The Flyers have just announced that top prospect and NCAA standout James van Riemsdyk has forgone his last two years of college to turn pro and sign a multi-year entry level deal with the Flyers that won’t begin until next season. van Riemsdyk could play as soon as tonight with the Phantoms, on a try out contract.
“We are pleased to have James in the fold and look forward to monitoring his development more closely,” said Holmgren. “It was a difficult decision for James to leave school, but we both believed that it was in his best interest to do so. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the University of New Hampshire, and in particular, Coach Dick Umile and his staff for not only their understanding but their dedicated work with James over the last two seasons.”
According to sources, JVR was wavering on his decision to turn pro, but decided to after consulting with his personal adviser and family. JVR made the decision shortly after University of New Hampshire was knocked out of the NCAA postseason by Boston University.
“Obviously, this is a thrill of a lifetime,” said van Riemsdyk. “This is a day I have been dreaming about ever since I got drafted by the Flyers. Just to have this opportunity is something I am really grateful for.”
At 6’3, 205 lbs., JVR is a premier power forward, with hands to match. The Flyers want him to get stronger and more aggressive, something Phantoms’ coach John Paddock will be able to help with.
The Middletown, N.J. native scored 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games in his sophmore season with the Wildcats.
“I thought the sooner I made this decision the better it would be for all parties involved. Since I’ve decided to leave school, I’ve told the UNH coaching staff and everyone else early on so they will have more time to fill my spot there,” said JVR. “I just thought signing at this point would help me get my feet wet a little bit in the professional game and start working on some things that I want to improve upon. Obviously, this is a huge jump in level of play. I know I am going to have to work hard and basically that is what I am expecting. I am going to work hard and learn a lot from this experience.”
The Phantoms play the Albany River Rats tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.