The Topeka RoadRunners, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce veteran forward Jake Lynes has committed to play NCAA Division I college hockey next season for the Sacred Heart Pioneers. The campus is located in Fairfield, CT and the hockey team competes in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Lynes was born into a hockey family in Rochester Hills, MI, and later relocated to Ellicott City, MD. His father had played Division I college hockey for the University of Miami – Ohio Redhawks and readily passed his love of the game to his children. “We were all in skates as soon as we could walk”, Lynes recalls. Older brother Luke played in the Ontario Hockey League and was drafted by the NHL’s Washington Capitals. He went on to win two national championships with University of New Brunswick in Canada. Younger brother Zach is playing for the DC Caps in the Midwest Elite league.
For Jake, who admired and aspired to emulate Jason Spezza as a youth, his path took him from Team Maryland to the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and finally to Topeka in a trade deadline deal near the end of the 2010-11 season. He closed out the regular season with 15 goals and 22 assists, good for fifth on the team in scoring, and was third on the team in plus-minus at +14. He also lifted his team with two game winning goals in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs.
Earlier this season, Lynes played on the South team at the 2012 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February in Troy, Michigan. He registered an assist in the three games played.
His decision to attend Sacred Heart was a relatively easy one. “Sacred Heart is looking to add more scoring next year and I am excited to work and hopefully help with that my freshman year. Also, I like that I am only 6 hours away from home and will be able to see my family more.” While he hasn’t yet settled on a major, he acknowledges he “will most likely proceed with a business program.”
Asked about his experience in Topeka, Lynes reflected, “It’s really all about the feeling of family here. From ownership to the coaches and everyone involved, there is a strong feeling of togetherness.” He notes that being a RoadRunner has had a positive effect on his life. “Since I arrived in Topeka I have become a better player with all the help the coaches have given me through video, practice and all the extra work. I also feel that the Roadrunner organization has helped me to mature and grow as a person which will help me through college.” He added, “I want to thank the Stone family (owners) as well as Coach (Scott) Langer and Coach (Harry) Mahood for giving me every tool I need to succeed and making me a better player and person. Also my teammates for pushing me and making me the player I am. And certainly my housing family and brothers Dan Dupell and Brian Christie for being just like a family the past two years.”
Sacred Heart University enrolls 3,500 undergraduates. The Pioneers hockey team plays in the 8,400 seat Webster Bank Arena. Lynes is the sixth member of the RoadRunners current roster to make Division I hockey plans, joining Ben Bahe and Brian Christie (Merrimack College), Andrew O’Leary (Army), Chris Bond (University of Connecticut) and Peter Traber (Harvard). Injured forward Robbie Davis and alumni forward Patrick Kirtland both also have committed to the University of Connecticut.