2014-15. Additional college commitments are anticipated in the near future.
File photo of Parker Gahagen courtesy OJHL Images