Englewood native, Cherry Creek alum Caputo wraps USPHL junior career with college commitment
Joey Caputo joined the Decatur Blaze at the start of 2021 and promptly fit right in with the club.
Now, more than four months later, Caputo is making the jump to college hockey as the 2000 birth year from Englewood has committed to play for the University of Rhode Island next season.
“The coach at Rhode Island, Joe Augustine, really solidified the deal for me,” said Caputo. “He is a great ‘old school’ kind of coach, which I am a huge fan of, and has a great network of both past and present players.”
Augustine played NCAA Division I hockey at Boston College and was later a draft pick of the Atlanta Flames back in 1975 and a WHA selection of the Cleveland Crusaders that same year.
Coming to the Blaze in a trade with the Hampton Roads Whalers, Caputo collected seven goals and 19 points in 14 games with Decatur.
“We loved the energy Joey brought to the team,” said Blaze coach-GM Zac Pearson. “He really found his role here and made everyone around him better. He’s a great addition to URI and we certainly wish him all the luck in the world.”
“Decatur was an amazing opportunity for me to grow small skills and work on my special teams’ game,” added Caputo. “My season with Decatur was an interesting and fun one and started it off with a lower-body injury that I learned to work through. Ended the season really well with a decent number of points. I loved playing with Decatur. The guys on the team and the coaching staff were both amazing to be around.”
Next season, Caputo hopes to be a second- or third-line forward for the Rams. In the classroom, he’s eyeing a major in Psychology and Economics.
“I hope to help build team spirit around campus and try to get more and more students to come to the games,” said Caputo.
Back home in Colorado, Caputo skated for the Littleton Hawks and at Cherry Creek High School.
“Those coaches on those teams such as Jeff Schneider, Terry Ott, Alex Beckman, and of course, my father, really helped push my hockey basics and helped teach me the true game of hockey,” said Caputo. “With Cherry Creek, I was a sophomore on a varsity team and that helped further my hockey career and understanding of the speed of the game going forward. Jeff Mielnicki gave me the opportunity to get in touch with junior teams to help further my career.”
In choosing to commit to Rhode Island, Caputo said he didn’t achieve everything he has to this point without help and support along the way, especially from his parents, Robin and Dominic.
“I would start off by thanking my mother and father for putting in the many hours of their time and effort to help me get to where I wanted to be with college, as well as my first travel coach Jeff Schneider who has helped me learn the basics of hockey and my skating stride,” said Caputo. “I would also like to thank my first junior coach RC Lyke. He is someone that pushed me to be better and taught me about the hockey world. I also can’t forget Zac Pearson for letting me on his team so late and giving me an opportunity to grow when I felt lost in hockey.
“I would also like to thank my advisor Daniel Pitman who has been with me throughout my junior career and gave me all of my opportunities with junior teams.”
This offseason, Caputo said his plans include training every day for the upcoming season.
“I will also be working with old training coaches of mine such as Mark Popovic and Matt Frick,” noted Caputo. “Both of these coaches have pushed my hockey training and career to the next level.”
— Matt Mackinder
(May 13, 2021)