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Commitment Profile: Hitmen’s Rice Commits To New England College

By Joshua Boyd / 


Liam Rice kept up the pursuit of his mission for an NCAA college commitment over a strong three-year career in the USPHL Premier Conference. Mission accomplished. A few days prior to the Independence Day 2024 holiday, Rice announced his commitment to New England College, of Henniker, N.H. 

“I made my choice of New England College on the hockey culture instilled at the school and the opportunities that the school offers. I thrive in an atmosphere where there’s a tight hockey culture where everyone buys in, and talking with Coach [Tom] Carroll, I was very confident about wanting to be all-in on the program,” said Rice, an Evergreen Park, Ill., native. “NEC has my focus of major in exercise science. I plan to go into physical therapy, and their academic program in exercise science has everything I need to succeed in that field if I choose to go into DPT [Doctor of Physical Therapy] school.” 

Rice first joined the USPHL at the 18U level, before making his USPHL Premier debut in 2021-22. Since then, he has played in 44 career regular season and playoff games, with the most recent 15 of those coming in the Carolina Blue of the Jersey Hitmen. 

“Playing with the Hitmen was everything I could ask for. It was nothing but a class A organization, starting with the billet family they put me with, to the professional staff on and off the ice,” said Rice. “The Hitmen gave me all the tools I needed to succeed in order to make the jump to college hockey, whether it was the training staff, strength coaches, goalie coaches or anyone I’ve stepped on the ice with at the Ice Vault.”

He had started the season with a different team, and he is thrilled that he was able to join up with Coaches Jim Raymond and Chris Barling of the Hitmen. 

“I was sent over, looking for a change of scenery in my hockey career. Coach Raymond and Coach Barling took a chance on me and I made sure to put my best foot forward with them, whether it was representing the program off the ice or with my play on the ice,” added Rice. 

It’s time to begin representing a new program. The NEC Pilgrims will be welcoming Rice aboard and he is planning to bring everything he’s built up to this point – and then some. 

“Heading into college I want to try and focus on the mental side of the game way more, whether that’s mental preparation or reading a play ahead,” said Rice. “I think that’s a piece of my game that can really translate over from the USPHL into the NCAA.”

The USPHL congratulates Liam Rice, his family, the Jersey Hitmen and New England College for his commitment.

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