Northampton hockey program has bright future
Northampton head hockey coach Brian Ruff likes to refer to the process as “climbing the ladder.”
It is the process that has helped Ruff’s team continue to have success and also to be one of the top contenders in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL). This past season, Northampton lost to Parkland in the finals.
Until recently when Parkland and Nazareth each established one, Northampton was the lone program that had an outlet for kindergarten, first and second grade students. From there, the pipeline extends to the top, once again that has established themselves on all fronts.
“This has been a great outlet for the kids and the program,” said Ruff, who completed his 28th year. “It is a lot of work and not an easy task. We look to fill spots and keep it going. It has been working and we have been successful on every level.”
This past season, the Kids’ JV team tied for first in the league, and the two middle school teams finished first and third respectively.
The JV team finished with an overall 9-2-0 mark with Myles Rutt notching a team-high 15 goals and 21 overall points. Gavin Rusnock registered eight wins in the nets.
Northampton’s seventh-grade middle school team finished first in their division with an overall 12-2-2 mark. Bryan Schache led the team with 19 goals and 26 overall points, and goalie Alex Kotsch had six wins.
The Kids’ eighth-grade team posted a 10-3-3 mark and finished third in their division. Logan Davis tallied a team-high 13 goals and 17 points, and Garrett Wolfe recorded five wins.
Northampton’s Black youth team was 7-5-2 overall and third in their division. Colin Becker had a team-high 24 goals and 33 overall points. Josh Pierce gained four wins.
The Kids’ Orange youth team wasn’t as fortunate with an overall 2-12 mark. Derek Raudenbaugh lead the way with six goals and seven points and Pierce had one victory.
Along with watching various players advanced through the program, Ruff also has guided his four sons – Jason, Kyle, Eric, and Cody – along the way. Kyle, Eric, and Cody are all currently coaching in the program.
Ruff also stated that there are two alumni teams, which are both battling their way through the playoffs.
In all, the Kids’ hockey pipeline certainly won’t freeze overnight.
“We have good numbers and that has always helped,” said Ruff. “We pick up most of our players simply through word of mouth.
“We have a good base and we’re looking forward to next season.”