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After four-year NCAA D-III career, Colorado Springs’ Vaughan off to pro hockey with FPHL’s Prowlers

 

Jake Vaughan spent two seasons playing NCAA Division III hockey for Connecticut College and another two skating for Saint Mary’s.

Now, the Colorado Springs native has moved on to the professional hockey ranks, signing last week with the FPHL’s Port Huron Prowlers.

“The opportunity with Port Huron came out of nowhere, honestly,” said Vaughan. “I got a call three weeks after my college season had ended, and it definitely took me by surprise. Just goes to show you never know who’s watching, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to continue to play the game at the next level. I am very thankful for the opportunity that the coaching staff here is giving me.”

“It’s exciting to add high-quality college players at this time of the year,” added Prowlers general manager Matt Graham. “We’ve been looking for the right college players to bring in and (Vaughan) was high on our list. I’m excited to see what he does with the opportunity. He will add good energy to our roster, and I expect we will get more out of the guys who have been here as well.”

Vaughan scored his first pro goal in his second game, scoring March 29 as the Prowlers beat the Binghamton Black Bears 4-1 on home ice at McMorran Arena. Vaughan was also named first star of the game.

“Being able to score my first as a professional this early into my journey was an awesome feeling,” said Vaughan. “Sometimes, the hardest part is getting the first one to go, and to have it out of the way is a huge relief and something I’ll never forget. I have the puck in my room here and it’ll be something I hold on to forever.”

Over the course of his four seasons of college hockey, Vaughan said he made many memories that he will always cherish.

“College hockey helped me improve on understanding what it takes to win,” Vaughan said. “It reinforces the idea that the little details in every game matter and can cost your team a win if they are not focused on. Hockey is a game of mistakes, and in college hockey, losing just one conference game may be the difference between making conference playoffs or missing out. It helped me develop immensely as a player as well as a person.

“I think my highlight of my college hockey career was being able to have the opportunity to play a home playoff game this season against St. Olaf. It was the first time in a long time that Saint Mary’s has hosted a MIAC playoff game, and the atmosphere was incredible. I was just happy we were able to provide the community with something to gather around and for the guys to have the opportunity to play playoff hockey. The student base and overall community at St. Mary’s is amazing, and they always showed out for us at home. I was lucky to be a part of it.”

Enjoying his time with the Prowlers, Vaughan said he hasn’t started to look ahead just yet.

“I honestly don’t know what my plans are after this season in Port Huron,” said Vaughan. “I’m using this opportunity to finish out the season to get my feet wet in professional hockey, and I will have to reassess where I am at after we are done. My degree is in software engineering, and there are definitely possibilities on that side of things as well. For now, I’m just focused on having a positive impact with Port Huron and hopefully help us on a run toward a championship.”

During his youth hockey days, Vaughan played for the Pikes Peak Miners, Colorado Springs Tigers and Colorado Rampage.

Photo/Saint Mary’s Athletics

— Matt Mackinder

(March 30, 2024)

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