NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Lone Star Brahmas captain John Zimmerman has announced his college commitment to Army West Point, becoming the eighth Brahma from this year’s team to play NCAA DI hockey.
“I think the opportunity to not only play NCAA hockey, but to get a great education and serve my country is just something that I couldn’t pass up,” Zimmerman said. “The coaches at West Point made me feel amazing and the (recruiting) process and the campus and the athletic department all seemed to fit with things I was looking for. I’m just blessed to have this opportunity.”
“We’re just really proud of him,” Head Coach Dan Wildfong added. “Obviously we made a trade for Zimm to come to us from Fairbanks. He’s just been one of those guys who’s been a staple of our franchise for the last couple of years and he’s really made a nice step this year. I think they got a heck of a d-man and obviously he couldn’t have gone to a better spot in Army with his character.”
Zimmerman locked up his college commitment days after playing at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. His performance in Michigan was indicative of the season he is having in Texas; the captain is a strong two-way defender who can put up points.
“I had some interest before and I think all seven [Brahmas] and all five guys who were on the South team really put up a good showing and I think it personally solidified my standing in West Point’s mind and it worked out so I’m very happy,” Zimmerman said.
The Arlington, Texas native leads the Brahmas with 32 assists and is second in the North American Hockey League amongst defensemen. Known as a strong defensive player through his first two seasons of junior hockey, Zimmerman has embraced his increased ice time this year and has taken on a larger offensive role.
Zimmerman is one of the best blueliners in the South Division at getting shots through traffic, registering 94 shots on goal heading into the home stretch. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defenseman quarterbacks the Brahmas power play, logs time on the penalty kill and has excellent vision. That package made him a valuable asset to hockey universities.
His character, leadership, locker room presence and hockey skills also helped Zimmerman earn the Brahmas captaincy in the fall.
“I’m humbled every day by the opportunity to lead these guys,” Zimmerman said. “To be chosen as the captain and be seen as a leader on this team is such an honor. And kind of building off that, I think going to West Point is one of those things where I’ll be able to hone my hockey skills, my academic skills and my leadership skills as well and I’m just excited for what the future holds.”
Academics have always been a priority for the second year Brahma, and he is ready to take on the college curriculum and commitment to his country.
“The academics were always number one for me. Any time you could combine Division I hockey with great academics, you know there’s not a ton of schools, but this one just seemed like the right fit for me and like I said I’m just very fortunate.”
“Zimmerman had a few other offers out there, but he went to Culver (Military Academy Prep) so he understands the military part and the commitment afterwards so it’s just a good fit for him and his family obviously supports him,” Wildfong chimed in.
Before going to the United States Military Academy in the fall, Zimmerman is committed to something bigger this spring. He wants to push this Brahmas team and win the organization’s first ever Robertson Cup.
“It’s all about a Robertson Cup now. You know it always has been. It’s always team success over personal, but even more so now. Sure it’s easy to say that, but now there is no excuse and I’ll be ready every day for my teammates and do everything I can to help the boys win the cup.”