Greg Powers said he was done committing players. His team was finalized, he told House of Sparky back in July.
But the Arizona State hockey coach didn't expect Ryan Belonger to come calling. And when a player at Northeastern University, an NCAA Division I team, says he wants to join your team, you listen.
"I'm still in shock over it to be honest," Powers said. "The first thing I thought was that it was a prank or something."
Powers said it came together last night, when Belonger called him and told him about his desire to transfer to Arizona State. He asked if there was still room on the team, and Powers told him to come to Tempe.
"It's flattering, to have a kid of that caliber want to leave such an elite program to come be apart of ours is a testament to how far we've come," Powers said.
Belonger will immediately become one of the top forwards on the team, presumably skating on the top line from the get-go. He played two years in the united States Hockey League in 2010-12, amassing 37 goals, 35 assists and 72 points in 116 games.
That got him a scholarship to Northeastern, where he saw both his ice time and productivity drop: He had only 13 points in 60 games. Powers said he was unhappy in Boston, and wanted a fresh start, and he knew about Arizona State.
Belonger is friends with current Sun Devil defenseman Jordan Young. Powers said Belonger comes to Arizona every summer to skate, and he worked out with Young and wanted to come to Tempe and play hockey on a national title contender with his friend.
Belonger becomes the seventh USHL alumnus to the 2014-15 Sun Devils, and the second former NCAA Division I player, joining former Ferris State defenseman Connor Schmidt. Belonger, who has used two years of college eligibility and will join Arizona State as a junior, is transferring directly from Northeastern, whereas Schmidt left Ferris State to return to his USHL team before committing to Arizona State.
Powers said Belonger will report to the team immediately, but will probably not see the ice until the maroon and gold game on Sept. 5 at Oceanside.