Ohio AAA Blue Jacket 16U forward Will Elger announced a commitment to Providence College over the weekend. The Westerville native has produced 90 points (33-57-90) in 114 games with the Blue Jackets 16U team over the past two seasons.
Providence head coach Nate Leaman, who also served as the head coach for Team USA’s gold medal-winning entry at the 2021 IIHF World Junior (U20) Championship – a role he will reprise in 2022 – approached Elger at a recent prospect camp and invited him to visit the campus.
“I was up in Connecticut at my advisors camp and Coach Leaman was there,” Elger said. “After we skated, he asked me a few questions.”
The conversation went well and ended in an invitation to visit the Providence College campus.
“I ended up going and visiting and I really liked the campus and Coach Leaman,” Elger said. “I thought it would be a really good fit for me and I’m really excited.”
While Elger will have some development time ahead of him in junior hockey, Leaman’s keen eye for talent projects him to be a DI player.
“We are really happy to have Will commit,” said Leaman. “I like his combination of size skill and Hockey IQ.”
Leaman said Elger’s skating is also an asset and that he is a smart player with good hands.
“He has big upside as he is just getting caught up with his body,” said Leaman.
Elger was selected by the United States Hockey League’s Tri-City (Kearney, NE) Storm in the 2020 USHL Futures Draft. More recently, he was picked by the Johnstown (PA) Tomahawks in the 2021 North American Hockey League Draft.
The USHL is the lone Tier I Junior circuit in the United States while the NAHL is a step down at Tier II.
“I’d like to get to Providence for my true freshman year,” Elger said. “But if I need to take an extra year, no worries, I’ll be able to stay another year at Tri-City.”
Elger will report to training camp with the Storm next week and hopes to stick but, as a late 2004 birth date, has up to four years of junior hockey eligibility and could move a little closer to home and get more ice time in Johnstown if the situation calls for it in the short term.
His announcement drew congratulatory tweets from AAA Blue Jacket alumni, including the likes of NHL players Sean Kuraly, Jack Roslovic and Kiefer Sherwood.
“Those guys have been my role models since I started skating when I was three years old,” said Elger. “To see them comment on my commitment post was pretty exciting.”
--- Scott Harrington for Ohio Hockey Digest