Joe O'Connor, a repeat sophomore at Westminster, has committed to playing college hockey for the University of Vermont. The Hamden, Conn. native played high school hockey for his hometown team last year before transferring to the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association (NEPSIHA).
O'Connor is a big, physical defender who will bring a lot to the Vermont program, according to Westminster head coach Tim Joncas.
"His toughness and decision making ability make him a very solid defenseman. His vision and skill set make him a threat offensively. He can handle pucks, read plays and plays well on both sides of the puck," said the former Trinity College defenseman.
Joncas, entering his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater, is also impressed with O'Connor's work ethic, desire to improve and willingness to be a team player.
"He is coachable and his genuine enthusiasm for the game would be an asset to any program," said the coach. "He understands and buys into the "team" concept and knows that any success he may have as an individual is directly linked to the success of the team and the success of his teammates," he added.
O'Connor, a '96, will arrive in Burlington for the 2016-2017 season after three years at Westminster.
"UVM is getting a very good hockey player but they are getting an even better person. Joey is a great kid and a great teammate," said Joncas.
Notable Westminster alums to have success in Hockey East and beyond include the Boston College duo of Tommy Cross and Ben Smith and New Hampshire alum Eric Boguniecki.
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Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.