USPHL Premier 2023-24 Florida Division Players Of The Month: January 2024

Selection Process: The league media office sends top statistical candidates to divisional coaches for review and coaches either approve or challenge the nominations. 


Summaries by Joshua Boyd / 


Forward: Cooper Ireland, Florida Jr. Blades 

Ireland (‘04/Bangor, Maine) certainly changed climates from one Premier season to another, after playing for the former Twin City Thunder Premier team last year and now playing in Estero, Florida. He’s also seen a great improvement in his offensive production, putting up 28 points in 35 games, representing a 17-point year-over-year improvement. During January, he was on fire with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points, giving him an average of 1.67 points per game for his nine games last month. He also won 94 faceoffs to lead the Jr. Blades and his seven blocked shots were tied for the lead among Jr. Blades forwards. 


Forward: Kain Walker, Florida Jr. Blades 

Walker (‘05/Media, Pa.) registered three goals and 11 assists for 14 points over nine games. Walker currently has 33 points in 35 games after joining this year as a junior rookie out of the Philadelphia Blazers, with whom he played in the USA Hockey Tier II Nationals last year. He also played at Penncrest High School, where he was a teammate of fellow current Jr. Blade Brinson White. During the past month with the  Jr. Blades, he led all forwards on his team in ice time at 19:e6 and also tied for the team’s forwards in plus-minus at +4. 


Forward: Jacob Godbout, Florida Eels 

Godbout (‘04/Amos, Que.) has continued to be one of the Eels’ best success stories. Here is a player who got his start with the Elite Eels in 2022-23, but was so strong at that level, he finished the season with the Premier Eels and was a big difference-maker in their run to the USPHL Nationals semifinal round. This year, he’s back up to old tricks with seven goals and six assists for 13 points in eight games. He was also second on the Eels in shots on goal with 37 in January, giving him an 18.9 percent shooting percentage. For the season, Godbout is at 36 points in 37 games and he has 87 points in 67 regular season games. 


Defense: Eoin Reager, Atlanta MadHatters

The MadHatters enjoyed a fantastic and busy month of 13 games during January, over which they went 9-4-0-0 to stand in third place currently in the Florida Division and officially clinch a playoff berth. The second-year MadHatters blueliner put up two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 11 games last month, while ranking second on the team in average ice time with 20:36. Like Jacob Godbout, Reager (‘03/Foxboro, Mass.) is a #USPHLAdvancement success story having previously been a USPHL Elite All-Star. He has 35 points this season in 39 games, an improvement on his already impressive 28 points in 44 games last year. 


Defense: Brayden Goddard, Florida Eels

Goddard (‘03/Vancouver, Wash.) is currently in his third Premier season and second campaign with the Eels. He was a big contributor to helping the Eels into their current position of leading the Florida Division. During January, he registered two goals and seven assists for nine points in seven games. During the month, he also led the Eels in ice time (22:18) and plus-minus (+7). His nine blocked shots led the Eels defense. His 33 points are an 11-point improvement on last year, and he’s at 67 points in 105 career games. 


Goaltender: Tommy Baker, Florida Jr. Blades 

Baker (‘05/Soldotna, Alaska) is another like teammate Cooper Ireland who left colder northern climes to strike gold in Estero, Florida. A recent acquisition of the Jr. Blades, joining in December, he went 2-1-0-0 in 180 minutes of action in December. He stopped 117 out of the 121 shots he faced, giving him a .967 save percentage and a 1.33 GAA for the month. This included a 42-save shutout against the Atlanta MadHatters on Jan. 27 and a 35-save blanking of the Palm Beach Typhoon on Jan. 11. For the season, he is 2-2 with a .940 save percentage, after joining from the Windy City Storm AAA team.


Top Performers of the Week (Jan. 24-31)

Forward: Jared Salminen, Florida Eels – 1GP 2G 3A 5PTS 

Defense: Mark Phillips, Florida Eels – 1GP 0G 2A 2PTS 

Goaltender: Tommy Baker, Florida Jr. Blades – 42-save shutout win