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James van Riemsdyk: The college experience

After going second overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft, James van Riemsdyk is honing his skills at UNH. (Getty Images)

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After going second overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft, James van Riemsdyk is honing his skills at UNH. (Getty Images)

By James van Riemsdyk

After having a very exciting and eventful summer, including the NHL draft, my first Flyers training camp and the U.S. world junior evaluation camp, I was looking forward for a new challenge in going to the University of New Hampshire.

I had committed to go to UNH so long ago and I couldn’t believe the day was finally here where I would head up to Durham, N.H. After packing up my bags, my dad, mom, two brothers and I, started our drive from Middletown, N.J. to UNH. After arriving at UNH, I began to start getting settled into my dorm room. I met my roommate Phil DeSimone, a 2007 Washington Capitals draft pick, for the first time and we immediately hit it off.

After meeting most of the guys on the team and getting classes started, I was raring to start hockey-related activities. We had captains practice a few times a week as well as morning weight lifting and conditioning sessions. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in some of these things due to a minor medical procedure I had right after the start of school.

My daily schedule has consisted of a morning workout followed by about three hours of class, then a practice in the late afternoon. I spend most of my spare time doing homework and playing NHL (’08) with my roommate.

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Leading up to our first game, practice got a little more intense and lengthy under coach Dick Umile. Everyone was fired up to get the season started and working hard in practice. Stepping onto the ice at Whittemore Center for the first game was something I had been waiting for a very long time. I got chills skating onto the ice for the start of the game against Boston University. We ended up winning 4-1.

The atmosphere at the games was second to none and being part of that UNH tradition is very exciting. Every game pulling on that UNH sweater has been an honor and a privilege. Being at UNH has been a great experience and every day is exciting.

Left-winger James van Riemsdyk was the second overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL entry draft. A native of Middletown, N.J., he spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) in Michigan and is now in his freshman season with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats of the NCAA’s Hockey East conference. He has agreed to write a regular blog for thehockeynews.com this season.

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