AMARILLO, TX – For most athletes, their path to the NCAA is very different. Some are straight and narrow, some go through ups and downs, while others go through much adversity to accomplish their goal.
Louis Helsen has had an incredible journey the past three seasons in junior hockey from Odessa and Wichita Falls, Texas, recovering from a major injury, to moving up to the Coulee Region in Wisconsin, to coming back to Texas – and being named Team Captain of the Amarillo Bulls. Now the Dallas, Texas native will begin a new path as an NCAA Athlete.
The Amarillo Bulls, proud members of the North American Hockey League, announced today (Tuesday) his NCAA College Commitment to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Division I. ECAC Hockey.
“It just shows that everyone’s path is different,” Helsen said. “You can write a book about it, and it’s been pretty crazy the path I have taken. But God has a plan.”
Helsen has appeared in every Bulls’ game this season, 58 of the team’s 60, and has notched three goals and 15 assists for 18 points, and 20 penalty minutes. Helsen began his junior career with the Odessa Jackalopes and the Wichita Falls Wildcats before suffering a major lower body injury. Last season, he appeared in 48 games with the former Coulee Region Chill.
“We are extremely proud to announce Louis’ commitment to RPI, and excited for him and his family,” said Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo. “He is the Captain of our team and a true example of what we hope our Amarillo Bulls player to be.
“His leadership, work ethic and commitment to the excellence of the entire organization is what makes him such an important part of our success all season. Louis will be a tremendous addition to Coach Smith’s team as well as an excellent student at RPI.”
Helsen said it’s an incredible opportunity to go to a prestigious school like RPI, and couldn’t have done it without his teammates.
“To play Division I hockey was a plan of mine since I was a little kid and to fulfil my dream is amazing,” he said. “I’m excited about the academics, hockey has brought me into this. I get a great education and it’s going to be fun.”
Helsen said he owes the opportunity at RPI so many different people.
“God, my family, mom and dad, they have supported me since day one,” he said. “I owe this opportunity to this team, my teammates and the city of Amarillo.”
Louis Helsen (RPI) joins Logan Jenuwine (Arizona State), Gabriel Seger (Union College), Brett Abdelnour (Army-West Point), Jason Grande (Bentley), Justin Evenson (Army-West Point), Nick Anderson (Colgate), Alex Peterson (Holy Cross), Brenden Datema (Michigan Tech), Jason Brancheau (Ferris State) and John Pesek (St. Thomas) as Bulls player on the 2019-20 roster to make their NCAA College Commitments.
The Amarillo Bulls close out the regular season before playoffs this weekend when they take on the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. Tune into the action live on 107.1 Nash Icon, www.amarillobulls.com/listen and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Fit Omni Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm on Friday and Saturday. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action at 7:11 pm.
The Robertson Cup Playoffs return to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 when the Amarillo Bulls host the first two games of the South Division Semi-Final Series against either the Corpus Christi IceRays or the Topeka Pilots. Tickets will be available starting on Monday, April 8th. For further information visit the Bulls Office at 301 South Polk or call 242-1122.