When he first put on his VJW jersey back when he was a squirt, Brian Pinho never imagined that he would someday be wearing the colors of a Division I powerhouse.
| Brian Pinho|
Fast forward to this past week and Pinho is celebrating his decision to accept a hockey scholarship to Providence College.
“I just really wanted to play Hockey East. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Pinho to the Eagle Tribune; “It’s a great school with a great business program and a hockey team that’s on the way up. It’s everything I wanted.”
Pinho began his VJW career when he was just a squirt major. He continued to develop over the years and was part of the successful 1995 team - led by head coach Bill Franzese - that not only advanced to USA Hockey Nationals in 1998 (see team photo above), but they also collected four New England Hockey League (NEHL) titles in a six-year span.
Joining Pinho on that '95 Elites squad was another familiar name in the collegiate circles - Shane Eiserman,
a 2014 University of New Hampshire recruit who earlier this summer
completed another successful performance at a USA Hockey Camp.
Following the team's 1998 national-bound
year, the Warriors went on - in 1999 - to capture another NEHL title
during a memorable season in which the Warriors posted a 28-0-1 record
and scored 185 goals and allowed just 44 during that 29-game stretch.
Here is an article about Pinho and his decision to join Providence College, courtesy of The Eagle Tribune.
Squirt Minor thru U18 playing primarily with
Bill Franzese's 95 group that included Shane Eiserman
NORTH ANDOVER -- Great news apparently travels fast — faster than ever, it seems.
Just 20 minutes after making the decision to accept a hockey scholarship to Providence College yesterday, North Andover resident Brian Pinho was more than happy to share his thoughts on why he’s decided to become a Friar.
“I just really wanted to play Hockey East. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said the St. John’s Prep senior captain. “It’s a great school with a great business program and a hockey team that’s on the way up. It’s everything I wanted.”
The 17-year-old who started playing hockey in the North Andover Youth Hockey Association, who centers the top line for the Eagles, will likely play junior hockey after graduating from the Prep before matriculating to Providence in the fall of 2014. A strong senior season of high school hockey, however, could expediate his heading to Rhode Island.
The Catholic Conference all-star who was second on the Eagles last winter with 18 goals and 44 points. A smooth; skating playmaker, Pinho was courted by dozens of schools for his hockey prowess, and had narrowed his list of suitors down to 10: Northeastern, Boston College, UMass Lowell, Merrimack, Brown, Harvard, Yale, Holy Cross, Union and Providence.
This past weekend, the 6-foot, 175-pounder made his official visit to Providence and ended up leaving the school more impressed; than ever.
“I loved it,” he said. “The guys were great; there was a lot of camaraderie and great character. I knew some of their senior; players from watching them but didn’t know any of the players personally, but they made me feel like I was already part of the team. They’re really good guys.
“The coaches were great, too. Coach (Nate) Leaman (the Friars’ head coach) was awesome; he’s been great to me for a few months; now. I was actually just talking to my family advisor telling him I was choosing Providence, and two minutes later Coach Leaman; called to congratulate me.”
St. John’s Prep head coach Kristian Hanson, who has now seen three of his players commit to play at Division 1 schools in; the last three seasons (including Colin Blackwell, currently a sophomore at Harvard, and Boston University freshman Sam Kurker),; feels the Friars will be a perfect fit for Pinho.
“It’s great for Brian that he’ll be playing for Coach Leaman,” said Hanson. “Coach did a great job building up the program; at Union before coming to Providence (last season), and I’m confident he’ll build Providence back up, too.
“I spoke to a number of college coaches about Brian, and they always asked how he compared to Colin and Sam. It’s difficult; because he’s kind of a mix of the two; a great playmaker who can also score, strong in all three areas of the ice, someone; who can kill penalties but is also great on the power play. He’s very versatile, not to mention outstanding academically.”
Providence, which finished 14-20-4 last season (including 10-14-3 in Hockey East play), is in the process of redoing their; home rink, Schneider Arena. Pinho said that a new player’s lounge, new gymnasium and a shooter’s area will all be added to; modernize the hockey facility.
Another local player, defenseman Mark Adams of Boxford, plays for the Friars as well.
“I definitely wanted to make my decision before (the St. John’s Prep) hockey season started. It was a stressful process and; tough to make a decision; there were so many good options for me,” said Pinho, who could very well get selected in next June’s; NHL Entry Draft as well. “But I’m very happy with my choice; it feels good knowing I’m going to Providence.
“Now I’m focused on helping St. John’s win the Super 8 championship this winter and having a great senior season with my friends.; We’ve got a strong team, and I’m really excited for the season to start in a few months.”