Spruce Grove, AB - The Spruce Grove Saints are proud to announce that 1998 born goaltender Nolan Kent has committed to attend school and play hockey for the Northern Michigan Wildcats beginning this fall for the 2018-2019 season, consequently ending his time as Saint. The Wildcats, located in Marquette, Michigan, compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), they have eight NCAA tournament appearances and one National Championship (1991) to the program's credit.
The second year Saints goaltender becomes a Wildcat after joining the Saints in the 2016-2017 season. As a rookie Kent won the starting goaltender job and appeared in 42 contests compiling a very impressive record of 27 wins, 11 losses, and 1 tie. To go along with that record Kent posted a 2.16 goals against average accompanied by a .919 Save percentage along with 4 shutouts. Very impressive numbers for a rookie.
Coming into the 2017-18 season there were high expectations for the Chestermere, Alberta native and while his season was cut short with a mid season injury, he did not disappoint. In 20 regular season games Kent amassed 15 wins, 4 losses, and 4 shutouts. Kent lead the AJHL in Regular Season Goals Against Average and Save Percentage with a 1.52 GAA and .934 SV% respectively. In the playoffs when the Saints needed him most he was there every step of the way enroute to an AJHL championship, again posting AJHL leading numbers for wins(12), losses (1) and both Save percentage and Goals Against Average with a 1.58 goals against average and .923 save percentage. Topping the playoffs off with another 4 shutouts.
When Saints GM Rob Sklaruk was asked about his now departing starting goalie he was quick to mention he has never seen a goalie like Nolan Kent.
“In my 40 years around the game of hockey I have never seen a more competitive goalie than Nolan Kent. Whether it was practice or games he absolutely hates being scored on. I cannot say enough about what he meant to our team. After his injury he was relentless in his rehab so that he could return to the ice as soon as possible, he was our back bone in the playoffs.” Sklaruk continued, “There is not a more deserving goalie of an NCAA scholarship, we feel if Nolan would have played the entire season he would have definitely been in the conversation for CJHL goaltender of the year. We are thrilled for Nolan and look forward to watching him lead the Wildcats.”
After visiting Marquette and meeting with the Wildcat Hockey staff the 5’11”, 189 -pound goaltender was blown away by the town and team, making his decision far too easy.
“After going on my fly down to visit, I was so impressed with the city and campus, it felt like home, and I was comfortable right away. The coaching staff already had a plan in place for my immediate academic and future hockey aspirations which really mean a lot.” Kent continued. “Northern Michigan is giving me the opportunity to fight for the starting job right away next season which is huge. I am very thankful for the faith they have shown in me, the decsion to commit to Northern Michigan was a no brainer, I am very excited to be a Wildcat!”
Kent like many others before him wanted to make sure he recognized those that supported him throughout the years leading up to this moment.
“I just want to thank my family first and foremost for all the they have done and the support they have given me. I am thankful to all of my previous coaches and teammates for helping me get to where I am today. I want to especially thank Ryan Rechner for his belief in me from getting me into Leduc (Midget AAA) and to the Saints last season. He has been a very influential person in my career and I am very appreciative of him.” Exclaimed Kent.
“I also want to the thank the whole Saints organization from the owners to the staff and the coaches, their support and guidance to me was incredible, I will always look back on my 2 seasons as a Saint very fondly. Finally, to all of my teammates this past season. Winning a championship and how close our group became was unbelievable. I will always cherish the memories and friendships we made together, ones that will last a lifetime, thank you all.”
While it is sad to see such a quality person and your starting goalie leave. Head coach Bram Stephen was beaming when speaking about the goaltenders commitment.
“We are extremely proud and so happy for Nolan and his family. As an organization it is so satisfying to see a young man who is so deserving, obtain a NCAA Division I scholarship. It recognizes and validates his incredible work ethic, his elite play and overall record over the past 2 seasons. Northern Michigan is getting one heck of a person and goalie.” Praised Stephen. “On the other side, they (Northern Michigan) will provide Nolan with the perfect environment to progress as a goalie while completing his university degree. It’s an awesome day for the Saints and the Kent family. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Kent joins Josh Harris (York University), Austin Parmiter (Grant MacEwan), Jordan Biro (Denver University), Brad Forrest (York University), Chris Van OS-Shaw (Minnesota State- Mankato), TJ Lloyd (Bowling Green), Chase Olsen (Merrimack) and Parker Saretsky (Michigan Tech) as the ninth Saint to obtain a scholarship this season and eleventh Saint with an NCAA Division I, USPORTS or ACAC scholarship this season.
The Saints organization would like to congratulate Nolan and his family on his great acheivement.
Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are currently on sale now. You can purchase your seats by calling the Saints office at 780-960-TEAM(8326) or online at tickets.sprucegrovesaints.ca