Pictured: Picard’s commitment graphic from 2021-22, when the former USPHL Elite goalie committed to Air Force Academy’s ACHA team. Courtesy of the Springfield Pics.
It was a dream come true on Friday the 13th of January when former Springfield Pics officially became an NCAA athlete when the Air Force Academy Falcons Division I team called Picard up from the Falcons ACHA squad for backup goalie duty against College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Picard, a 2004-born Oakland, Conn., resident, played three seasons with the Pics at the USPHL 15U level 2019-20), the USPHL 16U level (2020-21) and the USPHL Elite level (2021-22). He helped the Pics capture the 2020-21 USPHL 16U American Division championship, their second in a row at that level. Several Pics coaches and former players went to the game to see their former player and teammate in Air Force Blue.
The puck drops at 7:05 pm ET in Worcester. @xtrasports1300 pic.twitter.com/EEjU1bV4uK
— Air Force Hockey (@AF_HKY) January 13, 2023
At the ACHA level this year, Picard has gone 8-0 with a 1.75 GAA and a .917 save percentage for the Falcons.
“Ray was with the program for three years, starting on the 15U team moving to 16U the next year and last season, he was on our Elite team,” said Pics GM Rob Bonneau. “It was always his dream to attend Air Force, so when he got the opportunity he jumped on it , never thinking he would have the chance he is having on an athletic level.”
Picard was shown on the line chart graphic for the Falcons on Jan. 13, backing up Austin Park. He was joined in the night’s lineup by NCDC alumni Will Gavin (Northern Cyclones) and Luke Rowe (Boston Junior Bruins).
Congratulations to Picard for getting the opportunity to dress for his first NCAA Division I college hockey game, and we hope there are more to come!