Friday, June 22, 2018

Quick Centerman Aidan Curran Commits to UNH

Aidan Curran
2020 UNH Commit
"He (Curran) is quick and relentless in his puck pursuit. Quick reactions and can make people miss in open ice." Neutral Zone
In an interview back in the summer of 2016, UNH coach Mike Souza discussed his recruiting philosophy with me. Toward the end of the interview, I asked him if he would be interested in recruiting international players to come play hockey at the University of New Hampshire. He said:
"I do think there's a lot of really good players in Europe, certain countries in particular. I also think there's a lot of really good players here in North America. I always say there may be a really good player in Helsinki but there might be a better one in Boston so I think that just because the kid's a European doesn't mean it's going to help your program more than the kid from North America. But I do believe that there are a lot of benefits to having international players. It's a market that we've been involved with so we'll see where it goes. I think that when I was at Connecticut and at Brown we were able to bring some European kids to both of those programs. We want to get the best possible players for our program and it doesn't matter necessarily where they come from. I think that if it was the right fit for us, we would welcome a kid from anywhere, but he's got to be the right fit for our program."
In the subsequent two years, three international players have committed to UNH. Kohei Sato (Nishitokyo, Japan) recently completed his freshman year in Durham and he scored a goal and an assist in 29 games. Filip Engarås (Stockholm, Sweden), a 19-year-old, two-way center, will join the incoming freshman class this Fall. Tim Stützle (Viersen, Germany), a 16-year-old, high-scoring left winger, is on track to come to UNH in the Fall of 2020.

Coach Souza and associate head coach Glenn Stewart have also continued to pursue prospects from the northern suburbs of Boston. UNH junior Joe Sacco, from Reading, Massachusetts, played youth hockey in Winchester and for the North Suburban Wings in Middleton. Sophomore Eric MacAdams, from Salem, MA, played his youth hockey with the Valley Junior Warriors based in Haverill, Massachusetts. Incoming UNH freshman Ryan Verrier, who's from Reading, also developed his skills with the Valley Jr. Warriors as did 2019 or '20 commit Connor Sweeney from North Andover. MacAdams and Verrier went on to have outstanding careers at Austin Prep School in Reading. Sweeney has excelled at the Pinigree School in South Hamilton and Lawrence Academy in Groton.

Late last month, UNH landed a commitment from another talented player who honed his skills in the rinks just north of Boston. Aidan Curran (DOB: 1/22/2001), a 5'10", 179 lbs. center from Dracut, Massachusetts, has committed for the Fall of 2020. Curran also played youth hockey with the Valley Jr. Warriors. He played two seasons with Austin Prep. As a freshman at Austin Prep, Curran was a teammate of Ryan Verrier and as a sophomore, he was the team's 7th leading scorer with 9 goals and 7 assists.

Curran's announcement came at the conclusion of the Massachusetts Hockey High Performance Festival. He had just earned an invitation to the 2018 USA Hockey Select 17 Development Camp. He is one of only seven forwards born in 2001 to be selected at the highly competitive Massachusetts Festival. Scouts from Neutral Zone attended the festival and provided this assessment of Curran:
"He is quick and relentless in his puck pursuit. Quick reactions and can make people miss in open ice. Has a good stick and can break defenders down one-on-one in transition. He works hard and competes in all three zones. Sees the ice well and knows where he is going with the puck before it comes to him. 3.75 Stars"
Curran recently finished his season with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs who play out of the Tri Town Ice Arena in Hooksett. He primarily played with the 16U team and was called up to play 6 games with the 18U squad.

The Junior Monarchs' midget teams play a full slate of games in two leagues - the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League and the United States Premiere Hockey League. The T1EHL competition is against many of the top U16 and U18 teams in the country. In 27 T1EHL U16 games, Curran lead the Junior Monarchs with 9 goals and 30 assists. His 1.44 points per game scoring average was 3rd in the league behind Ty Smilanic (Denver commit) and Joshua Groll (Michigan commit). His 1.11 assists per game was the best in the U16 Division of T1EHL. Here's a highlight video of Aidan Curran's scoring:

In 22 USPHL 16U regular season games, Aidan Curran tallied 11 goals, including 3 game-winners, and added 30 assist. He averaged 1.86 points per game which was 7th best in the league. His 1.36 assists per game was 2nd best. Curran made the USPHL 16U All Star Team. The Jr. Monarchs 16U team did not make the USPHL Playoffs. Curran scored a goal and an assist in 5 Jr. Monarchs 18U games.


I had an opportunity to interview Aidan Curran, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

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?

Aidan Curran: I think that UNH would be a great fit for me on and off the ice. The olympic ice sheet will be an advantage for me and allow me to play to my strengths as a strong skater and playmaker. As an academically strong student, I wanted to go to a place where education is a priority. UNH will allow me to obtain my goals as a student and will give me tools I can use throughout my life.
Another reason I chose UNH is due to the coaching staff. Mike Souza and Glenn Stewart are great coaches who want their program to succeed. I like how they believe in all their players and want them to achieve their fullest potential. As an aspiring pro hockey player, I feel like the coaches will direct me towards accomplishing that goal. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to play for such an incredible hockey team and an unbelievable coaching staff.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Aidan Curran: Although I had some interest from other college programs, I wanted to go to a place that would best suit me as an individual. When I visited UNH, I could definitely see myself as a student there and being totally comfortable in that environment. After meeting with Coach Souza and Coach Stewart, I honestly knew that UNH was the school for me.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?

Curran: The UNH coaches and I have agreed on the year of 2020.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Curran: As of right now, the biggest strengths of my game are my skating and playmaking ability. I like to use my acceleration and agility to my advantage and pick up speed in the neutral zone, which allows me to be sound on the rush. I try to bring energy and compete hard each shift, in all three zones. I have good vision and a pass-first mentality. Because of my pass-first mentality, I sometimes can be hesitant to shoot the puck. This is an area I need to improve on and will be working on that over the summer.

Lowry: Last season with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs 16U team, you primarily played center. How would you describe your skills in the core areas of a centerman (e.g., faceoffs, passing, forechecking, and assisting your defensemen below the faceoff circles)?

Curran: When I came to the Monarchs, I was primarily an offensive player. To be a center at the next level, it is important to do the little things that are not always awarded on the score sheet. Throughout the year, I worked on winning faceoffs, defensive zone coverage, and to not be afraid to be the first man on the puck down low on the forecheck. As the year progressed, I became more of dynamic player who plays in all three zones.

Lowry: The 2017-18 season was a breakout season for you. In Tier 1 Elite Hockey League games with the Jr. Monarchs U16 team, you scored 9 goals and 20 assists in 27 games, which ranked as the third highest scoring production (1.44 points per game) in the league. In USPHL 16U competition, you tallied 11 goals and 30 assists in 22 games. That was the 7th highest production (1.86 points per game) in that league. Also, you were named a USPHL 16U All-Star. Last week, you competed in the Massachusetts Hockey District Festival and earned a slot at the 2018 USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp. What factors lead to the big step forward in your development?

Curran: For the past year and a half, I have been working with Clint Edinger at Edingers Edge. I owe a lot of my success over the past year to him. He has taught me what it takes to become a player at the next level. Clint has worked with me individually and has given me the tools I need to succeed. He is the type of person who will do whatever they can to help the players who want to improve their game. Overall, the Monarchs organization as a whole have been so great to me and definitely played a major role in my development. I would recommend this organization to anybody who is 100% serious about becoming a better hockey player.

Lowry: Do you plan to play in either the United States Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League, or North American Hockey League before you come to UNH?

Curran: I have thought about playing in the USHL, the BCHL, and the NAHL, but my primary focus for right now is to get ready for next season with the Monarchs.

Lowry: So far, you have not been drafted by a USHL or NAHL team. Do you plan to attend one or more USHL and/or NAHL tryout camps this summer?

Curran: I was recently drafted by the Northeast Generals out of the NAHL and I plan on attending their camp this summer. I am unsure whether I am attending any other camps as of right now.

Lowry: This season, you were called up to play 6 games with the Jr. Monarchs U18 team. Is your current plan to play for their U18 or National Collegiate Development Conference team next season?

Curran: My current play for next year is to play for the Monarchs’ National Collegiate Development Conference.

Lowry: When do you plan to graduate from high school? What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?

Curran: I plan on graduating from high school next year. For the past three years, I have been challenging myself with honors courses. Every subject matters and my grades are extremely important to me, but I believe my academic strength is English/Literature. Right now, I am undecided on a major.


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