Mansfield’s Foley Signs Contract to Join NHL’s Blues

Erik Foley
BRIDGEPORT, CT – MARCH 23: The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey East Regional Championship Semifinal at Webster Bank Arena on March 23, 2018 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Rich Gagnon)
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Although he only spent one year at Mansfield High, Erik Foley made an instant impact on the Hornets, leading the team in scoring with 22 goals and 39 points, and helping Mansfield advance to the Div. 2 South final. It was the first sectional final in the program’s history. Despite Foley scoring against Franklin that night at Gallo Arena in Bourne, the Panthers would get the victory and advance to the TD Garden.

It would be the last game Foley would play in Mansfield’s green and white.

Even as a freshman, Mansfield supporters and opponents recognized the potential in his game. It was obvious that, as Franklin coach Chris Spillane said after that final, “Number 6 (Foley) is a player.” His talent took Foley from skating at the Foxboro Sports Center to Tabor Academy, Cedar Rapids of the USHL, Providence College, and to the World Juniors. While he didn’t win a title that night in Bourne, he has since won a gold medal with Team USA.

Now, Foley has taken his career to the ultimate level, as he will forgo his senior season at PC and has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues. He has come a long way from that impressive rookie season in the Hock.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed about saying and you don’t really think of it coming through,” said Foley in a phone call from San Antonio this week. “You think of it as something in the back of your head, but it’s a surreal thing to think about. I’m just truly excited to have that opportunity to say that and hopefully I can make the most of it.”

Foley went to St. Louis for a physical and to meet with the Blues staff before heading to San Antonio to practice with the Rampage, an American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, on an amateur tryout (ATO). Foley and several other NHL hopefuls are working out and getting their first taste of the professional life with the Blues’ development camp scheduled for June.

“It’s great and the weather is nice,” Foley explained. “I’m not playing or anything, just taking it easy, but it’s nice to be here and get acclimated with the staff.”

He was drafted by Winnipeg in the third round (78th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, after leading the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders with 27 goals and 27 assists in 55 games during the 2014-15 season. Foley’s rights were traded on Feb. 26 from Winnipeg to St. Louis for NHL veteran Paul Stastny.

Foley, 5-foot-11 winger, is having fun with the fact that he has already been traded before even officially becoming an NHL player. He joked, “When I got traded my agent called me and he said, ‘Did you hear the news?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes ‘Well, welcome to pro hockey.’”

“It was kind of a cool experience being part of a trade for such a big player,” Foley added. “It really put into perspective how much the Blues wanted me and how much they pushed to get me. It was a humbling experience for me.”

When Foley began his hockey career playing in the youth program in Mansfield in junior high, professional hockey was only a pipe dream. “It was a good time,” he said of playing with his classmates and good friends like Evan Kershaw and Will Kelleher. “When you’re that young, you’re just having fun playing the game and you’re not really thinking about if you’re going to play in college or if you’re going pro, you’re just having fun with a good group of guys.”

Even when he started at Mansfield, Foley, who also played for the Neponset Valley River Rats, was more worried about making the varsity team than where the game could take him. As he excelled during his one season with the Hornets, he started talking to Tabor coach Gerry Dineen, who was a friend of the family and whose son Brett had played with Foley. Knowing the coaches would look out for his interests, he saw Tabor as the right fit and looking back now Foley sees it as crucial to his development as a player.

“Tremendously,” he said when asked how much Tabor helped him grow. “It was a hard transition but just living on my own, a higher-paced hockey, the school was tough, you know, it kind of made me grow up a little bit and it kind of showed me as I moved through the levels that I could have a chance to play in college.”

Growing up in Massachusetts with the Hockey East rivalries front and center, Foley always dreamed of playing at the Div. I level. He committed to PC in 2014 but then spent one year in the USHL before heading to the then defending national champions. It took him all of four games to score his first college goal and he would finish with 19 points as a freshman. His sophomore season, Foley totaled 34 points, including a team-high 15 goals.

That season, Foley also had the experience of a lifetime. He joined Team USA for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Canada and helped the U.S. battle back from 2-0 and 4-2 down in the final against the hosts before winning the gold in a shootout.

“That was a journey and a half,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time there. The tournament was really surreal and winning the tournament was a crazy experience, something that not a lot of people can say they did in their life. I really cherish that experience with those guys.”

It was also a different experience for him on the ice, where he played more of a defensive role on the U.S. fourth line rather than being counted on to be one of the team’s leading scorers.

“It showed me a different way of how a team comes together and different roles can make a team succeed,” he explained. “When I got back to Providence, I took that along with me and I think that just playing at that fast pace and in those crazy environments at the World Juniors helped me a lot.”

Turning pro was always a possibility after this season, but Foley said that he tried not to let it distract from the goal of trying to win a Hockey East title and get the Friars back to the Frozen Four. While PC barely missed out on the semifinals, losing by a goal to Notre Dame in the regional final, Foley had a stellar season. He had career highs with 16 goals and 19 assists and earned an All-Hockey East First Team nod.

After his season came to an end, Foley re-considered the option of playing in the NHL and decided that he was ready to make the leap. He also admitted that he has a lot to work on this summer to prepare himself for the next step.

“This is going to be one of the biggest summers that I’ve had in a long, long time,” he said. “I think that the work is just getting started. It’s nice having a new organization to come in and make a first impression on. I’m going to go into the summer and I’m just going to try to get a spot on the roster and if that doesn’t work out I’ll be in the AHL and that’s fine too.”

He will spend another few days in San Antonio before heading back to Mansfield. He is quick to point out that, although hockey has taken him all across the country (and the continent), he hasn’t lost touch with the guys that he started skating with.

“I love Mansfield,” he said. “I keep in touch with all those guys. Those are my best friends down in Mansfield. We’ve been friends since we were little, and I’d never not be in touch with them.”

While he will enjoy some time at home before embarking on the start of his pro career, Foley is looking forward to the opportunity that is before him.

“I’m excited for it,” he said of June’s development camp for prospects. “I want to get a taste of the pro life before it really starts and I get to go to the main camp. I’m excited to get down there and show them what I can do and excited to see the guys.”

The Campus Report: Winter 2017 Update

Hockomock Campus Report

The HockomockSports.com Campus Report is an update on former Hockomock League athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.

Babson men’s basketball has been the top ranked DIII college program for a good portion of the season and former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and Franklin Panther Sam Bohmiller has played a vital role. The Beavers (21-1) are riding a 12-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s visit to Clark. Bohmiller has started in 20 games this season (missing two for an injury), averaging 29 minutes per game. Shooting at 53.4% from the field (49.2% from three point), Bohmiller is averaging 7.6 points per game as well as 2.2 assists, 2.6 rebounds and nearly 1.0 steals per game.

Mansfield’s Joe Collins has had a terrific year for Southern New Hampshire’s hockey team through 26 games. A graduate student, Collins is second on the team with 11 goals, first on the team with 21 assists and leads the Penmen with 32 points. His +8 is second on the team and his three game-winning goals is tied for the most on the team. Collins is currently riding a three game point streak, recording two against Daniel Webster, one against Franklin Pierce and two against Framingham State. Collins will conclude his final regular season on Saturday in Foxboro against Stonehill.

Taunton graduate Angie Martinez etched her name into Mount Ida’s record books twice this season. In early December, Martinez became just the fourth women’s basketball player in program history to join the 1,000 point club. Less than a week later, Martinez became the first ever Mustang to record 1,000 rebounds. She then took her success to another level in January, hauling in her 1,125th career board, making her the all-time women’s rebounding leader in Great Northeast Athletic Conference history. For her senior season, she is third on the team with 9.1 points per game and leads the Mustangs with 12.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

Bridgewater State currently sits at 13-9 overall and 6-3 in MASCAC play, good enough for third. The Bears are coming off a win over league-leading Salem State in a game that saw Taunton grad Fawaz Mass drop a game-high 23 points and former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Rocky DeAndrade chipping in with 16 points. Mass (16.2 ppg) and DeAndrade (14.4) are currently the top two in scoring for the Bears while Mansfield’s Greg Romanko, a captain is at 8.8 points per game and Milford’s Michael Soares is at 4.3 points per game. Mass is second on the team in rebounding and DeAndrade leads the Bears in assists. Soares scored a career-high 19 points late last month in a win over MCLA. Romanko also scored a season-high 19 points back in December in a rout of Maine-Augusta.

Bridgewater travels to Worcester State on Saturday to battle Milford graduate Aaron Anniballi and the Lancers. Anniballi turned it on midway through the season and was rewarded, earning starts in the last five games and six of the last seven. In a road trip to league-leading Salem State, Anniballi dropped a career-high 22 points, including a career-best five three pointers made. In the last five games, Anniballi is averaging 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Lancers. For the season, he’s second on the team in assists and fourth in scoring despite just seven starts.

Former HockomockSports.com Hockey Player of the Year Ryan Spillane found the back of the net for the first time in his collegiate career, netting one of five goals in Saint Anselm’s win over Daniel Webster. A Franklin High product, Spillane has appeared in 14 games this year, including the last four. He registered his first assist on Friday, February 3rd against Southern Maine and then scored his first goal on Saturday. N

Success on the ice at Saint Anselm is noting new for the Spillane family though, as Kaitlyn Spillane, a junior, continues to be a big piece of the Hawks’ women’s hockey team. After 12 points as a freshman and 24 points as a sophomore, Spillane is already up to 26 points during her junior campaign. Her 26 points is good for second on the team, a combination of 10 goals and 16 assists. She’s currently riding an eight game point streak heading into Friday night’s tilt with Williams. During that stretch, she registered four points in a win over New England College.

Michael Choate has strung together two strong meets for the Boston University swim team. The former KP Warrior had three top three finishes against Boston College, including third in the 100 backstroke (52.79), third in the 200 butterfly (1:58.57) and second in the 200 backstroke (1:52.11). He followed that up with three more top three finishes against Bryant, including second in the 200 free (1:47.26) and third in the 500 free (4:56.08). He was also apart of the 200 medley relay that took third (1:38.76). North Attleboro’s Sarah Hargrave also had solid showings in the same meets. On senior night against BC, she took first in the 500 free (4:57.16) and first in the 200 free relay (1:37.34). Against Bryant, she placed third in the 100 free (54.43) and was apart of the 400 free relay that touched in third (3:49.61).

2016 HockomockSports.com First Team selection Alecia Quinones has been a top option off the bench for UMass Boston this season. The Stoughton High product has come off the bench and appeared in all 22 games for the Beacons, averaging 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and shooting nearly 40% from the floor. Quinones showed what she can do when she played 23 minutes earlier this season at Colby College. She scored 20 points on 8/13 shooting in the win for UMass Boston.

A trio of former Hockomock rivals turned teammates are playing a big role for UMass Amherst’s men’s swimming team. Attleboro’s Owen Wright, Franklin’s Austen Sholudko and King Philip’s Chris DiGiacomo have all helped the Minutemen as they head into Atlantic 10 Championships next weekend. In their latest meet against Fordham, Wright took first place in the 50 yard free (21.53), fourth in the 100 yard free and was apart of the 200 yard free relay team that took second place. DiGiacomo took first place in the 200 yard backstroke, second in the 200 yard IM and placed third in the 200 yard free. Sholudko placed fifth overall in the 1000 yard free and was seventh in the 500 yard free.

Bristol Community College has racked up 13 wins so far this season and is averaging an impressive 88.6 points per game as a team. Former HockomockSports.com Boys Basketball Player of the Year and Taunton standout Jose Mercado is currently third on the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game, fifth on the team with 4.5 rebounds a game and second with 2.0 steals. After coming off the bench for the majority of the season, Mercado has worked his way into the starting line up, starting five straight games. In that stretch, he’s averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 boards, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals for the Bayhawks, who are 4-1 with him in the starting lineup.

Former HockomockSports.com Girls Basketball Player of the Year Kat Tamulionis has found a new home at Babson and recently helped the program to its 600th win. The Foxboro alum has appeared in 14 games, earning her first collegiate start at Mount Holyoke on January 21st. In the program’s 600th win, a 72-51 win over Emerson, Tamulionis scored a career-high eight points Another former Foxboro standout Ashley Snyder has made nine appearances for the Beavers so far this season, playing a season-high 12 minutes against Emory & Henry earlier this season.

There were plenty of Hockomock alums on the court on Wednesday night when Wheaton visited Clark University. Foxboro’s Rob Lowey and Alex DuBrow dressed for the visitors while Milford’s David Mercier and Joe Atkinson are both captains for the Cougars. In just his second collegiate start, DuBrow made a big difference down the stretch for the Lyons. The freshman hit a pair of free throws with 51 seconds left to give Wheaton a four point lead and then stole an inbounds pass with 22 seconds left, adding one more free throw to help ice the game. DuBrow tied a career-high with 13 points in the game while adding four assists. On the season, he’s averaging 6.8 points, 2.7 assists and leads the team with a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio. Mercier had a game-high 21 points while Atkinson added 16 in the loss. For the season, Mercier is fourth on the team with 10.7 points and fourth in rebounding at 4.2. Atkinson is the team’s top rebounder with 7.5 boards a game and is averaging 11.8 points for Clark (13-9).

Taunton’s Dylan Schrama had a strong showing in Clark University’s meet with WPI at the end of January. Competing in five events, Schrama was first for Clark in three events and touched the wall before anyone else in one event. He took first place overall in the 200 yard IM, clocking in at 2:15.42. He also placed fourth in the 50 yard backstroke and took third in the 100 yard free style. He was also a member of the 200 yard medley relay that came in third overall.

King Philip graduate and current Northeastern sophomore Carly Schnabel was tabbed as the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Swimmer of the Week. She’s the first Northeastern swimmer to earn the honor this season. Competing at Harvard, Schnabel turned in a historic performance in the 1,000-yard free by setting a new program record in 10:03.95 for first place. Her time is over seven seconds ahead of the next closest conference competitor for the event this season.

Keene State snapped a two-game skid with the help of King Philip alum Jimmy Layman. The junior forward came off the bench to score 13 points (5/8 FG), had four rebounds and came away with three steals. The Owls (15-7) recently were ranked 10th in the Northeast in the NCAA Regional Rankings for DIII. Layman has a been a top contributor off the bench so far this season, playing in 21 games and averaging 3.8 points per game and 2.1 rebounds. He scored a season-high 17 points back in December at WPI.

Less than a week after Mansfield junior Tyler Boulter set a new program record for most threes in a game (10), older brother and former Hockomock League MVP Ryan Boulter decided it was his turn to set a record. In Merrimack’s home game against Southern Connecticut, Boulter put on a show – connecting on nine three pointers to tie the school record. The sophomore forward finished with a career-high 40 points in the Warriors’ overtime win. Although just a sophomore, Boulter is currently leading the Warriors with 18.2 points per game, averaging 3.3 threes in contest. He also is hauling in 4.4 boards on average.

UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball program is used to having a Hockomock alum leading the way, and this year is no different. After years of dominance from North Attleboro’s Meg Ronaghan, now it’s Franklin’s Alicia Kutil that’s leading the way for the Corsairs (19-3). Kutil is second with 13.6 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game, while adding 2.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals. She was named the Little East Conference Player of the Week earlier this week.

Mansfield’s George Apostolopoulos qualified for the NEISDA Division II/III Championships in the 50 breaststroke over the weekend at the Bridgewater State Bears Invitational. Apostolopoulos posted a time of 35.43 seconds in the 50 breaststroke to qualify. Attleboro’s Dylon Willis helped the Bears to a pair of wins at a tri-meet at the end of January, beating Husson and Regis. Willis was apart of the 200 medley relay team that came in second, took first in the 50 yard breaststroke (28.08) and the 100 yard breaststroke and was second in the 100 IM.

Also at Bridgewater State, Mansfield’s Abbie Grant and Danielle Souza, North Attleboro’s Adi Tobias and King Philip’s Emily Garven are swimming for the Bears. At the BSU Bears Invitational, Grant was second in the 50 yard butterfly and the 100 yard IM, Souza took third in the 200 yard free, Tobias grabbed second in the 100 yard butterfly and Garven won the 50 yard backstroke as well as the 100 yard free.

Attleboro’s Bri Hochwarter is averaging 13.6 points per game and has been a big reason why Wheelock College women’s basketball has registered 10 wins this season. She is also averaging 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals for the Wildcats. Hochwarter is on a strong stretch, scoring in double figures in four straight games. She’s hit 14 threes in that stretch, averaging 16.8 points per game.

Former Mansfield Hornet and Winnipeg Jets draft pick Erik Foley is enjoying another successful year at Providence. After an impressive freshman year (seven goals, 12 assists), he’s already topped his rookie point total during his sophomore year. He’s tied for a team-high 10 goals and also has 13 assists, good for 23 points – third for the Friars. Providence is 17-8-4 on the season and ranked #11 in the country.

With the NEWMAC Championships on the horizon next week, Taunton’s Kyle Werra and WPI’s men swimming team are looking to make a slash. Werra has competed in eight events for the Engineers so far this season. At the Clark University Cougar Invitational, Werra set three best times for the season. In the 200 free, he clocked in a 1:57.85, in the 100 breaststroke he touched the wall at 1:08.12 and in the 400 medley, he timed at 4:45.18.

Oliver Ames alum Caitlyn Abela continues to be a big piece for Saint Anselm. The Hawks, who have former Canton assistant Colleen Moriarty on the staff, stand at 15-8 on the season. Abela is second on the team at 10.9 points per game, scoring a season-high 23 earlier this year in a win at Daemen. She’s also averaged 3.3 rebounds a game this year (season-high 11 at Adelphi) and 1.1 assists (season-high 4 vs. NYIT).

A pair of former Hockomock rivals are now teammates at Merrimack. Franklin’s Lexi Martin and Attleboro’s Emily Houle are both contributing for the Warriors (11-11) this season. Martin, a sophomore, has started in all 22 games this season, averaging 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She scored a season-high 19 points in a win over New Haven in early January and had a stretch in which she scored in double figures in six of eight games. Houle, a freshman and last year’s HockomockSports.com Girls Basketball Player of the Year, has played in 11 games, scoring five points in a game at Adelphi against former head coach Missy Traversi and hitting a three in a close win over St. Michael’s last week.

Former Mansfield Hornet Kevin Conner has scored 13 points in back to back games for Mount Ida heading into this week’s contest with Rivier. The Mustangs (14-8 overall) are currently in fourth place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Conner, who was slowed by an injury to start the season, has started in every game he’s been available for. In a win at Rivier, Conner was a perfect 6/6 from the field and in a loss to conference-leading Albertus Magnus, Conner added 13 points including a pair of threes. In 17 games, Conner is averaging 8.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game.

Attleboro’s Kerri Beland is having a strong sophomore season for the Salve Regina women’s basketball game. The former Attleboro Bombardier is leading the Seahawks in scoring with 12.5 points per game, shooting 40% from the floor and 36% from three point. She’s also fourth on the team in rebounding with 5.3 boards.

Ever since the turn of the calendar, former Franklin standout Chris Rodgers has gone on a tear for WPI. After coming off the bench for the start of the season, Rodgers picked up his first start on December 6th. In his last seven starts, dating back to January 18th, Rodgers has been one of the Engineers top options on offense. He scored a season-high 23 points and hauled in nine rebounds in a narrow loss to Springfield and scored in double figures in six of those seven games. He’s averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in that span for WPI, who have four wins in that same stretch.