It’s one of the more difficult posts to write on the year in junior hockey, it’s the players who won’t be with the team next year due to them being over the junior age of eligibility. For some of these players, they’ve been with the squad only a year, maybe less; for one, since day one. So, let’s remember these players moving on next season.
LUKE MOUNTAIN: A day one Black Bear, Mountain was picked in the 12th Round of the 2018 NAHL Draft and has been the team ever since. He created one of the bigger moments in the Black Bears’ first year by scoring in overtime with 2.3 seconds left in the home finale over the New Jersey Titans. Mountain’s workman-like game provided all-around coverage for the Black Bears, active in any kind of situation that was needed out of him. An alternate captain in 2019-20 and then the fourth team captain in history this past season, Mountain continues the line of heart-and-soul players to wear the “C” for Maryland. Mountain made the NAHL East Division All-Rookie Team in 2018-19 and was a three-time East Division Star of the Week over his three seasons. As he leave Maryland, Mountain holds the regular season franchise records for games played (152), points (82), goals (44), assists (38), and game-winning goals (7). Mountain is headed to the University of Vermont to continue his career.
CAM GAUDETTE: Maryland made a big move in acquiring Gaudette in the off-season from the Northeast Generals, but it proved to be a great move in gaining added leadership and veteran presence on the team. Gaudette played both sides of the puck well, being a shutdown defenseman when needed, chipping in offensively, as well as adding a physical part to the game when called upon. Gaudette helped anchor the Maryland defense and helped the team post a 2.94 goals-against-per-game average, lowest in team history. In November of 2020, Gaudette took home NAHL Defenseman of the Month honors. Northeastern University is Gaudette’s next stop, the school his brother Adam attended, as well.
HUNTER MCCOY: Coming from the BCHL, McCoy helped play an key role in the Black Bears offense, while also providing timely plays in his own zone to help keep shots away from the net. With a quick shot and ability to get into the proper scoring areas, McCoy set a single-season Black Bears’ record with four game-winning goals while also being tied for second all-time in that category. McCoy also provided on the penalty kill, scoring three shorthaded goals, placing him second in the single-season and all-time record books for Maryland. This season, McCoy also garnered two East Division Star of the Week honors. After some time thinking, McCoy was recruited by the United States Army West Point for his next chapter in life and hockey.
JOSH NIXON: A late-comer to the party, Nixon made an impact almost immediately thanks to his smooth skating and stick-handling abilities. A product of the OJHL and USHL, Nixon’s vision of the ice allowed him to make time and space for himself when it looked like none was available. He really turned it on late into the season, as well as the playoffs where he lead the team in scoring with four goals and eight points. The next chapter for Nixon will be at Lake Superior State, as he will be an offensive asset for a team that is continuing to improve in the NCAA ranks.
BRIAN SMITH: Coming over after some time with Odessa this year and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year, Smith only saw nine games of regular season action and two games of playoffs. Even with the limited playing time, the character of Smith to be there when called upon is an admirable trait that will serve him well down the line in life and in hockey. Smith was part of a deep defensive squad and helped the team keep the goals-per-game under three this season. Smith will attend Bethel University next season, playing along side former Black Bear Luke Posner.
All photos by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction