Jack Lee Commits to Nichols College

Jack Lee is already gearing up for college hockey as the Worcester Railers Junior Hockey Club forward has announced his commitment to play for Nichols College for the Spring 2023 semester. 

Lee, who leaves the Railers at second in points with 22, joins the 4-7-0 Bison, an NCAA Division 3 program who play in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Levy Rink in Harrisville, Rhode Island is where the team calls home. He joins his teammate from last year’s Railers squad, Damon Dulac, now a freshman at Nichols who told Lee it would be a good fit. 

“There were a lot of things about Nichols that piqued my interest,” Lee said. “They have a great business school which fits my major. It’s not far from Worcester so I feel familiar with the area. They play in the CCC which is a very competitive conference,  and I had heard great things from a former teammate (Dulac)  who plays there and also great things about their coaching staff.”

Jack had a handful of offers, both from last season and this current season and already had several visits throughout October and November, however he “fell in love” with Nichols. 

“I got a strong feeling that it was a place that I would be successful at academically,” he explains. “Seeing their locker room, arena and gym, I felt the same way. It was a feeling of immediate comfortability for me.”

Nichols head coach Alex Gacek, whom Lee had spoken to several times before his visit, was just as helpful with the accelerated enrollment process. 

“After getting accepted and checking all the boxes my family, coaches, and teammates were all super supportive which really made the decision-making process both easier and enjoyable,” Lee said.

Lee is thankful for the efforts of Railers head coach Sean Bertoni, who emphasized that Lee finding a place where he would be “happy and successful” was most important. Coach Bertoni has little doubt in Lee’s capabilities.

“I have seen Jack Lee grow on and off the ice over the past two years,” Bertoni said. “Jack is a tremendous competitor. He has great quickness and speed, his feet are always moving. He generated a lot off the rush and can finish around the net. Jack would be the first to the rink every day and is always looking to get better. 

“Coach A (Railers GM Mike Addesa who passed away in late November) was also someone who impacted Jack in a positive way and helped him throughout the college process. He made Jack a better person and player, I am not sure Jack is the player he has become if not for Coach A.”

Mid-season commitments are less common, which added an emotional element to Lee’s decision.

 “I obviously love the Railers Organization. I see every coach and player as a close friend so going to college mid-season meant leaving them, which was hard to think about, but every guy on the team expressed their support and they all wanted me to be happy with the decision which was great,” he said.

Lee, a native of Illinois, played for the Railers EHL club for the entire 21-22 season, where he registered 36 points in 36 games. He rejoined the team in early October of this year, believing that the “Railers was where (he) was supposed to be.” He currently sits third all time in points for the Railers, 12 shy of the all-time record. 

Growing up, Lee played for different organizations in his home state, spending several seasons with the Team Illinois AAA teams. Although he hadn’t originally intended on playing junior hockey on the East coast, he’s more than grateful for his time with the Railers.

“The Railers organization has helped me in every aspect of my life,” he said. “On the ice, I believe they have prepared me for college hockey more than I could’ve ever imagined. Off the ice, they have helped me mature which has also helped prepare me for the responsibilities that come with college.”

Ever diligent, the off-ice opportunities entice him as well.

“I am really looking forward to getting back to being a full time student,” Lee said. “I have taken online college courses throughout my junior career but being in class and having a full schedule is definitely exciting to me.”

And Lee is certainly eager to begin the next chapter of his hockey career. He can’t wait to meet his new teammates and learn the college game. He has now accomplished a long time dream of his.

 “Playing NCAA hockey has been such a big goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” the Railers forward said. “I feel so prepared to jump into it thanks to the Railers and how much they have helped me get my game to the level it needs to be at.”