A key component to the El Paso Rhinos dominant post-season run, forward Drew DePalma has committed to play collegiately at St. Mary’s University (Minnesota) in the fall.
The Rhinos acquired the Armada, Michigan, in a deadline deal with the San Diego Gulls, where he had amassed 52 points in 35 games for a last-place team. The 5’10” 175-pound forward didn’t skip once he arrived in El Paso, racking up 19 points in 15 games down the stretch and carrying that success over into the Thorne Cup Playoffs, where he notched seven points in nine games to help the Rhinos to their first league title since 2008. The fun didn’t stop there for DePalma and the Rhinos however, as he wowed the scouts in Las Vegas, including St. Mary’s head coach Bill Moore, by amassing seven points in five games, to help the Rhinos become the 2014 United Hockey Union National Champions.
Prior to this past season, DePalma also appeared in three games with the Gulls during the 2011-2012 campaign, where he tallied an assist and followed that up with 44 points in 46 games in 2012-2013. He also had two goals in four games played with the WSHL “Best of the Rest” underage team at the 2013 UHU National Championships.
Rhinos head coach Cory Herman had this to say about DePalma, “From the second Drew got here, we knew he was a Rhino-type player and one that we needed to help us get to the top,” Herman continued, “Craig (Carlyle) and the San Diego Gulls did a great job of helping him get better everyday and it showed when he got here, as his speed, sense and playmaking abilities are all top notch. Bill Moore is getting a heck of a hockey player.”
Herman and Moore have had a strong relationship for quite some time, as evidenced by the four former Rhinos currently adorning the St. Mary’s roster, a number that will likely go up before the end of the off-season.
The WSHL joins the Rhinos and Gulls in wishing Drew the best of luck in college and any other future endeavors!