BROOKS, AB (June 7, 2021) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are thrilled to announce 2001-born forward TJ Hughes has committed to attend and play for Mercyhurst University (NCAA Division I, Atlantic Hockey Association) for the 2022-23 season.
Hughes just completed his 2nd season with the Bandits, registering 31 points (15G, 16A) in 20 regular season games during the 2020-21 campaign.
The Hamilton, ON product was awarded the Top Forward Award in the AJHL for his efforts, which saw him finish 1st in overall league scoring. He committed to Robert Morris in December 2020, but the university recently announced it was eliminating the hockey program from their school’s athletics.
“Mercyhurst caught my eye right away,” Hughes said.
“The coaching staff really impressed me with their energy and focus and I immediately felt a great connection. Mercyhurst is a strong academic institution, and has a great campus. I feel I fit right in with the goals of the team to win a future championship and can’t wait to get started.”
“We’re extremely pleased for TJ to have re-configured his college situation so quickly. With Robert Morris University ending their men’s hockey program abruptly some 10 days ago, not only their current, but future players like TJ we’re left without a home,” said Bandits Head Coach and GM, Ryan Papaioannou.
“Undoubtedly a player of TJ’s status had many options presented to him, ultimately choosing Mercyhurst as a place to contribute upon arriving. He will be one of our leaders next season both on and off the ice. Our expectation is that he challenges for the league scoring race while teaching our young players how to navigate junior hockey with a professional mindset.”
Recruited out of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) where he scored 64 points (21G, 43A) in 47 games with the Hamilton Kilty B’s, Hughes is a grad of the Hamilton Huskies minor hockey program. He dressed in 58 games during the 2019-20 season, tallying 36 points (13G, 26A).
Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Mercyhurst Lakers compete in the Atlantic Hockey Association under Head Coach Rick Gotkin. Hughes is the first Bandit to commit to Mercyhurst.
He’s the 16th Bandit on the 2020-21 roster committed to an NCAA Division I school, joining:
Tyler Bates (Colorado College)
Corson Ceulemans (Wisconsin)
Tim Rego (Cornell)
Ethan Lund (Niagara)
Brayden Krieger (Bowling Green)
Jack Seymour (Holy Cross)
Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan)
Chris Pappas (St. Lawrence)
Brendan Kennette (Sacred Heart)
Dominick Campione (Arizona State)
Owen Cole (UMass-Lowell)
Sean Chisholm (Dartmouth)
Devin Phillips (Holy Cross)
Taylor Makar (UMass)
Zach Bookman (Merrimack)
Preparations for the Bandits 2021-22 season are underway, with Main Camp scheduled for late August.