Grade 11 student, Mark Hillier, committed to Massachusetts Merrimack College on an NCAA D1 hockey scholarship. It’s a load off the forwards’ shoulders knowing he’s not only following his dreams of playing post-secondary hockey, but he will be getting an excellent education.
The small campus, akin to SAC’s, the breadth of educational opportunities, and the hockey staff led Mark to make this big decision early. “When I did a tour, the hockey staff could not have treated me any better,” said the 16-year-old from Newfoundland. “I know that I will be in good hands at Merrimack with those people around.”
“Mark had an exceptional grade 10 season for us and drew a lot of attention for his potential,” said Varsity Hockey Head Coach David Manning. “He possesses above-average vision, and ability to read the game quickly and accurately. He can make plays that few players can.”
Mark has seen recent hockey success including earning Premiers Elite Athlete, Most Valuable Player, and Top Scorer awards for the Newfoundland and Labrador AAA Hockey League after posting 30 goals and 29 assists in just 28 games. He was also drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to the Moncton Wildcats. With his runners replacing his skates, Mark represented Team Canada this summer at the 2018 International Street and Ball Hockey Federation U16 World Junior Cup in the Czech Republic, where the team captured gold.
As one of SAC’s youngest varsity players last season, Mark finished with 23 goals and 22 assists. “We expect Mark to have a breakout year,” said Coach Manning.
“I am surrounded by great teammates and coaches who push me to become better every day,” Mark said of the SAC Hockey program, “and we face off against great teams.”
Mark hopes his experience at SAC will give him the skills to make an impact right out the gate and help the Merrimack Warriors contend for a national championship.
“We are really proud of what Mark has accomplished,” said Coach Manning, “and we are very excited for what his future holds.”
You can catch Mark and the rest of the St. Andrew’s Varsity Hockey team at the La Brier Family Arena when their season kicks off November 14.
Story by Nicolette Fleming