By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
It was with his NCAA Hockey commitment to Framingham State University in hand that Storm Davis went into the USPHL National Championships with the highest confidence in his team, and in his future endeavors.
Davis, an ‘02 from North Reading, Mass., closed his third season in the Cyclones organization with the USPHL Premier National Championship victory, a heck of a way to go out on top. It wasn’t just that victory, but also after other wins en route to the biggest that he was getting calls and messages from the Rams staff.
“My first communication with Coach [Mike] Bailey started in early winter after I was given the opportunity to tour the school with him and some of my teammates. After my visit, we kept in touch throughout the season, often it was just him reaching out to congratulate my team on a good win, just letting me know he was following along with our season,” said Davis, who played in a combined 49 regular season and playoff games this year, posting nine points.
“This eventually led to my verbal commitment to the Framingham State Men’s hockey team in February. Coach [Bailey] has said he likes the way that I play the game with very good gaps and a pass-first mentality, [and I’m] not afraid to step up into the play.”
Having a lot of conversations both working up to, and since, his commitment have painted a great picture of a rising NCAA Division III program in a busy area of the Boston suburbs, roughly 30 miles outside the heart of the city.
“From talking with Coach Bailey, the FSU hockey program is an up and coming program. They have been struggling in recent years but I am very excited to join the team and help in any way that I can and keep pushing to get better and better,” said Davis. “Going into the college search process I knew that I was looking for a smaller school, where I could focus on my academics in a small class size as well as be able to compete in athletics.
“I got the opportunity to visit the campus in early December. Winter break was starting and it wasn’t as busy, but as soon as I stepped on campus and got to look at the facilities, I knew that it could be a good fit for me academically, athletically, and socially.”
Although Davis is preparing to follow a Finance/Accounting major to start, he is excited at all of the educational opportunities that Framingham State offers.
“Academically, FSU offers a wide variety of majors and routes for different fields of study. I can explore my options and find something that interests me,” said Davis. “I applied for the FInance/Accounting major with the goal of one day working in a bank, but going to FSU gives me a bunch of different options if i want to change my major and pursue something totally different.”
He certainly never wanted anything different than pulling on a Northern Cyclones jersey, certainly not since first joining the USPHL Elite team in 2020-21.
“The USPHL has a great outline on developing players in order to get a college commitment. I started on the Elite team and developed my game by playing with and against some of the best competition in the country. The league creates an extremely competitive atmosphere where you really get a chance to make yourself the best you can be,” said Davis, who put up 37 points in a combined 78 regular season and playoff games. Playing in the 2023 Premier National Championship game saw Davis compete in his second straight National final, after also playing in Elite Championship game in 2022, won by the Richmond Generals. “My second year, I could have gone and played on a Premier team somewhere else but taking another year on Elite to develop more and being a Captain was what was best for me.
“Coach Weiand gave me the opportunity to practice with the Premier team almost the whole year and gave me the opportunity to play a few games as well,” he added. “This was super important to my development because it gave me a feel of where I need to be in order to play at the next level.”
Davis found his groove with the Premier this year on an absolutely stacked blue line, including a total of four NCAA Division III recruits, including Davis.
“Coming into the season, I knew we had a great group of experienced defenseman and I knew I was going to have to play my best to solidify my role in the group. As a team, we use our defensemen a lot and Coach Weiand let us be creative and make plays instead of just chipping and chasing,” said Davis. “I think the most important part of development is being able to make mistakes and learn from them, that’s why practice is so important. With the Cyclones we would play a lot of 5v5 and create as many in-game scenarios as possible, so we could get a chance to try different things and see what works and what doesn’t. This aspect was the most important part of my development as a player.”
That approach paid dividends, including forthcoming championship rings and possession of the USPHL Premier championship trophy for the next year.
“Every year, we’ve made it to the National tournament. Unfortunately, we fell short my first two years. The first year going down to Hampton Roads and losing in the semifinals to the Rush was very tough because we had to start the season [at Hub City Tampa] in Florida and play all of our games on the road. That experience made me better as a person and I got a sense of what needed to be done in order to win.
“The next year we got to host the National tournament and there was no way we weren’t going to be there to compete for a Championship. We made it to the National Championship game and felt like a team of destiny sweeping through the pool play after being written off. We ended up losing to the Richmond Generals in the Championship and that was an absolute heartbreaker.”
He and his teammates, both the returning Premier veterans and players such as Davis moving up from the Elite team, resolved that this had to be the year when the Cyclones broke through and proved to everyone which organization really was No. 1.
“That off-season, I was determined and only had one goal in mind: making it back to the Championship and winning it all. Throughout this season I knew we had a special group and a great bunch of leaders on the team who were extremely determined of winning and it showed. We made it to March locking up the first seed in the North and again we were the team of destiny,” said Davis. “Being written off again coming in at 16 in the monthly [The Dan K Show] Power Rankings, we all wanted to prove that wasn’t true. It was a truly special feeling, after all of the work and grind that it took to get there, we all knew it was our time to come out on top. Lifting the trophy after the amount of heartbreak and the amount of work it took to get there, it was a once in a lifetime feeling that I will never forget.”
For Davis, he and his teammates and the Cyclones coaching staff just proved what they knew all along – that they have found the right mix of development towards NCAA commitments [counting eight to date] and towards success in the standings and postseason.
“The Northern Cyclones organization has been absolutely amazing. My entire experience here has really taught me so many life lessons that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Besides the great coaching on the ice here, the most important lesson Coach Weiand has stressed is to always be a good person. He always made sure everyone felt like they could come and talk to him and made it clear that if we ever need help with something we could come to him on or off the ice,” Davis added. “The Cyclones have all the facilities a successful hockey team needs with our own rink and their own gym. We practiced every day and were in the weight room at least twice a week with our own Athletic Trainer Paul. The balance of on-ice to weight room training and recovery is really what made us such a successful team. I’ve been here for three years and have improved my game with the help of three amazing coaches (Joe Flanagan, Tim Plummer and Bill Weiand).”
The Cyclones also have the perfect vehicle, in the multi-tiered United States Premier Hockey League, to show just what they can do in a league featuring teams from literally all corners of the country – Maine to Florida, Seattle to San Diego.
“The USPHL Premier provided so many different opportunities by creating an environment where the best teams could play one another by having various showcases where college scouts could come and watch the best,” said Davis. “By expanding the league to various parts of the country, it has brought so many more players into the league and allowed them to get looked at from college scouts. I believe having a wide variety of talent in a league is a good thing because it gives college scouts a big pool to pick from to build their teams with the kind of players they want.”
And now Davis, with his long USPHL tenure in the past, will continue to work to be the player Framingham State wanted from the start – and then some.
“This off-season I am going to be in the gym a lot to get bigger and stronger to be able to compete at FSU. I’m going to be up at Cyclones Arena working with our skills coach Fred Hein and getting better hands and working on skating to prepare for the upcoming season at FSU,” he added.
The USPHL congratulates Storm Davis, his family, the Northern Cyclones and Framingham State University for his commitment.