Only one goalie in the USPHL Premier’s six-year history has seen more time in net than Blake Mons. From 2019 through this past season, Mons played for the former Charleston Colonials and then the Tampa Bay Juniors. He made Nationals trips with both organizations, including this year with the Juniors.
So, there’s nothing new about a four-year journey in hockey, coming up on the start of his NCAA hockey career at New England College in Henniker, N.H.
“Those four years went by quickly and I enjoyed my time in the USPHL Premier,” said Mons, a native of Charleston, S.C. Mons played in 81 games, second to former Minnesota Mullet (and current College of St. Scholastica) goalie Jack Bostedt’s 97.
“I feel the two best divisions in the league are in the Southeast and Florida divisions. The majority of the games I played were from those two divisions so we were always in very competitive games providing me with the much-needed work and the challenge to help improve my game.”
He first began talking with New England College coaches in February.
“They saw me again play at Nationals and then reached out to me personally after the season ended,” said Mons. “I really liked that the rink was on campus and that the team plays in one of the most competitive divisions in NCAA Division III.”
Not long ago, after his second Nationals campaign came to an end, Mons was able to make the trip to view NEC for himself, and for his family.
“I was able to visit the school the middle of April. I really liked the small town feel it had. Everything was within walking distance. The small class sizes were also very appealing,” added Mons, who is enrolled in NEC’s Sports Management program. “All three coaches I met seemed very nice and have a wealth of hockey knowledge so I look forward to working with them. The added bonus was that I have a good chance to play college golf for the school also!”
Mons posted 26 wins with Tampa Bay, a little more than half the 43 that rank him third all time in that category. He gave a lot of credit to former Juniors Assistant/Goalie Coach Rett Vossler, who is now the head coach for the new Bold City Battalion in Jacksonville.
“I enjoyed my two seasons in Tampa Bay. The facility [AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel] is awesome and all the coaches and staff were all top level and great to work with,” said Mons. “Coach Rett was very instrumental in helping my game improve. Having an assistant coach who was also a professional goalie was the main reason I went to Tampa. I have always had elite goaltending coaches growing up, but Rett was able to refine some holes in my game and help simplify things for me in my movements. I was fortunate to have played with a lot of players from all over the world and created lifelong friends. I will always cherish my time playing for TBJ!!”
”Blake deserves this opportunity” commented Coach Strot. ”Blake was a hard worker and competitor, but most of all Blake will bring great character to both the team and the school!”
What lies ahead before the end of summer’s trip back to Henniker to start his college life at New England College? Plenty of more refinements.
“I will continue to work on my speed and strength both on and off the ice. I will continue to focus on my crease work and handling the puck during my summer training,” Mons said. “I am fortunate here in Charleston to have professional instruction during the summer, providing very competitive skates with all the pro guys that live here and train in the off-season.”
The Tampa Bay Juniors and the USPHL congratulates Blake Mons, his family, the Tampa Bay Juniors and New England College for his commitment.
(D Dunn contributed to this story)