Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that rookie forward Caden Villegas has committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Union College for the 2021-22 season.
The 5’8”/176 lbs. native of Plano, TX is in his first season in the NAHL and has scored 4 goals and 5 assists in 32 games for the Jr. Blues. Additionally, Villegas notched 1 assist in 6 games while being called up by the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the USHL. Last season Villegas tallied 25 points in 26 games for the Dallas Stars U16 team.
“Caden is a phenomenal young athlete with a strong work ethic,” says Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette. “He is an exemplary student athlete both on and off the ice and will be an effective player at the next level.”
Union College is located in Schenectady, New York and they play in the ECAC hockey conference. The Dutchmen are coached by Rick Bennett and have a history of cultivating professional caliber players, most notably defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and goaltender Keith Kinkaid.
The National American Hockey League (NAHL) announced today the league has broken another record. For the fifth straight year, the NAHL has increased its number of NCAA commitments for players moving on to college to continue to play hockey.
During the 2017-2018 hockey season, 312 commitments (and counting) were made to play NCAA college hockey. This number has increased from 305 the year before.
Of the current 312 commitments this past season, 14 of them were Springfield Jr. Blues players or recent alumni.
“I think the thing that stands out is that our commitment numbers continue to rise because the level of play and talent
getting better each season,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “There is a better and more
balanced level of competition because the players are being educated and trained at a higher level. There also been a
collective effort and commitment by our owners and coaches to really emphasize and place a priority on player
development and advancement.”
The NAHL continues to be a premier developmental league, with players going on to play NCAA hockey, and even move to the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.
JUNE 20, 2018
The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that defenseman Chase Mickelson has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at St. Norbert College.
Mickelson, 21, is another great example of the NAPHL to NAHL to NCAA ladder of development success story. The 6’4/220 lbs. native of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, just completed his second and final season playing in the NAHL for the Jr. Blues.
Mickelson recorded 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) in 47 regular season games. He was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the Midwest Division team.
During his two-year NAHL career, Mickelson recorded 40 points in 103 career games. Prior to playing in the NAHL, Mickelson spent two years playing in the NAPHL for the Madison Capitols 18U team in the NAPHL from 2014-16. During the 2015-16 season, he was selected to the All-NAPHL 18U 1st Team and helped the Capitols to a Dixon Cup Championship.
During his time in the NAPHL, he played in one Top Prospects Tournament and the 18U All-Star Game in 2015-16.
“I’m really proud of Chase on his NCAA commitment. He has a ton of talent and will be a great student athlete in college,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette.