Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UNH Recruit Liam Blackburn Signs NLI

Liam Blackburn Signs
National Letter of Intent

It's official - elite scorer Liam Blackburn will be a UNH Wildcat. The 18-year-old Blackburn (DOB: 6-8-1996), a 5'10", 167 lbs. center from Prince George, British Columbia (the same hometown as current UNH junior Dan Correale), has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the University of New Hampshire.

The NLI is a written agreement in which the player agrees to attend the school for at least his freshman year and the school agrees to provide an athletic scholarship for at least the freshman year. NCAA recruits are permitted to sign an NLI during two signing periods. This year's early signing period began last Wednesday, November 12th and extended until today. The other signing period is anytime after April 15, 2015.

Last year, three of the ten UNH recruits - Dylan Chanter, Shane Eiserman, and Cameron Marks - signed during the November signing week. Liam Blackburn is the first UNH recruit to sign an NLI during the current period. He will enroll at UNH either in the Fall of 2015 or 2016. That decision will probably be made after the current season.

Warriors' Forward Liam Blackburn Signs with UNH
(Photo Credit:  Greystoke Photography)
Liam Blackburn verbally committed to UNH on October 7th. The day after, Kyle Anderson, the Director of Media and Play-by-Play Voice of the West Kelowna Warriors interviewed Blackburn about the commitment. Liam said that he "talked with New Hampshire before, through the summer quite a bit". At the BCHL Showcase in mid-September, UNH Associate Head Coach Glenn Stewart "watched me both games and we talked after each game and I had good interest in them right away." Coach Stewart had been hired by UNH in late August.

Right after the BCHL Showcase, Blackburn flew to New Hampshire and toured the UNH campus. When I interviewed Liam after he committed, he explained how this visit factored into his decision:
"Some of the main reasons I chose UNH included the campus, which I thought was gorgeous. I also like that the team plays in Hockey East, the travel is simple and allows less absences from class. I also feel the style of play will fit me best and the olympic ice size will benefit me. I had considered a few other schools such as Nebraska Omaha, Merrimack, and Penn State. I visited a couple schools but after my visit to UNH there were no schools in competition."
In his interview with Kyle Anderson, Blackburn laid out his thoughts about coming to UNH next season or the year after:
"I'm just trying to make myself the best player possible and whether that's making myself ready for college next year or the year after, I mean, that's a choice I'm probably going to make later in the year. Either way, I don't think there's a wrong choice. An extra year of juniors would be nice to develop physically but mentally, I think I'm prepared to go."
Blackburn plays for the West Kelowna Warriors and has been a leading scorer in the BCHL since the season began. He is currently the second-leading scorer in the league with 10 goals and 28 assists. He has 6 more assists than his closest pursuer. Here are some of Blackburn's scoring plays including his goals at the BCHL Showcase:


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