By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
It’s a bit more than a Hopp skip and jump between Edmonton, Alberta, and Salem, Massachusetts for forward Ethyn Hopp. It’s still, however, shorter than the “commute” he’s been making the past few seasons between Edmonton and the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.
Travel certainly doesn’t bother him, so he’ll be in good shape to hit the road anywhere Salem State University’s NCAA hockey team transportation can take him. Hopp just recently made his college commitment to the Vikings official.
“I started talking to Salem State shorty after the season ended and from there it was just an easy decision to commit to them. Coach Jimmy Currier wanted a forward who could make an impact and, as a player, I felt like i could slot in and make an impact in my first year,” said Hopp, who was named a USPHL Premier Southeast Division All-Star after a season of 27 goals and 36 assists for 63 points in 43 games.
“A big factor of committing to Salem State was the facility and campus and the area I’m going to be in,” Hopp added. “Being from Canada, you always hear about how big of a market Boston and the areas around it are with hockey, so I thought it would be the best option to pursue a career in hockey while getting a great education along with it at Salem State.”
Carolina Head Coach Kevin St. Jacques went back to his own Edmonton roots in finding Hopp in Alberta’s oil industry capital. Hopp first joined in 2020-21 when the USPHL Premier featured a full season with specific health protocols at a COVID-dominated time when many leagues were canceling all or most of their seasons. Hopp posted 29 points in 36 games that year, which featured a trip to the USPHL Nationals. Hopp and his teammates reached the National Semifinal round.
The next year, Hopp improved to 43 points before seeing his massive production of 2022-23.
“I owe all my credit to the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes for taking a chance on me when I was 17 and allowing me to take my game to the next level and ultimately ending my junior career with a college commitment,” said Hopp. “Coach Kevin St. Jacques and Coach Brad Gaylord allowed me to go out and play my game, trusting me and believing in me and they helped develop my skills, working with me on the ice with skills and off the ice watching game film and developing me as a player and a person. I give all my thanks to the coaches and the rest of the management for taking a chance on me when I was 17.”
He was also very thankful to the coaches and teammates for being able to rise to the position of a USPHL Premier All-Star this past season.
“Obviously at the beginning of the season, it was a goal of mine at the back of my head to go out and prove to people that I deserved to be named an All-Star in the division and to be effective throughout the long course of the year,” he said. “But I wouldn’t be an All-Star without my teammates and coaches for allowing me to go out and play my game and believing in me this season.
“The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes have had a lot of highly talented players come through their organization and develop to keep getting better and that’s all because of the coaching staff from Coach Kevin and Coach Brad to the strength team at The Strength Feed [of Raleigh, N.C.] for giving us nothing but the best to improve and develop as athletes,” he added.
He also was happy to spend three years in a Tier III league with the highest dedication to promotion of its players through a rigorous, competitive schedule including multiple showcases during the season allowing teams to test themselves against unfamiliar competition on a regular basis. And get seen by the right people during these in-season tests.
“The USPHL is a great league for any athlete looking to get into a good college to pursue a path in hockey and in school,” Hopp said. “Through the three years that I’ve played in the league, I’ve seen tons of scouts at showcases and games, and it’s always in the best interest to push players forward on to college.”
He is one of well over 120 Premier players moving on to NCAA hockey this coming year, so he knows it’s on him to put forward his best game and put himself into the best position for ice time at the next level.
“Going into my rookie year of college, the goal of mine is just to take everything in and learn from the older guys and try to make as big of an impact that I can,” he said. “For this summer, I’ve been training lots and putting in work on and off the ice, trying to get bigger, stronger and faster to prepare myself for my first season of college playing against guys older than me and ultimately trying to make a name for myself at the college level.”
The USPHL congratulates Ethyn Hopp, his family, the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and Salem State University for his commitment.