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#NCDCAwards: South Shore Kings’ Kotaro Murase Named New England Division 2023-24 MVP And Forward Of The Year

By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com 


The National Collegiate Development Conference is proud to announce that the South Shore Kings’ Kotaro Murase has been named the New England Division 2023-24 Most Valuable Player and Forward Of The Year. 

Murase, a 2003-born native of Japan, was the only player to receive multiple votes for MVP, after finishing with 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points, good for ninth overall in the division. He was the leading scorer for the Dineen Cup Finals-bound Kings and second-leading scorer in the division. During the team’s run to the Finals, Murase is currently ranked in a tie for second in playoff scoring for the Kings with nine points in nine games. 

He becomes just the second non-American player to win Player of the Year honors, after the Hitmen’s Patriks Marcinkevics won the overall NCDC MVP award in 2021-22.

“I’m very happy and grateful to be recognized as the MVP of our division. I want to thank my parents for making this possible and the Kings organization for the support the past two seasons,” said Murase, a two-time member of Japan’s National Junior Team in addition to his time with the Kings. “This season, after last year, I had more confidence to make plays with the puck and set up chances for my teammates. I also worked hard to make my shot better.”

“Kotaro is very deserving of both these awards. He has been a big part of our team these past two seasons. His consistency is what separates him. He has produced some big-time goals for us, most recently the game-winning, series-clinching, overtime goal against Utica in Round 1,” said Kings GM/Head Coach Tyler Holske. “Most importantly, Kotaro is a phenomenal person. I have enjoyed coaching him these past two seasons. I look forward to watching him succeed at the next level.”

Murase joined the Kings in 2022-23 and is one of seven players who will play in this year’s Dineen Cup Finals who also played last year for South Shore in the Finals. He had won his first medal for Team Japan in the World Junior Championships Division 1 Group B tournament in 2022, a Bronze, and then returned to the WJC D1 Group B tournament in 2022-23 and won the Gold Medal. He was also named his team’s Top Player after scoring 10 points in five games, which helped lift this year’ 2023-24 team to Division 1 Group A. 

Back with the 2022-23 Kings, Murase completed a 32-point season in 44 games, and added six points in eight playoff games. Unfortunately for Murase and the Kings, the Cup went to the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, but he came right back to work again with Head Coach Tyler Holske and the Kings, as they went on the charge for another shot at No. 1. 

This year, Murase not only scored 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points, but he led Kings forwards in several individual metrics, such as zone entries (298), breakouts (217), goals scored when he was on ice (87) and accurate passes (1,195). His +29 rating was second among Kings forwards and his 177:03 of total power play time was second among Kings forwards. 

All-time, he is second in Kings scoring with 87 points, second only to fellow countryman Chikara Hanzawa (2020-22), who put up 93 points in two seasons and is now playing with Sacred Heart University. 

In the playoffs, Murase has been electric with two goals and seven assists. He scored his goals in each of the two series against Utica, including the aforementioned overtime game-and series-winner. Among his timely assists were the one he passed to Justin Ryan at 19:34 of Game 2 that sent the game eventually to double-OT, where it was won by Karim Gayfullin. He also assisted on Ryan’s regulation GWG in Game 3 against the Islanders, which was again a series-winner in a sweep of the New England Championship series. 

In Game 2 against the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, his assist on an Aiden Lindley goal tied the game at 2-2 after the Jr. Islanders had started out 2-0 in a game eventually won by the Kings in OT off a Nathan Stachowiak goal. He always found the way to make the big play, and the Kings hope he carries that into the Finals. 

“I’m very excited to be playing for the championship. Last season, we came really close and hope to be able to win it this year,” added Murase. “I would love to end my junior career and time with the Kings celebrating a championship.”

The NCDC joins the South Shore Kings in congratulating Kotaro Murase for being named the 2023-24 New England Division MVP and Forward Of the Year. 


About The NCDC

The National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) was founded in 2017 as the Tuition-Free Tier II conference of the United States Premier Hockey League, itself founded in 2012. The NCDC consists of 18 teams in three divisions, two on the Eastern Seaboard and one in the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Utah and Idaho.

The NCDC has sent more than 250 alumni to play NCAA Division I hockey, and more than 900 overall into NCAA college hockey. There were also more than 250 alumni in pro hockey around the world during the 2023-24 season. Former NCDC player Drew O’Connor has become a regular with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, Collin Graf recently signed and has played with the San Jose Sharks, and there have been seven players selected in the NHL Entry Draft from the NCDC.


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