18-year-old NAHL rookie leads team in scoring, commits to RIT
David Deputy is in his first season in the NAHL and currently leads the Philadelphia Rebels with 23 points. His talent started to turn heads and he recently committed to play Division I for RIT.
SEWELL, N.J. — David Deputy, an 18-year-old forward with the Philadelphia Rebels, leads his team in points in his first season in the North American Hockey League.
Deputy grew up playing AAA for the Chicago Reapers and for Team Illinois. He earned a tendered with the Rebels last year and made an almost immediate impact on the junior hockey team this season in 2022-23.
The 5-foot-9 forward didn't come from an environment of hockey players, in fact, he's the first one in his family to play the sport. His parents did watch a lot of the game growing up though, particularly of the Red Wings, since Deputy was born in Detroit before moving to Indianapolis and then to Gurnee, Ill.
The skater has shown an ability to adapt to the junior hockey level quite quickly, which he attributes to the work he put in this past offseason. He even tallied a point in his very first game with the Rebels back in September at the NAHL Showcase.
After the showcase, Deputy started to gain interest from teams at the Division I level. One of the teams that started to recruit him heavily was the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
In early December, Deputy made a visit out to the school's campus and was officially offered a spot on the team. He accepted the offer and announced his commitment right before the holidays on Dec. 22, 2022.
"The way that they play is the way that I think fits my game," said the forward on his decision to play for the Tigers.
"The campus is a big school which is what I wanted. The rink is absolutely unbelievable and the facilities are great. It was a good mix of everything."
RIT has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 14,000 students and is a private research university. The Tigers compete in the Atlantic Hockey conference alongside schools like AIC, Sacred Heart and Mercyhurst.
RIT currently sits at the top of the Atlantic Hockey standings. Part of why Deputy wanted to commit to the program was because of the Tiger's history of being a top team in the conference.
The forward from Illinois currently leads the Rebels in total points (23) and goals scored (11) through 30 games played.
Deputy's speed and playmaking abilities are what makes him stand out on the ice. He says that he also tries to make everyone around him better.
The Rebels are currently towards the bottom of the standings in the NAHL East Division, but the 5-foot-9 forward says that the team is on the way up.
"We started off kind of slow as a team but we've been picking it up lately and I think the second half of the year will be really good for us," he said.
Since Deputy is only 18, it will be a few years until he is able to hit the ice for RIT. Until then, he will continue to play with Philadelphia in the NAHL.