LINCOLN, Neb. - Incoming Lincoln Stars forward Josh Lopina has announced his commitment to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, a NCAA Division I program in the Hockey East, for the 2020-21 season.
“My family and I talked it over, and we think that UMass is the best place for me,” said Lopina. “It’s a great organization, has great coaches, and I can’t wait for my future there. I’m excited.”
Lopina, 17, was selected 135th overall (9th Round) by the Stars in the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft following his first season of midgets with the Chicago Mission. During the 2017-18 season, the Minooka, Ill., native totaled five goals and five assists for 10 points through 18 games with the Mission U16 squad. Prior to being drafted, Lopina tallied seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points through 20 games with the Mission U15 team in the 2016-17 season. This summer, the 6-foot-2, 163-pound forward was invited to the 2018 USA Hockey National Player Development Camp in the Boys Select 17 group.
UMass Amherst began as an agricultural college in 1863 and has grown to become the flagship campus for the University of Massachusetts system with over 30,000 students. The hockey program has a long history with its beginnings in 1908 stretching through today, which includes an appearance in the 2007 NCAA Quarterfinals after winning their first tournament game against Clarkson. In their second season under coach Greg Carvel, the Minutemen posted their highest win total since 2009-10 in a competitive Hockey East conference.
“It’s a bigger school with a good environment. I’m interested in studying business, and they have one of the best business schools in America. I have nothing but good things to say about Coach Carvel, [Coach Ben] Barr and [Coach Jared] DiMichiel. They preach a really good culture, and they’re only getting better as an organization. Their future is going to be bright, and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Lopina becomes the second incoming player to commit to a NCAA Division I program prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, joining defenseman Logan Britt (Quinnipiac). Last year, the Stars concluded the season with 20 players committed to a collegiate program. With his commitment secured, Lopina wants to prove he earned that recognition moving into his junior career.
“It puts me in another group of elite players that are already in the USHL with commitments, and it puts a target on my back. I’ve got to step up, honor that commitment, and show that it’s proven that I should be committed.”
The Stars open the 2018-19 home schedule on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the Omaha Lancers. Enjoy All You Can Eat Hockey with free parking at the Ice Box with a full or partial season membership! Call 402-474-7827 or order online at www.LincolnStars.com to lock in your membership to Lincoln’s best value entertainment!