Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gillespie to Niagara

Press Release sent to the World of Junior Hockey

NEWARK, NJ – The New Jersey Rockets are pleased to announce that EHL forward Michael Gillespie (’96 birth year/New City, NY) has announced his commitment to Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey) for the 2015-2016 season.

The second year forward chose Niagara over several other options and will receive a four-year scholarship to suit up at Monteagle Ridge for the Purple Eagles. Gillespie will join Rockets alum T.J. Sarcona (’92 birth year/West Islip, NY) with the Purple Eagles hockey program.

“It is a great honor to become a part of the Niagara University hockey program,” Gillespie said. “From the moment I arrived on campus, I knew that I could see myself wearing the purple and white.

Gillespie was a midseason acquisition from the New York Saints organization and was a big contributor down the stretch in the Rockets run to a second consecutive Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s Keegan Cup Championship. Gillespie had forty-five points (16G 29A) over twenty-four games, including the a pair of goals in the Rockets 3-2 come from behind victory over Richmond that sent the Rockets into the Keegan Cup finals.

While an offensive contributor last season, the New City, New York native has taken his scoring up a notch with eighty-eight points (27G 61A) in seventy games played and is currently second in the Eastern Hockey League in scoring with thirty-two points (13G 34A) in 32 EHL contests and currently paces the EHL in assists.

“I would like to thank Coach Thornton and the rest of the New Jersey Rockets organization for their commitment and drive to get players to the next level,” said Pete Gillespie, Michael’s father. “The Rockets truly push the players toward accomplishing their goals and it was the best decision for Michael to play for the Rockets organization.”

“Gilly has worked extremely hard since we acquired him from the Saints one year ago,” said Rockets Head Coach and Director of Player Development Bob Thornton. “He was a major factor in our second consecutive Keegan Cup Championship and he started this year where he ended last year and currently leads our EHL team in points and is second in the EHL in points and has earned a full four-year scholarship, as a ’96 birth year, for his efforts and will follow Sarcona to Niagara. It shows the attention to development of our young players.”
“It has been a tough road over the years,” Gillespie reflected. “But I always knew that if I put the work in and played my game, something like this could happen. I’m very excited for the great opportunity Niagara is giving me and am very much looking forward to being a Purple Eagle. They showed the interest in me and I am now getting the opportunity to show it back to them.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without Coach Thornton and Coaches Samms, Mullen and Deresky and I am really looking forward to 2015.”

(Nathan can be reached at

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