Allen Lessels' College Hockey: Another van Riemsdyk excels on the ice for UNH
DURHAM -- BABSON COLLEGE needed an answer.
Trevor van Riemsdyk, of the Middletown, N.J., van Riemsdyks and the middle man in a family of hockey-playing brothers, had finished up his high school career at Christian Brothers Academy and had to make a decision.
Division I college hockey coaches had shown little interest in him - go play juniors and maybe we'll talk to you after that was the feeling he got - and now the question was, did he try juniors or just pack up and go to Babson and play Division III hockey.
Sean Tremblay, then the coach of the Manchester Jr. Monarchs based in Hooksett, helped steer him towards Division I.
"After the high school season I went to play in a tournament in Chicago and met Coach Tremblay," van Riemsdyk said. "He kind of took me under his wing. He kind of pushed me and put it in my head that I could go the Division I route. I owe him a lot."
Thanks, but no thanks to Babson.
"You can't give up on the dream quite that early," said van Riemsdyk, now a standout junior defenseman in the midst of his best year yet at the University of New Hampshire.
Van Riemsdyk headed to Hooksett to play for the Junior Monarchs.
The move paid off, bigtime.
Within a few months he made a verbal commitment to play for UNH where his older brother, James, was starring.
James was the fastest-developing of the van Riemsdyk boys when it came to hockey. He went off to play for the National Team Development Program and was picked second overall in the 2007 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
He's now with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Trevor was at the TD Garden in Boston on Tuesday night when James scored the winning goal, and added an assist, in his team's 4-3 win over the Bruins.
James is on the United States Olympic team, too, and is headed to Sochi for the Games next month.
Trevor's game started to take off quickly with the Jr. Monarchs.
"A month into his junior year, he was a huge recruit," said UNH associate coach Scott Borek, who recruited him. "He played forward and defense growing up, you can tell he played a lot of forward by his game, so he really didn't have a position yet. Once he locked and loaded on defense, which was not until junior hockey, he exploded."
Van Riemsdyk played a second year with the Jr. Monarchs as well.
"That has allowed him to be dominant since the day he got here," Borek said.
He had four goals and 15 points for 19 points as a freshman. Last year, as a sophomore he was named a first team All American with eight goals and 25 assists for 33 points.
Going into Saturday night's game against Union at the Whittemore Center, van Riemsdyk had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points, which leads Hockey East defenseman in points and is second among blueliners in the country. He was plus-13 in plus-minus statistics, his best numbers while at UNH and best on the team among defenseman.
Unfortunately, van Riemsdyk suffered an ankle injury in the first period of Saturday's game. It is not known how long he'll be sidelined.
"He's as good as there is," said UNH coach Dick Umile said. "He plays just like his brother. He sees the ice, he has a great feel for the game and he's very skilled. He has great control of the puck and he has great composure with the puck."
Trevor, who is happy that he has become more consistent with his game on both ends of the ice this season, says he picks up much from watching and being around James.
"He's doesn't preach much to me," he said. "He does it with his actions. He's a great role model to have."
Trevor lived with James for six week last summer and hopes to do it again, maybe for longer, this summer.
Trevor, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, is a bit of an odd man out among the Brothers van Riemsdyk.
James is a forward and left shot and so is their younger brother, Brendan, a senior at Christian Brothers Academy.
Brendan is about 6-foot-3 and his skating and game are coming along, Trevor said. He has already made a verbal commitment to follow his brothers and accept a UNH scholarship.
Next year, Trevor said, Brendan hopes to play in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers. He's due at UNH in the fall of 2015 or 2016, depending on whether he plays one or two years in juniors.
As for Trevor, UNH has him for the rest of this year and hopes to have him around for another season, too.
James spent two years at UNH before leaving for professional hockey.
Trevor was not drafted and scouts are reportedly paying a lot of attention to him.
He says he hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about next year.
"I know its cliché, but I've been taking it year, by year, season by season, game by game," he said. "I don't know what the plan is."
He certainly wasn't thinking that far ahead when he came to UNH.
"I was just thinking, 'I hope I'm in the lineup all the time,'?" van Riemsdyk said.
That he was.