PHOTO CREDIT: JUSTINA YOST
Dennis Ruppe is headed for the NCAA. The ’97 birthyear from Livingston, New Jersey has committed to Becker College in Worcester, MA. Ruppe has spent two years with the JRFlyers and the biggest one being the 2016-17 season when the JRFlyers won the EHL Championship. Ruppe was one of only two players to return to the JRFlyers for the 2017-18 season.
Along with development on and off the ice, the main goal of junior hockey is to send players to College. As mentioned before, Ruppe saw plenty of action in the two years with the JRFlyers, and he reflected on his time with the orange and black. “My two years with the JRFlyers came with a lot of ups and downs. My first year I came in and got hurt pretty early in the season but was able to come back and be part of an EHL Championship run that I'll never forget. That group of guys was incredible, and it'll be hard to replicate that ever again. My second year didn't go as planned, ending early with another injury, but I learned a lot last year. The JRFlyers have been very supportive of me as a person and player the last two years. I wouldn't trade my time there for anything. All of the coaches have been great for me the past two years. Jerry (Domish) broke everything down for us, my first two weeks on the team. Basically, taught us how to play all over again. I learned more in those two weeks then I had in two years before that. The biggest thing I learned about my time with the JRFlyers as a hockey player was to play within yourself. Know who you are as a player and stay in that role, don't try to be something you're not.”
Ruppe came to the JRFlyers in 2016-17 and was part of the Championship team and learned a lot from the teams’ veterans. The 2017-18 season, it was Ruppe’s turn to pay it back as he was named Alternate Captain by his teammates. “It was great to be put in a bigger role this season. I've always felt the more I play the better I play. It was awesome that Jerry had that trust in me this year, having me play on two lines at once sometimes. He allowed me to be more creative and I was able to produce a lot more then my first year. As a second-year guy, I tried to do what a lot of the older guys did for me my first year. Be a leader on and off the ice and provide a buffer between the coaches and the players, giving them someone to come to if they didn't want to go to the coaches. I had been in their shoes before, junior hockey is as tough mentally as it is physically, so I tried my best to help them out.”
Head Coach Jerry Domish saw Ruppe grow over the past two years and is very excited for him to start his career in the NCAA. “Dennis came to us two years ago after be let go by the Little Flyers. In his first year he played a solid role as a 3rd line center and supplied great defense with some timely scoring. In his second year he took his game to the next level and became a very good scorer who could help carry a team. His poise with the puck, vision and hockey sense really developed. We really missed his presence after he was injured. He was a great leader from an on ice example to the locker room where he showed the rookies what it takes to become an elite player in this league. He is now a complete player and I feel they (Becker) are very lucky to have him. He is not just a great player who will do whatever is asked of him, but he is a great young man who any team would be lucky to have in their program.
While attending Becker, Ruppe will pursue studies in Exercise Science, but also has his goals set for the action one the ice. “I want to go to Becker and compete from day one, making an impact anyway I can. Overall though, I want to go in and receive a great education and play high level hockey. I want to play as long as I can and hope to turn my experience at Becker College into a college coaching job one day.”
College hockey is the next step for Ruppe, but he made sure that he thanked everyone who helped him along the way. “First, I have to thank my parents. Thanks for all the sacrifices you've made to get me to this point, allowing me to follow my passion even though it wasn't always easy. I want to thank all my coaches over the years, from my youth days with the NJ Rockets to Jerry (Domish), Jerramie (Domish), and Jason (Kilcoyne) here with Jr Flyers. Thanks for believing in me and giving me a chance to compete every day. To all my friends and teammates, thanks for all the memories over the years. I want to thank all my teammates over the past two years for helping me get to this point today. To the championship team, thanks for creating memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to Cody Murch who I billeted with my first year and get me sane while I was rehabbing my leg. To this year’s team, I need to mention Drew Platt, Dakota Delbridge, and Marko Bohatiuk, you guys became brothers to me and we'll be friends for a very long time. To the rest of the team, I'm sorry it didn't go as planned, but we became a family and I'd do anything for you boys.”
Congrats Dennis on a successful junior hockey career. Not only have you shown what JRFlyers hockey is all about, but you’ve etched your name in history forever by helping the JRFlyers capture the Championship. Thank you for all your hard work, and dedication. From all of us here with the JRFlyers we wish you luck and continued success in your College journey.
By: Joe Sindoni
Director of Broadcasting
Play by Play Announcer