On Thursday, Maryland Black Bears’ defenseman Jack Hillman announced his commitment to College of the Holy Cross. It is the sixth commitment from a Black Bears this season, fifth to a Division 1 school. With Hillman’s commitment, the Black Bears have 13 players on their current roster going to D1 schools in the future. Not only that, Hillman becomes the 14th players on the Black Bears to make a college commitment while rostered on the team.
Hillman has been solid in his second season in Maryland with a goal and six assists on the year. With the departure of Thomas Jarman, Hillman has stepped up in a big way, play a more physical role on the blue line while also keeping the opposition in check defensively and starting the transition game from the Black Bears zone. The intangibles that Hillman breaks may go unmarked on the scoresheet, but is something many people look at when it comes to a player having a complete game.
It should come as no surprise that the Black Bears are off to their best season in their short time in the NAHL. With that much talent on the team, it shouldn’t be surprise they’re 12-6-5 on the season and have played very solid as a unit. It helped that the roster from the start had plenty of committed players, coupled with acquisitions of players who had their college seasons shut down for the year– you’d have to think all of that combined helped the four in-season D1 commits get noticed by playing with players who have already committed.
By-and-large, the on-ice moves that Clint Mylymok has made for this Black Bears team has definitely accelerated the success for the team, as well as showing off that by playing in Maryland– you’re going to get noticed by D1 schools and get plenty of chances to show how well you play alongside and against D1 talent.
Hockey isn’t the only thing schools want to see, they want to see how the player is outside of the rink. The team has taken that issue to heart, as well, creating a better culture off the ice to counter balance what is put on the ice. When there has been a hint of trouble off the ice, it has been dealt with swiftly and for the betterment for all involved. Mylymok and president Robyn Remick have shown that they want not just good hockey players on the team, but they want good people on the team, above all.
It speaks to the culture that the Black Bears have built up and the personnel they bring in as reason for the success, as not only do players have to hockey skill– they also need the grades and maturity to get into these school in the first place. The Black Bears have built that from the ground up, which is paying off for the players on and off the ice.