BURLINGTON, VT -- The Vermont Lumberjacks are pleased to announce that a trio of players from their 2020-21 Eastern Hockey League (EHL) team have continued on their climb up the USA Hockey Ladder of Development.
Egan Schmitt, Corey Popowcer, and Lucas Doran all played key roles in helping the Lumberjacks reach the 2021 EHL Frozen Finals, and now each player has secured their spot for this upcoming season (2021-22) in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
"I am very proud of what the Lumberjacks organization has been able to accomplish over the last few years," said EHL head coach and general manager Jim Mosso. "I think it goes to show that our players are given the right tools to develop and open doors to their futures. We have been getting better and better each year. "
Schmitt was the longest-tenured Lumberjack of the three, dating back to the 2017-18 season in which he spent developing in the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP). The '01 native of Albany, NY posted 23 points in 25 total games that year, and then returned to the CP Dynamo and 18U AAA hockey for the 2018-19 season.
Schmitt would spend just that year with the Dynamo, and moved back to Vermont for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns. In two seasons with the Lumberjacks at the EHL level, Schmitt cemented himself as one of the best all-around players in the league. Overall, in 89 career games in the EHL, Schmitt tallied 44 goals and 58 assists.
Popowcer and Doran were each single year guys for the Lumberjacks, leading the team's defensive core throughout the season.
Popowcer, the '01 native of Parkland, FL, played 31 total games for the Lumberjacks this past year, notching 14 points along the way.
As for Doran, the '01 native of Dearborn, MI, only played 11 total games for the Lumberjacks last year, but made his presence felt while running the team's power-play. Overall, Doran finished with seven assists to his credit.
This fall, Schmitt will join one of the top teams in the NAHL's East Division in the Johnstown Tomahawks, and will get the chance to line up against Popowcer and the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks. Doran will lace things up for the Springfield Jr. Blues in the NAHL's Central Division.
No EHL team will account for a higher number of players in the NAHL this fall, and Mosso believes a big reason as the why is the improved level in the league.
"I think it speaks volumes as to how good the EHL has become," added Mosso. "The competition is at an all time high, which pushes our players to be at their best. I think it goes without saying that these guys still have their work cutout for them to stick on those rosters. But I think it shows how coaches at the higher levels are starting to look more and more into the EHL to find prospective players."
Goodluck to our trio of former Lumberjacks as they advance onto Tier II junior hockey!