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By Chris Bayee, 08/31/18, 6:30PM PDT


Rory Herrman didn’t worry, even when things didn’t go according to the initial plan.

That and continuing to work toward his next goal, a college scholarship, led the former Anaheim Jr. Ducks forward to commit to RPI recently.

Herrman previously had committed to Arizona State in September of 2015 but de-committed in January, midway through his second season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL.

“RPI is such a good school, and my official visit went so well,” Herrman said. “I really liked RPI and what they saw my role being there.

“There are no hard feelings with ASU, it just wasn’t going to be a good fit. They’ll be a good program.”

Not having a college offer for more than half of this past season wasn’t a distraction at all, Herrman said.

“My intentions were still the same with regard to my hockey career – play in college then make the NHL,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about not having an offer in hand.”

Instead, Herrman has used his two seasons in Green Bay, where he will return this fall before heading to RPI next year, to build himself into a two-way center, adding more than 15 pounds of muscle in the process and paying more attention to daily details.

He also increased his points output eight-fold, going from three in his first full junior season to 24 last season. He also became a lineup regular, playing in 55 regular-season games, and helped the Gamblers return to the Clark Cup playoffs

“I’ve grown a lot in every aspect, and my time with the Jr. Ducks helped set the stage for that,” Herrman said. “I’ve gotten bigger and stronger and developed a more professional mindset.

“I focus more on what I eat, how I train. The USHL is so fast, and it’s a big transition from 16s to this league.”

Herrman had a stellar 2015-16 season playing for the Jr. Ducks’ 16U AAA team, putting up 50 points and surpassing 20 goals in 46 Tier 1 Elite Hockey League and CAHA games. That caught the attention of the U.S. National Team Development Program, who called him up for a handful of games during December of 2015.

That gave him even more of a vision for what was possible in the game.

“Rory has good size (6-foot, 190 pounds), he competes hard, has a good work ethic and is heavy on his stick,” said Jr. Ducks Director of Player Personnel Alex Kim , who coached Herrman’s 16U team. “Combine that with his skill and tenacity, and you can see why he’s an appealing recruit.”

Herrman said his development has been further enhanced by his two seasons in the USHL.

“I’ve learned to play my style within the Gamblers’ system,” he said. “My positional play has gotten a lot better. Really everything – shooting, stickhandling, skating – has progressed.”

Even with a bump or two in the road, Herrman finds himself back on the path to playing for a Division I school, one of 17 players with ties to the Jr. Ducks who have made that progression in the past five seasons.

“This is great for Rory. A de-commit can take you off the rails, and it does for a lot of kids, but he overcame that,” Kim said. “It’s good to see a reward for what happens when you stick with it.”