NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Former Brahmas goaltender Erik Gordon has announced his college commitment to The College of the Holy Cross. Gordon will join former teammate Peter Kessel and fellow alumnus Dalton Skelly in the northeast for the 2018-19 season.
“Holy Cross presented a great opportunity both academically and athletically,” Gordon said. “The academics were very important to me and they had an engineering program which can lead into Columbia so the potential to receive two degrees was very exciting for me. In addition, the coaching staff really showed they believed in me and how I could be an impact on the team moving forward.”
Gordon was an impact player the moment he came to the North American Hockey League. After securing two wins at the NAHL Showcase against Central Division powerhouses, college scouts took note. In the end, the Georgia native felt most at home with Holy Cross.
“The recruiting process has been going on since the first showcase, but became more serious after being traded to Fairbanks. After the season, I was able to go up and see the campus, and that solidified my desire to go there,” Gordon said.
The then-17-year-old goaltender went 11-2-0 with the Brahmas in the first half of the season, then the Brahmas were forced to make a move. With three goaltenders on roster, Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong made the difficult choice to send Gordon to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to give him the ice time he deserved.
“I think it’s really good for Erik (to commit to Holy Cross). He is very intelligent and he’s a heck of a goalie. We obviously did not want to trade him to Fairbanks, but we knew it would be a great opportunity for him and obviously he got what he wanted to do and that’s to get an NCAA scholarship in this league. I think Fairbanks did a great job giving him the opportunity as well,” Wildfong said.
Gordon’s rights are owned by the Bloomington Thunder in the United States Hockey League, and they wanted to see their goaltender prospect continue to develop before heading to Illinois the following season.
Due to the situation in Lone Star, the coaches felt it would be best to move Gordon to a situation where he could be the definitive starter for a team. That move paid off in a big way.
He kept his momentum in moving to Alaska, collecting 17 more wins before the end of the season. Gordon finished the year second in the league with a 1.89 goals against average, third in the league in shutouts (4) and save percentage (.928) and tied for fourth in wins (24).
Thanks to his impressive numbers, the 5-foot-10 goalie racked up numerous awards. He was named to the All-NAHL Second Team, All-Midwest Division Team and All-NAHL Rookie Second Team.
“I feel the NAHL played a tremendous role in development. I saw my game improve in a variety of environments. The league gave me the opportunity not only to be seen but also to improve each day,” Gordon said.
In addition to his time in the North American Hockey League, Gordon received a mid-season call-up to the USA National Development Under-17 program in the United States Hockey League. Gordon competed against some of the best teams in the league, including the eventual Clark Cup Champions and secured his first USHL shutout during his time in Michigan.
Gordon continues to preach how much the NAHL has helped him as a player both on and off the ice.
“Alaska was an amazing experience. I loved every second of my experience and would go back in a heartbeat. The team is organized tremendously and you become part of the community. I will never forgot my time up there. It was a big change and a new team but the guys brought me in and made the transition easy. Ultimately we climbed up the standings and made the playoffs, something the league didn’t see us doing that year.”
Gordon went on to say he will always remember the opportunity the Brahmas gave him and how much he cherished his time in Texas.
“I enjoyed my time with the Brahmas. It offers a completely different experience than Alaska with so many things to do around the area as far as sports venues go. I loved the guys down there and the trainers as well. Playing in the south definitely gave me a different perspective on the game. It was my first experience in the league and I will never forgot some of the coaching tips I received,” Gordon added.
Gordon is a character guy off the ice, a warrior on it, and a player his teammates always respect in the locker room. The Midwest Division Goaltender of the Year is looking forward to playing a full season in the USHL with Bloomington this year before beginning his collegiate journey.