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Forward from New York with family in Stillwater commits to SCSU

Jack Rogers, an 19-year-old from East Northport, N.Y., is playing this season for the Steinbach Pistons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Jack Rogers.jpg
Jack Rogers (21) carries the puck for the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Rogers, a 19-year-old forward from East Northport, N.Y., recently verbally committed to play for St. Cloud State. (Courtesy of Steinbach Pistons)

When Jack Rogers was growing up on Long Island in New York, there were no NCAA Division I men's hockey teams in that part of the state.

Of course, there were the New York Rangers and New York Islanders of the NHL, but no college teams that offered scholarships. He began playing hockey at age 5 and, eventually, his mom, Carolyn Rice, let him know about some of the college hockey where she grew up.

"My mom is from Stillwater, Minnesota, so she was a big reason why I got into hockey," he said. "A lot of her family played and she brought it on to me. As soon as I started playing, I loved it ever since.

"My mom being from Minnesota, she always informed about how big college hockey was there. She told me about all the Minnesota schools — St. Cloud, the Gophers, Mankato, Duluth, (Bemidji). I heard about all of them and it's pretty awesome to be going to St. Cloud."

Rogers, an 19-year-old from East Northport, N.Y., recently made a verbal commitment to play for St. Cloud State. He announced his decision on Twitter on Nov. 9.


Rogers said that he made official visits to St. Cloud State and Bemidji State and was also being recruited by Northern Michigan and Mercyhurst. Rogers is playing forward for the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and made his visits to St. Cloud State and Bemidji State recently.

"I visited Bemidji State the same trip I went down to visit St. Cloud 2 1/2 weeks ago," Rogers said. "I was able to meet the rest of the staff, tour the campus and facilities. It was nice to be able to get a feel for the area and the campus and it went from there and we continued to talk. This past weekend, (assistant) coach (Dave) Shyiak came up to watch our games and we were able to get the deal across the line."

Rogers said that he and current St. Cloud State forward Ryan Rosborough have the same family advisor. But the recruiting visit was what motivated him to pick the Huskies.

"Having the ability to meet the entire coaching staff and meet some of the players — I just felt a great vibe during that whole time down there and it made the decision pretty easy for me," Rogers said.

Strong start

Rogers is already more than 1,600 miles away from home this season playing junior hockey for Steinbach, which is about 40 miles south and east of Winnipeg.
"I'd say it is different, but not too difficult," he said of the transition of playing so far away from home. "It's a great team and everyone is so close. We came together the fastest out of any team that I've been a part of. This group is special and has made it easier for me."

Rogers is off to a good start with the Pistons. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward, he has five goals, 12 points and 12 penalty minutes in 16 games.

"I'm just a solid, two-way centerman and I can play wing and I'm pretty versatile," he said. "I can play anywhere in the top 12 in the lineup.


"I definitely try to add some physicality to my game. Some sandpaper can never hurt."
Paul Dyck has been Steinbach's coach since 2012 and is a former pro hockey player. He has liked what he has seen out of Rogers.

"He plays with so much pace and energy, his feet are always moving and he's always hunting pucks," Dyck said. "He's a very, very good player. He's one of those guys who, shift in and shift out, people are going to notice him. It won't take very long in a game before people say, 'Who's that kid? Who's No. 21?' I've heard those comments from visiting coaches that he's a guy who jumps off the page at you.

"He's got very good edges and operates very well in traffic for a bigger guy," Dyck said. "He's a good-sized kid, but he still has room to grow and get bigger and stronger. He's shifty. He moves extremely well and and moves well in open ice and navigates well through traffic in the offensive zone and loves to attack the net."

Rogers has been playing wing and center, but Dyck said that he thinks Rogers' future is going to be at center. He added that he has fit in well on a roster that is dominated by Canadians. In the MJHL, teams are allowed six foreign born players per team.

"He's very well-liked and fit into our culture immediately," Dyck said. "He comes to the rink with a smile on his face. He enjoys his teammates. He enjoys practicing. He loves the game. As a coach, you love to see that.

"He's committed to his development and getting bigger and stronger. He's an easy kid to have around. He lives at my brother's place," Dyck said of his billet family. "So I get a first-hand picture of what he's like off the ice."

Rogers said the plan is for him to join St. Cloud State in the fall of 2023 and he is excited that he will have some family members not too far away.

"My grandparents, aunts and uncles still live in Stillwater and they're definitely really excited," he said. "It's a great bonus."


Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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