Dakota Beaulieu will be away from home a little bit longer, as the Metairie, Louisiana, native, who played youth hockey in New York and juniors in North Carolina, New Mexico and most recently, with the Rhinos in El Paso, Texas, announced he will play his college hockey at Worcester State University, in Massachusetts.
The powerful forward grew up playing locally in and around Louisiana, before jettisoning to New York for a bigger challenge, which actually coincided with Hurricane Katrina, where his father, Ronald, was on the frontlines as a fire captain in the city.
Following his youth career, Beaulieu played two seasons with the East Coast Eagles, splitting time between the EJHL and EmJHL squads, before joining the New Mexico Renegades prior to the 2012-2013 campaign.
The 6’2” 200-pound pillar of strength was a force during his time in New Mexico, playing in all 46 regular season games and scoring at exactly a point per game pace (30 goals and 16 assists) while serving as team captain. His steady play also earned him a mid-season call-up to the Corpus Christi IceRays of the Tier II North American Hockey League, where he appeared in two games.
Beaulieu was then dealt to the El Paso Rhinos prior to the 2013-2014 season and continued to thrive, despite not seeing the kind of ice time he did while with the Renegades. In 40 regular season games with the Rhinos, Beaulieu notched 57 points (32 goals and 25 assists) and also suited up for five combined Thorne Cup and United Hockey Union National Championship games, where he recorded a total of three points and helped the Rhinos win both titles.
After considering a few options, Beaulieu decided to commit to play for the Lancers, who will have a roster that is over 50% WSHL alumni for the 2014-2015 season. Worcester State head scout John Coughlin has long been a fan of Beaulieu, having watched him at the Western States Shootout in both 2012 and 2013 and most recently at the Thorne Cup Finals in El Paso.
Rhinos head coach Cory Herman had this to say about the one El Paso fans affectionately call “Blue”, “Dakota did a great job adapting to a new role with our team. He didn’t have to be the all-everything guy like he was in New Mexico and rounded out his game to become an asset in all situations.” Herman continued, “He is an elite goal scorer and is pound-for-pound one of the strongest players in the league, which makes him a perfect fit for the college game, where I expect him to excel.”
The WSHL joins Herman and the Rhinos in wishing Dakota the best of luck at Worcester State!