Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography
Bryan Erikson, Head Coach of the Northeast Generals always talks about having players of character who can also play the game well. Tyler Cooper fits that bill. The speedy forward put up numbers of a two way player, but Erikson expects that he will score even more for the Oles of St. Olaf. In addition, Erikson discussed the process for Cooper, able to find a home in the first of five recruiting classes effected directly by the extra year afforded to all players who played in the 2020-2021 campaign, marred by the Covid-19 pandemic. For Mules fans wondering about Cooper, look at some of his game tape from the past season, his effort from shift to shift is consistent, and he brings a high level of drive to his game. In a cycle not marred by the pandemic and its ramifications, Cooper may have had some more looks from Division One schools.
As Erikson said of the English national team player
” The entire process is frustrating this year with the 5th year and the portal being crazy but it is what it is. We always prepare all of our players to be grateful to be able to play hockey anywhere at the next level. St. Olaf is an outstanding school and hockey program that will be a great fit for Coop. He is a great kid that can fill the net. He is tough the play against, works hard and is a great great kid on and off the ice. I think it’s going to be a great fit for everyone involved. Really proud of Tyler.”
Of the process still ongoing for his uncommitted players Erikson added
“We are still working on all our other 2000’s. They all have amazing D3 opportunities awaiting them but I am still pushing for something to happen at the D1 level. None of our players will end up at anything less than a great school and hockey program no matter the level. Each will have the opportunity to play after college as long as they perform like we think they can. But hoping something shakes free with Young and a few others. Tough process but also tough for the schools in the mix.”
The reality of finding a Division One home for all uncommitted 2000 born players is the toughest of any class over the next five seasons. To their credit, the Generals have remained focused on finding the best fit for the player as composed to the best fit to burnish the legacy of their team.
One thing that made life tougher for Erikson’s uncommitted players is the closure of the Robert Morris program. On the impact of the decision he said ” It really hurt. Just when some kids were getting some looks 20 + kids became available.” Coaches across the game now have even more players in the crowded transfer portal to consider against the uncommitted players looking for a home. The timing of the decision made things even worse.
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