The New Jersey 87’s are proud to announce that Aleks Gamzatov has committed to play Division III hockey at New England College for the 2023-2024 season.
Gamzatov, a 20-year-old forward from Novgorod, Russia, played the 2022-23 season with the 87’s EHL team. In 37 regular-season games, he recorded 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points. He also scored three goals in three postseason games.
Head coach Adam Houli spoke about Gamzatov’s contributions both on and off the ice.
“He’s a tremendous human being and a really fun personality off the ice. It was really nice to get to know him and also expand my own understanding of foreign players. He had played quite a bit in the U.S. but was still able to show some different things in our game here,” Houli said. “He brought a lot of what we were able to do, very skilled with the puck, he’s going to have a good college career and I’m excited that he’s an 87 to do it.”
New England College is a Division III school located in Henniker, NH. Competing in the New England Hockey Conference, the Pilgrims are led by head coach Tom Carroll.
Gamzatov discussed what it means to commit to New England College.
“I am looking forward to the next step in my life. New England college offers me the opportunity to continue to play the game I love while pursuing my college degree,” he said.
Throughout the season, Gamzatov was a mainstay on the top line and meshed well with Kyle Folkerson and Charles Lavoie. He was also a big part of the 87’s power play in the 2022-23 season, recording three goals and 10 assists on the man advantage.
In the EHL college series, Gamzatov scored the game-winning shootout goal as the All-Stars upset Nazareth College, making it the second time the league has upset a Division III opponent in an exhibition game.
When speaking of Gamzatov’s commitment, Houli also praised his ability to adapt to the Eastern Hockey League and its differences compared to other leagues.
“He was very happy and respectful of what our league was. He knew it was going to be a challenging year, he was averaging 60 or 70 points where he was, and he knew that wasn’t going to be the case here. But he wanted to push himself and get himself in the best position to play college hockey and be prepared. And that’s why he was really happy to be in New Jersey and we were happy to have him, because he understood what he was getting himself into. That was very much a mature way to look at it, so when we added him to our lineup, we were very happy,” Houli said.
Gamzatov spoke about his time with the 87’s and his development throughout the 2022-23 season.
“I am very thankful to the New Jersey 87’s, who helped me grow as a two-way player, supported me through injuries and rehab, and gave me the opportunity to represent the team in the college All-Star game,” he said.
The 87’s organization would like to congratulate Aleks and his family as he prepares to advance his hockey career to the Division III collegiate level.