By Jim Den Hollander / USPHLPremier.com
Patrick (P.J.) Noonan, a 20-year-old forward from the Hudson Havoc recently made public his commitment to attend Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., this fall reuniting him with a familiar face.
One of several members with a Chicago area connection, Noonan said in an e-mail interview he held off on the decision to play in Hudson in the fall of 2020, admitting he had his sights set a little higher.
“During my 2019-20 season I played for the Chicago Fury u18 team, after that season continuing hockey was what I decided I wanted to do. Playing Tier 2 was the goal that season. After the main camps were complete and no Tier 2 team was willing to pick me up, I had a conversation with [former Havoc Coach/GM Brett Wall, now head coach at Lawrence] and the owner. It was clear to me that I could still play college hockey while playing juniors at the tier 3 level.”
That ended up being a great decision as the ‘02 from Wheaton, Ill., has played 116 regular season contests at Hudson in the past three seasons scoring 47 goals and racking up 112 points. Offensively, Noonan has seen his numbers rise substantially since joining the junior squad and he said it came from a change in his focus.
“My youth hockey career I believe was approached with the wrong mindset,” said Noonan. “I naturally focused on stopping other teams’ good players from scoring, rather than trying to put the puck in the back of the net. That was something that I continue to progress and work at.”
In recent seasons, Hudson – located directly across the Mississippi River from Minnesota – has established itself as a hockey player factory in Wisconsin with state championships routinely won by both the youth and varsity hockey teams. The junior team’s performance this season shows the Havoc has the same swagger as the rest of the local teams.
“Hockey in Hudson is very similar if not on par with Minnesota hockey across the river,” said Noonan. “I think that the success from the high school and youth organization is held on a different pedestal than the junior hockey here, but I believe that is the same in Minnesota. But there is no doubt that fast and disciplined hockey is expected when a part of the Havoc.”
Coach Wall led the way for the Havoc until moving on at the end of the 2021-22 season to take over the Head Coaching position at Lawrence University in Appleton. That immediately narrowed down Noonan’s list of prospective places to go after wrapping up his junior career.
“When Wall made it public that he was going to be the Coach at Lawrence University, the idea of possibly going to that school immediately crossed my mind,” said Noonan. “Common sense, I think, was the biggest factor in making the decision to attend Lawrence — receive a top-end education, easy transition (due to my prior experience with the coach), and a small campus was all that I was in search of.”
Noonan said he has yet to select a major but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he wants to do in the future.
“As far as my major is concerned, I have not officially decided what that is going to look like, but I would love to enter the real estate industry. If it were not for hockey, I would be going to trade school to learn as much as possible for property maintenance and repair.”
Coach Wall already knows what he is getting from Noonan, and he is excited to continue their hockey
“We are excited to have Patrick joining us at LU,” said Coach Wall. “Patrick fits the mold of the three things we are looking to recruit and build around, including players that are high end academically. All the points he compiled on the ice don’t tell Patrick’s full story. He comes to Lawrence boasting a 4.0 GPA out of high school.
“Next, we are looking for captains and leaders and he did a great job being a two-year captain in Hudson.
“Also, we are looking for players who are winners and come from well-run and well-coached programs. I‘ve been lucky enough to win a lot of games with him in the USPHL. I also know this season, under the guidance of the Havoc staff with Coaches Dean Talafous, Marty Dyck and Team architect Scott Sturgeon that Patrick has been well-coached and well prepared off the ice by Coach Brent Jamison and Dr. Brittany Young-Sanchez.”
The USPHL congratulates Patrick “P.J.” Noonan, his family, the Hudson Havoc and Lawrence University for his commitment.