#USPHLCommitments: Three-Year Florida Eels’ Forward Shepherd Commits To Framingham State University

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com 


Every year that Devin Shepherd was with the Florida Eels, he just got better and better.

As a junior rookie in 2021-22, he jumped right in as an 18-year-old and posted eight points in 35 games. The next year, he brought that point total up to 26 points in 40 games and earned Alternate Captain honors. This season, also spent wearing the “A” on his chest, was his best offensive showing, as he posted 40 points in 35 games. 

Framingham State University, located in eastern Massachusetts about 20 miles outside of Boston, would love to see the same kind of progression from Shepherd at the NCAA Division III college level when he joins the Rams this fall.

Shepherd committed to Framingham State just prior to helping the Eels make their seventh straight trip to the USPHL Nationals. The Eels join the Charlotte Rush in being the only two teams to make it in every season of the Premier’s seven-year history.  

“I started talking to Framingham State early on this season around November. As the season continued, talks increased gradually leading up to my commitment. I believe the coaches liked how much of a complete game I play, how I play physical, get to the dirty areas, take care of the puck, and understand the importance of playing in all three zones,” said Shepherd. 

He is joining a Framingham State University team that was founded in 1971 and over the past three seasons, they have improved each season under Head Coach Mike Bailey. This past season was their best in a decade, playing in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).  

“The first thing that brought my interest to Framingham State is the location, as I love Massachusetts and loved the idea of living in that area. On ice, they are a competitive team that is on the upward trajectory after making their conference playoffs this past year, as well as a great coaching staff led by Mike Bailey who most recently won MASCAC Coach of the Year,” said Shepherd. “Off ice, the campus looks beautiful and the school looks like a great place to further my academics.”

Shepherd, who plans to major in Business, is excited to make his way in the late summer up to Framingham to begin his life as a college student-athlete in the fast-paced world of NCAA sports. 

“I have not been able to visit the campus but I have watched a lot of videos and done virtual tours. I decided to commit when I talked it over with my family and coaches and I came to the decision that Framingham State was the best possible fit,” he added. 

“Framingham State University is an excellent fit for Devin,” added Eels Owner/GM Frank Scarpaci. “Coach Bailey has watched Devin play and sees firsthand how he can, and does, impact the game. He uses his size [6-feet-4-inches] to dominate his opponents on the forecheck and has a direct and lethal offensive style of play. He is amongst the best centermen in the USPHL.” 


Finding His Groove In Florida 

When Shepherd talks about finding a best possible fit, he’s become pretty good at it. Three years ago, he moved away from hockey-rich Michigan, where he had played at the AAA level with the prestigious Honeybaked organization, because he found the Fort Myers-based Florida Eels to be the best possible fit for his development and advancement goals. 

“I am super appreciative of my three years with the Florida Eels. I feel like I grew and improved so much as a hockey player and as a person,” said Shepherd. “The coaching staff gave us the tools to improve everyday, and preached the importance of striving to improve everyday in order to become our best selves. They are also one of the most competitive teams in the USPHL every year for that reason, so I was honored to play there my whole junior career.”

“Devin has been a perfect example of the player development of the Eels. He came here three seasons ago and has made huge strides. He has ripened into a true top guy in the USPHL in any division,” Scarpaci added. “He has shown and demonstrated this as he has been a key member of our top line for the Eels Premier team.” 

The Florida Eels take full advantage of the national footprint in the USPHL Premier, traveling around the Northeast and Southeast U.S. to face teams from as far away as New England, Minnesota and Chicago, as well as going through the grinder of the ultra-tough Florida Division. Even the expansion team in the division – the Bold City Battalion, of Jacksonville – was so competitive they won the regular season division title and made Nationals in their first year. There’s no easy games for the Eels, ever.  

“The USPHL is a great league that has so many great teams and opportunities for kids to continue playing hockey and pursue the dream of playing NCAA hockey,” Shepherd said. “I also feel that the showcases and the USPHL Nationals were great-run events, as well as the social media, which leads to more exposure and a better representation for the league, leading to more interest from bigger and better college programs.”

One of these programs is the Framingham State Rams, which Scarpaci mentioned as a team with whom his organization has developed a fantastic working relationship over the years. 

“The Eels have a respectful and impressive history and legacy with FSU. One of our alumni was Captain of the FSU NCAA team, one of our top goalies went to FSU, and our new incoming Elite coach Mike Gennello played there as well,” Scarpaci added. “We are extremely proud of Devin and know he will do very well there. This is a high character individual who will excel at FSU.” 

It won’t happen overnight, and Shepherd knows that well. From now until his first steps on campus are the time to get ready for his new life, and he eats preparation for breakfast. 

“I want to continue to improve all aspects of my game overall, as well as my strength and speed to help me be ready to compete at the next level,” added Shepherd. 

The USPHL congratulates Devin Shepherd, his family, the Florida Eels and Framingham State University for his commitment. 

Players, fill out a Premier/Elite Prospects Form to express your interest to USPHL Premier and Elite coaches for the upcoming 2024-25 season and check our USPHLPremier.com/team-tryouts page for upcoming camps to begin paving Your Path To College Hockey.