Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Ryder Brophy has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Lone Star (TX) Brahmas.
The 18-year old western Pennsylvania native, who is a graduate of Franklin Area High School in Franklin, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 squad, Brophy previously skated for a pair of seasons with the U16 Esmark Stars.
Brophy, who was tendered by Lone Star last season and participated with that club at their main camp this season, was returned to Esmark at the beginning of November as the Brahmas began having players returned to them from various Junior and Collegiate teams experiencing issues with the Covid-19 Pandemic.
"Ryder got caught in the tsunami of players moving backward who were looking to find opportunities to play because of the Pandemic," Esmark Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick said.
"Several leagues and teams ... including both USHL and NCAA Division I and III teams ... have chosen to delay starting this season or not play at all during the 2020-2021 season. This has created a tremendous glut of players, many of which has returned to NAHL clubs. And that has impacted many of the young players trying to make the jump to Juniors," he added.
"But I have zero doubt that Brophy will play Juniors ... it just will take a little longer for that to happen," Kosick offered.
During the 2019-2020 season, Brophy (6'1", 190 lbs.) tallied 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists), including one power-play and one shorthanded goal, in 16 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) regular season games and 6 points (5 goals, 1 assist) in five NAPHL Dixon Cup Playoff Games. Brophy was also selected to participate in the 2019-202 NAPHL All-Star game and scored a goal for Team Warroad. Overall last season he led the Stars in scoring and goals scored, as he recorded 106 points (51 goals, 55 assists), including 10 power-play goals and 2 shorthanded goals, in 63 games played. He helped lead the AAA 18U Stars to the Mid-American District Championship and a spot as District Champions in the 2020 USA Hockey 18U Tier I National Championships.
During the 2018-19 NAPHL 16U season, he registered 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists), in 20 overall North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games, including three power play goals. Overall, he recorded 70 points (34 goals, 36 assists), including 6 power-play goals and one shorthanded goal in 53 games.
During the 2017-18 NAPHL season, Brophy registered 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists), in 21 overall 16U AAA league games. He also helped guide Esmark to the Tier I Mid-American District Championship at 16U and a spot at the USA Hockey 16U Tier I National Championships.
In limited play so far this season, Brophy has posted four points (two goals, two assists) in 8 games played.
"Ryder has clearly demonstrated without question that he is among the best 18U players in the country," Kosick added.
"He has worked his backside off over the course of the last three years and that has resulted in considerable interest and multiple offers from several NAHL teams. The Pandemic has thrown him a curveball, which he has accepted, so he has re-focused himself on continuing to improve his game and skill set in preparation for the next step."