Michigan Native Also Played In USPHL Premier With MJDP In 2019-20
It was love at first sight for former Northern Cyclones NCDC goaltender Kristoffer Eberly when he visited the campus of The Ohio State University.
“Once I stepped foot on the campus, I knew it was the school for me. The facilities there were amazing,” said Eberly, whose commitment to OSU for 2023-24 was announced by the Cyclones on Monday, July 25. “With the opportunity they give, you’d really have to personally fail to not do well there. It is impossible for me to go there and not get better both as a hockey player and as a student. I think they heard about my work ethic, as a guy who likes to go early to the rink and dial in and really take each day one step and get better each day. I think I’m a competitor and the Ohio State coaches see that as well.
“Academically, you can go anywhere with an OSU degree. It’s just huge and something big for your career,” said Eberly, who wants to major in a field involving math. “If [professional] hockey doesn’t work out, you have that as well.”
Eberly is coming off an All-Star campaign for the Cyclones which saw him play in 36 games. He was top five in that category, as well as in wins (15) and save percentage (.924). He was able to earn a call-up after the NCDC season ended to play with the USHL’s Sioux City and is now preparing for the 2022-23 season with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers.
Similar in principle to what he saw at the college level at Ohio State, he said the Northern Cyclones also provide every tool possible at the Tier II junior level to succeed – it’s up to the athlete to take advantage.
“With everything the Cyclones have to offer, they have every kind of tool in the toolbox to help grow your game. I had all the support of all the coaches helping me become better as a player and as a person,” said Eberly. “I wouldn’t be the player I am today on and off the ice without the Cyclones.
“The NCDC was definitely a good league for development, especially with all those colleges right in your backyard,” he added. “I just think the Cyclones are a super-great organization.”
The Cyclones thought very highly of their clear-cut No. 1 goalie during the 2021-22 season.
“One of the most dedicated, hard-working players that I have coached,” tweeted Cyclones NCDC Head Coach Bill Flanagan on Monday. “Everyday in [the] weight room, last off the ice, never saw negativity in his eyes!”
With that, they never had a problem with sending Eberly into a game, as he ended up playing 72 percent of the team’s contests this year.
“By playing as much as I did, I think I was able to learn how to take good care of my body, and the right foods to eat,” said Eberly. “It helped me learn more about that and to just get better given the opportunity to play that much.”
Eberly’s USPHL Development path also took him through the 2019-20 season with the Metro Jets Development Program (MJDP), where he played 14 games. The local product from Pinckney, Mich., had played at Dexter High School before joining the MJDP and posting a .925 save percentage that year.
Sioux City coaches saw him put up a fantastic performance in the All-Star Game in February, where he turned away all 10 shots that he saw in his period of play, one of two goalies to do so (St. Lawrence commit Cam Smith being the other).
“Definitely from my playing time with the Cyclones and from the All-Star Game, that’s where I caught Sioux City’s attention,” said Eberly. “It went well. It was definitely a clear jump – as a goalie, it definitely took time to learn how to play at the Tier 1 pace. It just definitely helps me a lot learning from the other goalies on my team, and I settled in there as well. I’m excited for the future here [in Green Bay], and still have a lot to prove, and to prove to myself.”
The USPHL congratulates Kristoffer Eberly, his family, the Northern Cyclones and The Ohio State University for his commitment.