The St. Louis Jr. Blues, proud members of the NA3HL, are proud to announce that defender Joe Nolan (Arlington Heights, Ill.) has committed to play college hockey at the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini are members of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League in ACHA’s Division I.
A two-year player for the Jr. Blues, the 6’4”, 210 lb righty was a key component of St. Louis’ two consecutive Silver Cup Finals appearances. This year, Nolan recorded 36 points (6 G, 26 A) to lead all Jr. Blues defensemen in scoring. Of those 36 points, 14 of them came on the power-play, while he also finished his season with a plus/minus rating of +24. Last year, Nolan was one of the Jr. Blues’ representatives at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, which he parlayed into a tender signing with the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues: he spent the early part of this season with that club.
“Joe’s arguably been the biggest reason for our success these past two years,” said St. Louis head coach Chris Flaugher. “He’s an ideal two-way defenseman, but more than that he’s one of our best off-ice presences. He does so much great work in the community and was a constant, unifying force in the dressing room. We’ll certainly miss him but are incredibly confident that the Illini will be getting a man of both great talent and great character.”
Nolan joins both a team and a league filled with Jr. Blues alumni. In Champaign, he will suit up alongside former St. Louis star Tyler Opilka, and when squaring off against CSCHL rivals Lindenwood and Missouri State, he’ll be facing no less than nine ex-Jr. Blues: last year, Mike Lozano, Alex Klaesner, Tommy Heinzman and Alex Carlsson were on the Lions, and Brian Schumacher, Chris Brown, Andrew Kovacich, Alex Turin, and Josh Bell played for the Ice Bears.