Stars forward Patrick Raftery has announced his commitment to the University of Maine, an NCAA Division I program in the Hockey East Association.
“We are proud to announce Patrick’s commitment to the University of Maine,” Stars head coach Rocky Russo said. “He was a dynamic player for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season and we expect him to step in and be a big contributor to the Stars family moving forward. His compete level, decision-making and ability to create offense makes him a difference-maker every time he steps on the ice. More importantly, he is a young man of extremely high character. He is a selfless young man that will be a tremendous addition to the Lincoln community and our organization.”
Raftery, 17, most recently played with the Colorado Thunderbirds program at the 16U level, registering eight points in 13 games. He also appeared in three games with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League, potting two assists.
“The University of Maine has always been a dream school of mine,” Raftery said. “I have family up there and have been there multiple times. It’s an amazing place with great scenery and amazing people. When they started showing interest, I was beyond myself in excitement.”
The Centennial, CO native’s excitement ramped up as the recruitment process accelerated.
“The two coaches I spoke with, Ben Barr and Jason Fortier, are both amazing,” Raftery continued. “Coach Fortier actually came out to Colorado and coached a couple of our practices, and it was great. When Coach Barr called me, I was completely sold on Maine afterward. The principles he believes in for a team and his history of winning are great ingredients for a successful head coach down the line. He is a winner and has the ability to make any place a national championship-caliber team. And on top of all of this, nothing compares to the Alfond MadHouse. The atmosphere in the rink on game days is among the best in college hockey. The fans are unbelievable, which is important to me. Maine just seemed like the perfect fit and I could not be happier with my decision.“
Raftery was selected in the 10th round (143rd overall) by the Stars in the 2020 USHL Futures Draft. He describes himself as a 200-foot player who contributes at both ends of the rink, modeling his game after Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.
“Whether it is blocking a shot or getting a big hit on the defensive end or using my speed to create chances offensively, I never allow myself to give up on a play and will always give maximum effort,” Raftery explained.
Last week, his experience at Lincoln’s main camp allowed him to showcase his progression while playing alongside Stars returners Aidan Thompson and Gleb Veremyev. The future Black Bear scored a goal and added an assist in the second All-Star game on Thursday.
“I had an awesome experience and felt as though it could not have gone better for me as a player,” Raftery said. “I felt great on the ice and felt as though my game was at the best it has been. The returners could not have been nicer to me. I can not wait to get back to Lincoln and play in front of the amazing fans!”
The Black Bears roster currently consists of two Stars alums who played in Lincoln during the 2019-20 season: Brad Morrissey and Connor Androlewicz. The University of Maine men’s team has won two national championships in their history (1993, 1999) and last qualified for the National Tournament in 2012.