Monday, September 23, 2013

UNH Recruit Profile: John Furgele

Defenseman John Furgele
Commits to UNH for 2014 

The top scoring defenseman in the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season has committed to play for UNH in the Fall of 2014. John Furgele (pronounced Fur (like animal fur)- gel (hard "g")- e (hard "e"), a 5'9", 181 lbs., right-shot blueliner, posted 14 goals and 38 assists in 44 regular season games for the Jersey Hitmen. In the 2013 EJHL Playoffs, Furgele added 6 assists as the Hitmen won the Dineen Cup. In midseason, Furgele was named an EJHL All-Star. The last UNH player to attain these milestones in the EJHL - top scoring defenseman, All-Star, and league champion - was Trevor van Riemsdyk in the 2010-11 season with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs.

This season, the 20-year-old Furgele (DOB: 1-15-1993) is playing for the the Hitmen in the Premiere Division of the newly-formed United States Premiere Hockey League. The 9-team league is designed to be a Northeast alternative to the mid-Western based United States Hockey League. The USPHL Premiere Division is for 18, 19, and 20-year-old players. The Hitmen have won the first three games of the 2013-14 USPHL season and Furgele has already scored a goal and an assist. He scored the game-winning goal in yesterday's 5-1 victory over the Islanders Hockey Club.

John Furgele is from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Before joining the Jersey Hitmen last season, Furgele played two seasons for the Bismarck Bobcats in the North American Hockey League. This video shows some highlights from Furgele's play in the NAHL:

I had an opportunity to interview John, via email, about his background, commitment to UNH, and future plans:   

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"):  Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire.  What are the main reasons you chose UNH?
John Furgele: Thank you. For me, it was about finding the right fit. That has been my main goal since day one. The University of New Hampshire definitely seems to be that. Obviously, UNH is a great school so that was a plus for me as well as my family.
Hockey-wise, UNH has been my number one choice since seeing them play last October. They play in Hockey East, which is one of the best conferences, if not the best, in college hockey. The style they play fits the way I play and the coaching staff is unbelievable. And lastly, a big reason was the former Hitmen who have had success at UNH. All these factors played a huge role in my decision.

Mike Lowry:  What other college programs were you considering?
John Furgele:  I was considering Army, University of Vermont, University of Maine, Brown, and Alaska Anchorage.

Lowry:  Following a 2-year stint with the Bismarck Bobcats in the North American Hockey League, you chose to spend last season with the Jersey Hitmen in the EJHL. How would you compare your NAHL and EJHL experiences?
Furgele:  There are definitely some big differences between the two leagues. In the NAHL with Bismarck, you get over 1,000 fans a game and you are kind of like a local celebrity within the community. It is definitely pretty cool.
With the EJHL, you don’t have the fans or that type of hype but what you do have is more exposure. You might only have 30-40 people in the stands but 10 of them would be scouts and I think that is awesome. Hockey-wise, the NAHL is probably a bit rougher with more hitting and fighting being allowed, but I’d say the EJHL is a bit more skilled.

Lowry:   Last season was a break out year for you as the Hitmen won the EJHL Championship and you were the leading scorer among all EJHL defensemen. What lead to your major jump in scoring?
Furgele:  The biggest thing for me was that the Hitmen were the right fit. Coach Harris, Coach Hunt, and Coach Lotito made me feel very welcomed and expected big things from me right away. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for me, especially in terms of development last season.
They helped me unleash that next level of play that I knew was there. The style of play was perfect for me. I was encouraged to play my game and I gained a lot of confidence because of that. But obviously I had great teammates who helped me accomplish that feat, especially my defensive partner Trevor Owens.

Lowry:   At this stage in your development, what are the strongest aspects of your hockey skills and what areas are you working to improve?
Furgele:  I believe my strongest aspects of my game are my hockey sense, vision, and skill. I like to think I can make things happen out of nothing at times and like to believe that I have a solid set of skill to create offense from the back end.
Areas that I am working to improve are definitely being more physical and harder to play against, especially in the defensive zone. Also, I am always working on my shot and things like that because you can always improve those skills.

Lowry:   What are your academic strengths? Is there a major course of study you would like to pursue when you get to UNH?
Furgele:  Academically, I think I have always been a well-rounded student. I am pretty positive I will study Business at UNH. My goal, besides playing professional hockey, is to open up a training center in the future for athletes, so I definitely need to have that business side covered.


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