CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce the commitment of forward Cole Gammer to Liberty University for the 2017-18 season.
“It was one of those decisions between playing another year of junior hockey and going to the next level,” said Gammer on his commitment. “I have nothing but good things to say about Corpus Christi, and a really good opportunity popped up that I didn’t want to let pass by. It feels great to commit.”
Gammer, 20, has made an impressive journey through his hockey career to bring him to the next level. The Edmonton, Alb. native hit a heavy road block in his career development due to an on-ice collision that left him with a head-neck injury following a successful 2014-15 season, and that was worsened by his involvement in a car crash just three weeks later. He re-joined his previous club during the playoffs but still has yet to have a full season under his belt in that time until joining the IceRays prior to last season as a tender signing on May 25, 2016.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward found his role over the course of the season as a physical winger and provided a strong heartbeat on and off the ice for the locker room. Gammer played 58 games during the regular season, recording nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points with 106 penalty minutes and one power play goal while adding one goal and three assists for four points through eight games during the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs, sitting tied for third in scoring and shared the team lead in assists during the playoffs. To say that Gammer found his stride and settled in for a redemption season is an understatement considering the circumstances of his hockey adventure.
“With my injury, I didn’t know if I was going to play hockey again. I’m just really blessed that I was able to fully recover and play hockey again. I came to Corpus Christi wanting to be able to help in any way that I could. I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest because it had been a while since I played a bunch of consecutive games. [Brad Flynn] did a really good job of finding me a role on the team, and once I was placed on the line with [Cole] Filler and [Jayson] DiMizio I thought we were a big impact. I loved being part of a great year that set franchise records, which says a lot about Brad and the guys in the locker room.”
“We’re extremely excite for Cole Gammer to be able to get his commitment to Liberty University,” said IceRays head coach Brad Flynn. “On and off the ice in his only year, he made a terrific impact as a person and a player. Cole has a very bright future not only on the ice but also in any of his future endeavors. We wish him all the best.”
Liberty University is one of the newer universities in the scope of American colleges, but since its inception in 1971 as Lynchburg Baptist College the school has grown to become the fifth-largest university and the world’s largest Christian university. The program prides itself on developing future leaders while continuing a strong base of Christian fellowship. The hockey program has produced 16 All-Americans as well as 39 Academic All-Americans under the guidance of Head Coach Kirk Handy, who graduated from Liberty University in 1999.
One of the hidden pieces of Gammer’s personality is his strong Christian background, which proved to be a large piece of the puzzle in finding the right fit to play college hockey as well as having another place to make an immediate impact.
“The thing that really stuck out to me, which a lot of people don’t know about me, is that I’m a Christian kid. I’ve always been that way, and I’m a believer in God. Liberty is the largest Christian university in North America, and I thought that was a pretty big opportunity for me to attend a university like that and continue my hockey dream. Once I visited the school at the end of the season, that’s what brought me on board to Liberty, and I was fully confident to make the decision to go there.”
Gammer is the fourth player to make a college commitment this season from the IceRays, joining Logan Gestro (Canisius College), Mason Krueger (Army West Point) and Tomáš Vomáčka (University of Connecticut). He is also the eighth player on the active roster and tenth with ties to the IceRays to play college hockey, including David Baskerville (Canisius College), Nathan Bryer (Mercyhurst University), Camden Burggrabe (Northern Michigan University), and Cody Fleckenstein (Army West Point). The IceRays organization and the Corpus Christi community has had a lasting impact on Gammer’s life, and while the decision to leave one year early wasn’t easy, his time spent will last a lifetime.
“Throughout the whole organization, I’m going to miss the fans, the players and the staff,” said Gammer on the IceRays and Corpus Christi. “That’s what make the Corpus Christi IceRays who they are. Even after the season was over, people were reaching out to me wishing me the best and thanking me for this season. I thought it was so special to have people that I would have never known talk to me and invite me back to Corpus Christi. That’s what makes Corpus Christi so special. Playing in front of that atmosphere with 23 of your best friends is what hockey is all about.”
Rise with the IceRays and get ready for next season with a 2017-18 IceRays Season Membership. Call the IceRays at 361-814-PUCK to reserve your seat for next season. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Snapchat (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).