SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – As a first-year North Iowa Bull, defenseman Joey Potter has worked quite a bit of magic already in Mason City – he’s only found the back of the net twice, but he’s become as adept as anyone on the team at finding his teammates and setting them up for success.
Potter has decided to take those skills to upstate New York in the coming years, announcing his commitment to play for the Dutchmen following his junior career. Union College is an NCAA Division I program, and one of 12 members of ECAC Hockey. Also on that list are some of the most notable names in college hockey, including all six Ivy League institutions with Division I hockey programs.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native has become one of North Iowa’s steadiest players on the blue line, posting 19 assists along with those two goals in his first season as a Bull. He’s heated up a few times along the way, with his first NAHL goal on October 9 against Minot starting off a run of nine points in as many games. He caught fire again to open up 2022, with points in seven of the first nine games of the calendar year.
“We are very excited for Joey and his family,” said North Iowa head coach and general manager Todd Sanden. “He’s a very dynamic skater, and that will benefit him at Union. His game continues to evolve and get better, and he’s relied upon to contribute heavy minutes for our team. We wish Joey continued success at Union and beyond.”
In fact, he’s logged about as many minutes as any skater in a North Iowa uniform this year – he’s one of only three players to appear in all of the team’s 46 games to date. The other two – Michael Mesic and Sean Vlasich – also announced NCAA Division I commitments earlier this season to Northern Michigan and Army, respectively.
Potter was impressed upon his visit to the school’s Schenectady campus – he’ll play for a team that had an impressive run of success in the 2010s, winning three straight national championships from 2012 to 2014. However, the Dutchmen will head into 2022-23 with an eye on climbing back to the top of the ECAC, and doing so with a new permanent coach in place – the program will finish this season under the leadership of interim coach John Ronan, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the last of those championships. This year’s team is 12-17-4 heading into a best-of-three first-round ECAC playoff series with Princeton.
“It was their coaching staff and how personable they were through the whole recruiting process and on my visit (that put them over the top),” said Potter. “I loved the campus when I went there, and it’s a pretty high-level school, so I could see myself going there. Through the recruiting process, Coach Ronan told me he sees me as a top-four power play guy, and he really believes in my potential. That was a big confidence boost, and another reason why I felt strongly about my decision. He sees me playing a big role there, and I’m really excited about it.”
Potter says he’ll likely go the economics route at Union, with a focus on either business or finance. Several players on the Dutchmen hockey roster are also in the school’s economics program, meaning both his athletic and academic instructors will be navigating familiar waters.
The roster will also feature a familiar name, though there may be a bit of a gap for the 2003-born Potter, who still has two years of junior eligibility remaining after this season. North Iowa teammate Greg Japchen is committed to join the Dutchmen following this season, and two other current NAHL players are committed to Union as well.
“I got to meet a lot of the guys on my visit, and having Greg going there is really cool,” said Potter. “I’m really excited about that, and it’s another reason why I felt good about going there.”
In fact, his announcement marks the second Division I commitment in his own family, with younger sister Laney committed to Wisconsin. She had earned a spot on the U.S. national women’s under-18 team that was set to play in Sweden, but COVID-related concerns caused all IIHF tournaments in January, eventually including the World Juniors in Canada, to be wiped out.
Potter becomes the fourth North Iowa player this season to announce an NCAA Division I commitment, and the fifth player on the current roster committed to a Division I program.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Joey Potter on his NCAA Division I commitment to Union College, and wish him further success as his junior hockey career continues.