By Joshua Boyd / USPHL Staff
The Ottawa Senators, on June 29, drafted former Rockets Hockey Club USPHL 16U player Nicholas VanTassell. He was selected in the seventh round, 215th overall, of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
A 2004-born native of Basking Ridge, N.J., VanTassell played his youth hockey for the Rockets and, as a 15-year-old, was part of the Rockets’ 16U Black team that went 21-0 in USPHL league games. The Rockets’ Black team consisted of the organization’s 15 Pure team that was nationally ranked in the Top 20.
VanTassell was named a USPHL 16U All-Star and played in that year’s 16U All-Star game. He scored 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points in playing all 20 league games that year. In 76 overall games, he scored 102 points as a 15-year-old.
VanTassell went on to play the next season for the Rockets’ primary 16U team in 2020-21. The team, which did not compete in USPHL games during that COVID-dominated year, did finish ranked sixth in the nation in Myhockeyrankings for the 16U level and competed at the USA Hockey Nationals.
From the Rockets, VanTassell moved on to the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers, where he put up 55 points in 120 games. He committed to the University of Massachusetts in January of 2022 and will begin his NCAA career there this coming fall.
Other players on the Rockets’ 16U Black team headed to the NCAA Division I ranks are Zach Wagnon (Yale) and Will Reardon (Holy Cross), while their former 16U Black teammate Tyler Muszelik played his first season with the University of New Hampshire in 2022-23.
Muszelik was selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, in the sixth round, 189th overall.