(Editor’s note: University of Providence Athletics Media Release)
GREAT FALLS – And so it begins. Five months after announcing the addition of Men’s Ice Hockey as a varsity sport at the University of Providence, the newly formed program has signed its first recruit. The honor of being the first even Argo hockey player goes to a member of the local hockey community in Great Falls with Jamison McLain, a member of the Great Falls American’s High School team being the first to sign.
“It’s pretty exciting. I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s kind of overwhelming,” McLain said after signing. “I didn’t know that this was something I could do right out of high school. Every kid wants to be that hometown hero and now I can be because there’s a college hockey team here.”
McLain was recruited by UP Head Coach Jeff Heimel who is already deeply rooted in the Great Falls hockey community as the coach of the Great Falls Americans Junior A Hockey team for the past six seasons. While Heimel and Assistant Coach Chris Kaufman, a former Americans player himself, have been working diligently to sign a large class of players to populate the team’s roster for the inaugural season in 2018-19, starting the recruiting class with a local player was particularly intriguing.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better. I think our goal since day one has been to foster development amongst youth hockey here and all the way up,” Heimel said. “To see that there’s an opportunity for a local player to come and play hockey here and not just an opportunity, but he’s ready to step in and be successful here, is very, very exciting.”
Over the past three years with the Americans high school squad, McLain has averaged over 1 point per game, with 34 career goals and 34 career assists in 65 contests. He has scored 2 or more points in eight of the team’s last 10 games including three games with 2 goals. The high school senior also spent some time practicing with Heimel coached juniors team and proved he can hang with the older, more experienced players.
Not only is McLain a solid signing for the new Argo program regardless of chronology, the milestone of having the first player committed to the team is a big
“We’ve been working hard to recruit a solid hockey team and to start to see some of those applications turn into actual players here is exciting,” Heimel said.
“It’s good to see momentum build. As the juniors’ seasons come to a conclusion we’re looking forward to more signees. There’s no turning back now.”