Colin Stevens, a Niskayuna native who grew up rooting for the Union College hockey team, has made a verbal commitment to play for the Dutchmen in the 2012-13 season.
The record-setting goalie for the Junior Bruins informed Union coach Nate Leaman of his decision Thursday.
“I knew that was where I wanted to go, so why wait?” said the 17-year-old Stevens. “I love the school. I grew up watching Union games. It’s a great school, academically, and they have such great fans. The combination of hockey and the school itself was too good to pass up.”
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Stevens in the second goalie to make a commitment to Union. Troy Grosenick, who played for Cedar Rapids in the United States Hockey League last seasaon, will be joining the Dutchmen in the fall.
Stevens is coming off a spectacular season. Playing for the Junior Bruins’ Empire Hockey League team, he compiled a 23-1-2 record with a 1.66 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage and six shutouts as the Bruins posted a 53-7-3 overall record.
His 23 victories broke the league record of 22, set by current Miami (Ohio) goalie Connor Knapp, and his goals-against average tied Knapp’s record.
When the Bruins took their Christmas break, Stevens joined the USA Hockey National Development Training Program’s Under-18 team, and saw action in two games for the national team.
“That was unreal,” he said. “It was something I never expected. It was a great opportunity for me just to get picked.”
Stevens, who has been a goalie ever since he started playing hockey, has lived a nomadic lifestyle in the last three years in his pursuit of better competition.
He attended Niskayuna High School as a freshman, and then transferred to Albany Academy, playing for the Cadets in the New England Prep School League as a sophomore. Last fall, he moved to Marlboro, Mass., and billetted with a local family while playing for the Bruins, and attending Marlboro High School. But now, he’s back in Niskayuna to complete his junior year.
Next fall, Stevens will return to the Bruins and will play for their upper-level team in the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
“Just because I’ve committed doesn’t mean I can sit back,” he said. “If anything, I know I’ve got to work harder to get ready for the next level.”