The Amarillo Bulls coaching staff knew they were going to lose a lot of their offensive weapons next year to the NCAA and have been hard at work searching for the next crop of young guns to fill the void.
JJ (James Jr.) Huerena becomes the fifth highly skilled forward to tender with the Amarillo Bulls for the 2014-15 season. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native joins Connor Wood, Jesse McIntyre, Elijiah Barriga and Ryan Walker as forwards already part of the future.
Huerena is second on the Rampage in scoring and sixth overall in the Tier 1 Elite League with 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 26 games. Huerena has been a big part of his team scoring with four power play goals and having an additional three game winners.
Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said JJ Huerena comes highly recommended by Rampage Head Coach Andrew Sherman.
“Our staff watched JJ at the last super showcase and with us losing players up front due to over age and college, we are looking for the next crop of young guys to come here and compete,” said Williams. “I think one of the things that JJ brings is that high skill set and playmaking ability. He was very high on our list and from what he’s has proven to us already from the year he is having, he’s ready to step in and be an impact hockey player on our team.”
Huerena said one of the big reasons for choosing Amarillo is the first-class organization and the number of NCAA College Commitments.
“I am excited to be joining the Amarillo Bulls organization,” said Huerena. “They have a lot of NCAA college commitments, and I would like to be one of those commitments in the future. The Bulls have a great coaching staff and facility there in Amarillo.”
Huerena said being close to home is also an added bonus.
“I am good friends with Sean (Giles) and Jacob (Weatherly) (both from Colorado who have already tendered), but I am also excited about making new friends when I get there,” he said. “It’s great to play close to home where my parents can drive five or six hours down to Amarillo and catch the games.”
Colorado Rampage Head Coach Andrew Sherman said fans will enjoy watching JJ play.
“JJ is not afraid to go to the hard areas to score goals,” said Sherman. “He’s an elite all around player who has done a nice job for us this year. If you look over the history of the scoring race in the Tier I Elite League there is a relationship between the scoring leaders and playing NCAA Division I hockey.”
JJ Huerena and Jacob Weatherly head to the Bulls next from the Colorado Rampage Under 18 team. Head coach Dennis Williams said he got to know the Rampage organization and Head Coach Andrew Sherman at an Air Force Academy hockey camp this past summer.
Andrew and I were at the camp and we spent time evaluating some of the players and that’s what sparked the dialogue,” Williams explained. “Andrew has vast hockey knowledge and is also a terrific person. I know his players will come in prepared and compete for spots.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)