After one last independent season, the Sun Devils are set to join the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC). Arizona State University announced over the summer that they will move into the NCHC for the 2024-25 season. The team will remain independent for the 2023-24 season. Arizona State’s hockey program has played independently for the past eight seasons and has made a lot of progress. After posting an 18-21-0 record in their first playing inside Mullett Arena, the Sun Devils face another challenging schedule ahead.
Mullett Arena will be rocking as Arizona State takes on Merrimack College in its first two official games of the season October 13th and 14th. Merrimack was one of the best teams in college hockey last season with a record of 23-14-1 good enough for second place in the Hockey East. This year's other competitive matchups for the Sun Devils include the University of Denver, Univeristy of Cornell, Northern Michigan University, and Providence College.
The Sun Devils have some shoes to fill as its two top scorers have signed entry-level contracts with NHL teams. Josh Doan–son of Coyotes legend, Shane Doan, was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the second-round of the 2021 NHL Draft. Doan was nearly a point-per-game player, tallying 38 points in 39 games this past season. Doan spent the last half of the season in Tucson with the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate team. The next player is Robert Mastrosimone–drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second-round of the 2019 NHL Draft was recently signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mastrosimone led Arizona State in scoring with 42 points in 38 games played.
With the departure of these key players from the team, look for the following players to fill their slot: Ty Jackson, Dylan Jackson, and Alex Young. The Jackson twins look to have another point-productive season on the offensive front for the Sun Devils this season. They scored a combined 44 points last season. Alex Young–a name that not many ASU hockey fans will recognize but has shown the potential to show up on the score sheet. The transfer from Collgate University totaled 39 points in 40 games last season. Young was selected in the seventh-round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks. Entering his senior season on a new team, look for the same scoring numbers from Young.
TJ Semptimphelter looks like he’ll get the nod between the pipes for Coach Power’s team this upcoming season. Semptimphelter, entering his junior season, went 15-21-0 last season, posting a 2.84 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. ASU has a solid starter in net for the next two seasons.
The recently named captain of the Sun Devils this season is Tyler Gratton. The graduate student transferred from Penn State University scoring seven goals and eight assists, for a total of 15 points last season for Nittany Lions. The 6’2” forward brings a physical play style and experience being an assistant captain at Penn State his senior year.
Arizona State will play in the Adirnodack Winter Invitational and the Desert Hockey Classic in the months of Decmeber and January. The Adirnodack Winter Invitational will take place in Lake Placid, New York, where the “Miracle on Ice” occurred. The games will take place on Decmeber 29th and 30th. The Sun Devils wil host the Desert Hockey Classic at Mullett Arena on January 5th and 6th. Opponents and puck drops for both tournaments haven’t been named yet.
For Sun Devil Hockey it’s another year to develop its players for the leap to the NCHC the following year for the 2024-25 season.