(Editor’s note: Great Falls Americans release)
GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Americans of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) announced defenseman Nate Simpson committed to play college hockey and get his education in Missouri.
The 5-foot-10 native of Claremont, Calif. has made his commitment to play hockey at the collegiate level for Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo. beginning in the fall of 2019. Simpson, who played for the Great Falls Americans junior hockey team for the past two seasons (2017-2019), signed his letter of intent to play Division I club hockey for the Saints of head coach John Hogan.
Maryville University is a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and recently completed their inaugural season of competition. In November, they announced they will play in the newly-formed Midwest College League beginning in the 2019-20 season.
Marysville University, with an enrollment of more than 9,200 and 90 college degrees, will move into their new ice arena, the Marysville University Hockey Center at the Chesterfield SportsComplex in nearby Chesterfield, Missouri for the upcoming 2019-20 season
The 20-year-old Simpson, who turns 21 in July, spent the past two seasons playing for the Great Falls Americans where the left-handed defenseman scored eight goals and dished out 22 assists in 43 games during the 2018-19 season for first-year head coach Greg Sears. He was also selected and played at the 2019 Top Prospects Tournament for the Frontier Division squad that took place in Attleboro, Massachusetts in February.
The new college recruit enjoyed being selected to the Top Prospects Tournament and representing the Frontier Division at this year’s prestigious tournament in February. He cited “good competition and exposure” at the annual event that attracts many college scouts.
Great Falls finished with a 38-8-0-1 record in the 47-game regular season and advanced to the NA3HL playoffs where they downed the Bozeman Ice Dogs in their three-game Frontier Divisional semifinal round before bowing out in three games in the Frontier Divisional Finals to the Helena Bighorns.
In 2017-18, Simpson appeared in 40 games for former head coach Jeff Heimel’s squad in his first season in Great Falls where he gathered ten points (1 goal, 9 assists). He helped Great Falls finish second in the regular season standings (34-11-2-0) behind the Yellowstone Quake. The Americans fell in two games to the Helena Bighorns in the semifinal round of the 2018 NA3HL playoffs.
“Personally, I have gotten a lot better on the ice, increased my awareness on the ice and taken a leadership role in my second year for the Americans,” said Simpson when asked about his positive accomplishments with the Americans. “I was an assistant captain this season and enjoyed leading the team this season.”
Nate also mentioned he improved in each of his two seasons for the Americans including being a good skater and a better all-around player as he was able to get on the ice more which increased his playing time.
In addition to coaching the team, Coach Greg Sears also “prepared us (his players) for college and succeeding in life after hockey,” said the soon-to-be college freshman.
He looks forward to the college experience on and off the ice and the hockey atmosphere in St. Louis and plans on majoring in Criminology.
In February 2019, his Great Falls Americans teammate the past two seasons, Jens Juliussen also
signed with the Maryville University Saints after breaking the single season assists record for Great Falls with 59.
The former American hockey standout wanted to thank his billet families from both years (Fox’s and Boyer’s), the great fan base that came to the Americans games, the entire coaching staff and his fellow players.
Nate is the son of Steve and Cyndi Simpson.