For a school highly regarded for its men’s and women’s basketball and soccer accomplishments, the men’s hockey program at the University of Connecticut is a school on the rise in the United States for both athletic and academic development for young hockey players from all across the world.
The school is based in Mansfield, Connecticut, with home games played in downtown Hartford, the home of the former Whalers National Hockey League franchise. With that, the school’s fan base and following have a passion for the game of hockey that has deep ties to those who endeared the Whalers.
As of this writing, the Huskies hockey program has never had a stronger relationship with the BCHL than it currently stands, with several current roster players who made their way through the top college hockey recruiting league in Western Canada.
Our last award is the TEAM Most Valuable Player, honoring the player who has provided the most for his team this season.
The 200-21 Team MVP is @Jonny_Evans97
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) May 3, 2021
If you’re a lover of all sports, you know about Ray Allen, “Cardiac” Kemba Walker, and the long list of successful women’s basketball players from Sue Bird to Diana Taurasi, but it is time to turn the spotlight onto what the school is doing on the ice as a program looking to get back on the rise.
Huskies NCAA hockey
Known as the Huskies, UConn men’s hockey was introduced in 1960 as a Division III college hockey program. For 38 years, the team played their games outdoors in a partially enclosed facility before the construction of a new arena was completed in 1998 and the team entered the NCAA Division I scene.
In 2000, their second season as a Division I program, the Huskies captured their very first conference championship as members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, going 19-16-1 overall and putting together a phenomenal run towards the elusive title victory.
In the 2014-15 season, the Huskies joined the Hockey East conference where they finished in the nation’s top ten in attendance, as well as had a very solid first campaign in a new conference beating four top-20 teams in the country.
In 2015-16, the team moved to the XL Center in downtown Hartford full-time, which saw an increase of approximately 3,000 more fans per game as well as create an atmosphere that draws attention to the sport in the area.
The late Bruce Marshall is remembered as a transcendent figure for hockey at UConn, coaching 738 games over 25 seasons as the Huskies bench boss. In 2013, current coach Mike Cavanaugh took over and has taken on the task to try turning around the team that hasn’t been able to get off the ground in Hockey East just yet.
Current and committed BCHL alum at UConn
With the Huskies program attempting to find its footing in a tough Hockey East, it has turned to the BCHL for a heavy percentage of its current roster. With nine players from the BCHL on the current team, the impact of the BCHL at UConn can definitely be seen on the ice.
The teams leading point-getter Jonny Evans (Powell River, Junior) put up 29 points in 23 games last season for the Huskies, a breakout season for him. Over his first three years at UConn, Evans has compiled 64 points in 72 games.
Most recently named a captain for the 2021-22 season, Carter Turnbull (Powell River, Junior) has clearly cemented himself as a staple in this Huskies locker room. Leadership isn’t something taught, and after playing three full seasons with Powell River, Turnbull has seemingly made an impact on the Huskies not many can.
Back wearing a letter again this year will be rising senior @carterturnbull
Carter will put the "C" on his sweater this year 👏 pic.twitter.com/kXpExOTt8v
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) May 5, 2021
A couple of solid freshman campaigns from Hudson Schandor (Salmon Arm, Surrey) and Cassidy Bowes (Penticton) give BCHL and UConn followers some players to watch heading into a fresh season, two players that flashed offensive upside in their first Division I seasons.
Carter Berger (Victoria, Sophomore), Kale Howarth (Trail, Junior), Eric Linell (Coquitlam, Surrey, Penticton, Sophomore), John Wojciechowski (Langley, Junior), and recent Union College transfer Darion Hanson (Vernon, Senior) round out the BCHL players for the current UConn Huskies.
As for commitments set to make their way to UConn next season, forwards Brandon Santa Juana (Surrey), Ryan Tattle (Coquitlam), goalie Logan Terness (Trail), and defenseman Jake Veilleux (Victoria) bring a combined nearly 300 games of BCHL experience with them to the NCAA.
BCHL and UConn alumnus
Although there may not be as many notable alums to pass through UConn and go onto play at the highest level, there is no shortage of quality hockey players and people who are products of the BCHL and Huskies hockey.
No fewer than 20 players have completed their careers as Huskies after graduating from the BCHL. At the top of the points leaderboard is Sean Ambroise (Prince George), who gathered 105 points over four seasons at UConn.
Senior captain Miles Gendron paints the picture as the Huskies pull off their biggest win over a ranked opponent in program history in the final game of the 2018-19 season! #IceBus @979ESPN @adamgiardino pic.twitter.com/ObJtu1HuC3
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 9, 2019
The only currently active pro player from the BCHL and UConn is defenseman Miles Gendron (Penticton), who is playing for the Colorado Eagles, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Gendron was part of the foundation for the 2014-15 champion Penticton Vees that won 44 games that season. He played for four years at UConn.
Complete list of BCHL alumni at UConn (excluding recruits and current players)