Wayne, NJ - At 6'6 235 pounds, John Nauta, has been one of the most imposing figures in the EJHL to shooters. The starting EJHL southern division all-star goaltender and Hitmen dynamo has made his college decision: Quinnipiac University. Nauta, who leads the EJHL in wins (18), goals against average (1.52), save percentage (.942) and shut outs (4), will join former Hitmen stand out and 2010 Quinnipiac rookie of the year Jeremy Langlois in Hamden, CT, this fall.
Nauta came to the Hitmen from the QMJHL thus he will have to sit out the 2011-2012 ECAC season but will be eligible for the 2012-2013 season. Garnering a lot of NHL interest, Nauta was torn on his path early in the EJHL season, but has since worked with a tutor, taken his S.A.T and is ready to take his talents back to school.
"I have grown up a lot this year, and really seen what is important in my life," commented Nauta. "The Hitmen and its structure was exactly what I needed. When I decided to go to the 'Q' it was strictly for hockey. I was young, I got some bad advice, and now that chapter is behind me. I have learned from my mistakes and I am so happy for the opportunity that coach Harris and Hunt afforded me here in Jersey."
The Hitmen back stop and only repeat EJHL defensive player of the week went on to say, "the Hitmen way, the unwavering attention to detail in everything we do, the nutritional program and off ice training really took my game to the next level. On top of that it changed the way I live, the way I eat, how I spend my free time, its an amazing program. I would really like to thank Coach Harris for giving me the opportunity to play here and my parents for affording me to play here. My mom and dad are ecstatic that I am back on the path to college, and I am so excited that coach Pecknold has given me the chance to play at Quinnipiac, I could not be happier!"
Nauta comes from an amazingly athletic family. John's dad, Steve, was the starting center at Michigan in the late 80's playing under legendary coach, Bo Schembechler. After Michigan, Steve Nauta played in the NFL. Nauta's two older sisters are both competitive swimmers at the University of Georgia and Tennessee respectively, both training for the upcoming summer olympics.
Hitmen head coach, Toby Harris, commented on Nauta's commitment, "John has been a God send this season. He has done everything we have asked of him. He has worked hard off the ice to get himself into great shape and that has paid major dividends to both the Nauta and Hitmen families. I am so happy that I was able to help John in attaining just one of his childhood dreams, he is a great kid, with a very The Bobcats are getting a very good goaltender but more importantly a wonderful person."
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)