By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
It won’t be easy for the Utica Jr. Comets to send their Captain onward, but they couldn’t be happier to see two-year Jr. Comet and three-year USPHL Premier veteran Jude Cole moving on to Arcadia University.
Cole began talking to Arcadia about his college hockey future in the winter, and it, er, snowballed from there.
“I got to meet Coach [Patrick] Carroll after one of my games in February and was able to speak to him a few times in the weeks after that,” said Cole, an ‘02 from Honeoye Falls, N.Y. “That’s when I first heard they had interest in a commitment. Coach [Vincent] Pietrangelo and Carroll said they liked my 200-foot play style.
“What interested me at Arcadia when it came to academics was the size of the school’s classrooms. The smaller classes are something I know will help in school to keep me focused,” said Cole, who posted 80 points in 86 regular season games with the Jr. Comets, and another five points in 10 playoff games. “On the hockey front, being able to visit their rink, and meet a few of the players helped me get to know the program well and what they were about which I thought felt like a great fit.”
Cole was able to visit the Arcadia campus in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia, about 5 hours from his home outside of Rochester, N.Y.
“I had a great time on my visit, the school atmosphere was something I thought I’d fit into well and I like that a lot of staff had open doors to students whenever they needed something,” said Cole. “I decided to make it official because the coaches truly made me feel wanted by the program and school, which stood out from some of my other interactions with different programs. I’m undecided on my major currently, leaning towards business administration in the future.”
Cole joined the Jr. Comets after the 2020-21 season during which he was rostered with the Syracuse Nationals AAA team. He had previously played in the USPHL Premier with the former Rochester Monarchs, splitting the 2019-20 season between their Premier and NCDC teams, as well as with his hometown Brighton-HFL-East Rochester High School team.
“The Jr. Comets were great for me, their facilities and staff are great for development. I think they do a great job with making kids feel at home with the culture they have there too,” said Cole. “I wanted to come back after my first year mainly because of the coaches and friends I had made there but it was great for me both years. I felt I had lots of exposure and good feedback from the staff which helped my development which was also important in why I stayed.
“I think the availability of not only the Jr. Comets staff but also the AHL members who were always there to help with whatever you needed makes a lot of the players feel at home and comfortable,” Cole added. “That definitely helped me gain some confidence which always translates well on the ice. We also had the addition of the Nexus center this year which was an awesome place to train with the three new pads and gym, having a lot of ice available definitely makes a difference.”
Looking back on his three seasons in the USPHL Premier, Cole is happy that he spent the most productive years of his hockey career in terms of being scouted within the Nation’s Largest Amateur Hockey Organization.
“I think the USPHL was a great place for me. The showcases are always packed with scouts and being available through HockeyTV really means you’re able to be watched by coaches/scouts anytime,” said Cole. “I think it prepares players well especially with how different teams model their games throughout the divisions, you’ll see plenty of different things being tried which leads to a lot of adaptable players.”
He knows there’s some adaptation coming up that he’ll have to take on, as he prepares for his NCAA hockey career.
“I know college will be faster and the players stronger so a lot of this summer will be building some more strength and speed. Also, I want to improve puck protection and stick skills.”
The USPHL congratulates Jude Cole, his family, the Utica Jr. Comets and Arcadia University for his commitment.