By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth is getting a clear-cut, dyed-in-the-wool goal-scorer in Collin Patterson.
The three-year Florida Eels veteran committed this month to the southeastern Massachusetts state university branch after posting back-to-back USPHL Premier seasons of 32 and 33 goals, the fourth-and second-best single season performances in the Eels’ USPHL Premier history.
A native of Melbourne, Fla., Patterson moved as a youngster to Massachusetts to attend the Hillside School and then St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I. Returning back to the Sunshine State in 2020-21, Patterson signed on with the Eels and crossed from his Atlantic Coast home to his second home of Fort Myers with the Eels. Now, it’s back north again to somewhat familiar territory at UMass-Dartmouth after a 157-point career.
“I started talking to UMass-Dartmouth about a possible commitment about halfway through the 2021-2022 season. Coach [Erick] Noack likes my ability to create plays and score goals,” said Patterson, who followed up his 60-point season in 2021-22 with 70 points this past year, earning Florida Division All-Star honors in two straight years.
“On the hockey side, it is a great program that is well-coached and preaches hard work. It teaches you skills to improve your game both on and off the ice. On the academic side, they have a big business program that I am interested in.”
Patterson went up to Dartmouth in April to make a visit to the campus and made the “easy decision” almost right there on the spot.
“Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I was very impressed by the quality of the training facilities UMass-Dartmouth has and the athletic facilities have a lot to offer. I like the location of the school and it gives off a good atmosphere,” said Patterson. “Being on the campus helped me picture myself there for the next four years. It was an easy decision to make because I can see myself growing as a hockey player and a person there.”
The Corsairs of UMass-Dartmouth have been a strong program ever since their 1974 inception, making the NCAA tournament four times since 2005. Noack has won 75 games and has maintained a winning record overall since taking over the program in 2016-17.
Patterson is used to being part of a winning program, as the Eels have won the Division title in each of his three years and made Nationals trips each of those years. The Eels reached the National Championship game in 2021 and the semifinals in both 2022 and 2023, always a staple of the deep rounds of the Nationals.
With 20 points in 21 career playoff games, Patterson leaves the Eels as their top all-time postseason scorer in their USPHL Premier history (since 2017) and second in all-time Eels history.
“The Florida Eels organization is like no other. Every single day was a grind, and if you’re willing to embrace the grind, good things will come. We trained like pros, and I loved it,” said Patterson. “It’s a great place to play in order to prepare you for the next level. I decided to sign with the Eels three years ago after talking to the GM Frank Scarpaci, and hearing about his player development and advancement. His dedication to each and every player is impeccable.
“The Eels player development is tremendous. The work put in off the ice stems from countless hours of off-ice preparation. Whether that’s weight training, conditioning, film, or team building. The off-ice preparation is what builds the team and brings them together. All three years I played, the team was extremely close and we pushed each other to become better as a whole,” Scarpaci added.
“I was able to see a huge jump in my game when I embraced the off-ice aspect. Working on shooting, stickhandling, being in the gym, and conditioning are some of the things I utilized to sharpen my skills. The coaching staff did a great job of organizing everything, and making it so that guys can work on a lot of different aspects of their game in the same day.”
Once the preparation was done, the Eels got down to the business of winning games because their players were so well-trained, which also of course attracted college scouts. Ten players from the 2022-23 Eels team have already committed to college and more are coming, as the Eels remain one of the leaders in the Premier each season.
More than 340 players have committed to college hockey out of the Eels program since their 2006 inception. Patterson is proud to be among that number and happy to have played his last three seasons in the nation’s largest junior league, allowing him and his Eels teammates to see different competition from across the country at showcases and at Nationals.
“I think the USPHL Premier is a great league. I think the showcases they put together are huge, and it’s great to be able to play against teams outside of your division at these events,” said Patterson. “It’s also highly scouted. I’ve seen a lot of talent across many different organizations. I think the proof is in the numbers when it comes to NCAA commitments.”
Commitment is one thing, but USPHL alumni often do extremely well at the college level because of their preparation at the junior level. That, of course, also has to continue during the “off-season” by the individual players.
“This off-season I’m going to work on getting faster and stronger. Obviously, at the college level there’s gonna be a huge spread of talent. Teams are going to be skilled from top to bottom. I want to get stronger and embrace the higher place of play,” said Patterson. “I’m looking to come in sharp and prepared for the season. I’ll be using a lot of stuff I learned from the Eels organization to get ready.”
The USPHL congratulates Collin Patterson, his family, the Florida Eels and UMass-Dartmouth for his commitment.