Rio Rancho native, Warriors grad Weaver commits to NCAA D-II Franklin Pierce
Growing up, Nick Weaver was one of the top players for the New Mexico Warriors youth hockey program.
After making the jump to AAA hockey with the Colorado Rampage and Colorado Springs Tigers, the Rio Rancho native followed that up with two solid seasons of junior hockey with the Eastern Hockey League’s (EHL) Boston Jr. Rangers.
This fall, the 20-year-old will be on the move again as a recent commitment to NCAA Division II Franklin Pierce University (Northeast-10) will see Weaver start his college hockey and academic career in Rindge, N.H.
“Playing in the EHL provides an opportunity for exposure and my (Jr. Rangers) coach Rich DeCaprio has worked hard to ensure all players have the best opportunity to extend their playing career,” said Weaver. “Franklin Pierce is a small university with low student-teacher ratios. I visited the school and met with coach (Shaun) Millerick and believe that this will be a good fit for me.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be a Franklin Pierce Raven, and to have the ability to get a high-quality education while continuing to develop in the game I love.”
In the classroom, Weaver plans to major in Business Management.
During his two seasons in the EHL, Weaver first played for the Jr. Rangers’ EHL Premier (EHLP) team in 2018-19, posting 17 goals and 47 points in 37 games. Advancing up to Boston’s EHL squad this season, Weaver recorded six goals and 15 points over 30 games.
“We are excited for Nick,” said DeCaprio. “He really saw his development all the way through. He’s a tremendous competitor and teammate. Franklin Pierce is getting a skilled player that can definitely finish and create offense.”
Weaver said playing in the EHL helped to solidify his goal of playing college hockey.
“Playing for the Jr. Rangers in both the EHLP my first year and the EHL my age out year was definitely the best move for my junior career,” said Weaver. “The coaches and facilities are second to none. The competition and exposure help players grow and really excel at the next level. From the atmosphere at the showcases, to a Monday morning game, nothing beats it.
“Stepping from New Mexico to AAA to junior hockey has provided my game the ability to grow. In my opinion, the EHL provides the best opportunity to commit to colleges.”
The Jr. Rangers were also tabbed the EHL Organization of the Year in the New England Conference for the 2019-20 season.
With the Jr. Rangers in 2018-19, Weaver was joined by former Warriors teammate and Rio Rancho product Matthew Orlando as two of the team’s top scorers. Orlando registered 25 goals and 60 points that season before moving to the EHL’s Worcester Jr. Railers this season.
In New Mexico and later on in Colorado, Weaver said the road trips and travelling with his teammates are memories that will never fade. He noted that New Mexico coaches Kelly Colyer, Todd Ganshaw, Brian Barnes and Vladimir Hartinger and Tigers coaches Kevin Holmstrom and Cody Ayers all prepared him well for the next level.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the coaches and organizations that have impacted my development,” Weaver said. “The New Mexico coaches all played a role in my early years, and then the Tigers coaches helped me step to a higher level of play. Coaches ‘Coiner’ (Keith Aucoin) and DeCaprio have also played a critical role in my success.
“Most of all, I thank my parents (Neal and Martha) and my sister (Maddison) for their part in helping me reach my goals.”
Down the road, Weaver said he is interested in owning his own business and staying on the ice as long as possible.
“I want to make the most of my college and athletic opportunities,” he said. “We will see where it leads me.”
— Matt Mackinder
(June 24, 2020)