Head coach Greg Powers worked his magic yet again in the recruiting scene. Arizona State received an official commitment from forward Eric Rivard this week.
"Eric is exactly the kind of player I was in search for to put us over the top. He's a big, mean, aggressive, hard working, kid who can really move the puck and put the puck in the net. His size, toughness, and just overall work ethic is really going to be a huge asset to our program for the next four years," Powers said.
Rivard spent this past year playing in the prestigious North American Hockey League (NAHL) for the Soo Eagles. He finished the season second on the team with 24 goals, 39 assists, 63 points and was third on the team with a plus-20 rating.
It goes without saying that he already has a developed offensive game through junior hockey.
"I chose ASU because of the well-established hockey program that I will be a part of. Also, because I will receive a superb education," Rivard said in a text message on Thursday.
The 6-foot-1 forward has a solid 190-pound frame that allows him to add a physical edge to his game. Not only did he record 63 points, but he spent 109 minutes in the penalty box as well. Physical play was something that the Sun Devils lacked for the majority of last season.
"(In the NAHL), I learned how to play at a high level of hockey and become physically and mentally stronger," Rivard said. "I will bring character and a very strong work ethic to ASU."
Besides strength and scoring ability, Rivard should have an immediate impact as a top-six forward as a freshman because he has a knack for winning puck battles and a good hockey IQ.
Rivard logged plenty of minutes on the power play and short-handed units and he lead the team with eight power play goals, four short-handed tallies, and eight game-winners. Coach Powers won another recruiting battle for the program and the American Collegiate Hockey Association as a whole.
"I know through multiple people I have spoken to Eric is a great teammate as well. The fact that he has chosen ASU over some other incredibly high-level schools shows we are able to attract the very best talent out there on the Junior A level," Powers said.
Earlier this year, Rivard helped the Eagles advance to the divisional final series of the NAHL Playoffs, before eventually being swept by the Jamestown Ironmen
The 21-year-old skater played for the Traverse City North Stars from 2009 to 2012 and he scored 44 goals and added 51 assists in 146 games to go along with a plus-21 rating. The Traverse City, Michigan native should make a name for himself in a maroon and gold sweater.
Favorite Hockey Moment: Bantam State Champions with Soo Eagles teammate Jared VanWormer (Ferris State DI commit)
What got him started in hockey: Family
Favorite Hockey Team: Detroit Red Wings
Favorite Hockey Player: Steve Yzerman
Favorite Sports Team (other than hockey): Green Bay Packers
What other sports did you play: Sailing
Fun Facts and Hobbies: Cycling, sailing, hiking