SOMERSET, NJ – The story of Central New Jersey’s newest Eastern Hockey League (EHL) affiliate, the Protec Jr. Ducks, began last year when Pascal Magnollay acquired the youth organization, ahead of purchasing the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers EHL affiliate and relocating that program to Somerset, NJ.
In April the Jr. Ducks announced a North American Hockey League (NAHL) affiliation with the Minnesota Magicians, and since June general manager and head coach Terry Watt has signed several players ahead of the organization’s inaugural junior hockey season.
Those contracted players include the following group of Garden State natives:
- Alex Blaszak, Pope John High School (New Jersey Colonials)
- Tyler Ebeling, Ridge High School (Mercer Chiefs)
- Alex Knighton, Pequannock High School (New Jersey Rockets)
- Tyler Blicharz (New Jersey Rockets)
Ducks Land Morristown-Beard Standout
However, the Ducks biggest splash of the summer came July 28th, when the organization announced the signing of Brayden Patricia, a former Morristown-Beard High School standout who finished tied for 15th in Eastern Hockey League scoring a season ago while serving as an assistant captain for the Philadelphia Revolution.
“Patricia signing with us immediately makes our offense that much better,” Ducks General Manager and Head Coach Terry Watt said in a media release. “He’s the type of player that makes everyone around him better each day; on and off the ice.”
During a COVID-19 shortened campaign, Patricia registered 55 points (28g, 27a) in 41 games, the league’s leading scorer among 2000 birth year players, which will make him the EHL’s top returning point producer when the puck drops on the 2020-21 season.
“Patricia will bring a much-welcomed veteran presence to our new club,” added Watt. “He’s played a few years of junior hockey and even at higher levels in the NCDC. He’s been around, he knows what it takes to win and be the best; he’s a proven point producer and leader at the junior level…”
Patricia a Power Player Prior to Protec Ducks
In 2018-19, Patricia appeared in 30 games in the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), the United States Premier Hockey League’s Tier III junior hockey platform.
On April 24, Patricia announced his commitment to NCAA Division III Fitchburg State University, a program that finished second in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference with a record of 14-8-4.
Patricia, who played the majority of his youth hockey with the New Jersey Hitmen, was a four-year varsity skater at Morristown-Beard, and recorded 123 career points (58g, 65a) while helping the Crimson to four Mennen Cup finals appearances and three Mennen Cup Championships.