Bonnyville Pontiacs defensemen JR Ashmead has announced his commitment to Merrimack College.
The Calgary native suited up for 46 games with the Pontiacs last year while also playing 13 games back in the 2020-21 campaign, making him one of the few returning veterans for the team in the 2022-2023 season. Ashmead now becomes the Pontiacs sixth Division I Committed player on their roster this season.
When asked about his journey leading up to this accomplishment, Ashmead stated, “Being a Pontiac made me realize this was possible. Chad Nelson was a scout when he brought me in. I owe Chad and everybody here in the Pontiac family a huge thank you. [Rick] Swan took me in as a 17-year-old so I owe a lot to him as well. I will always be a Pontiac.” JR also took the time to thank everyone who believed in him and provided the opportunities he needed to grow and develop.
When asked about why Merrimack College was the right choice for him, the 03 defensemen noted, “I started out by talking to Coach Ciocco. Sadly, his life was tragically taken a couple of weeks ago. He was the one who started getting me to look hard at Merrimack. It didn’t take long to know this was the school for me.”
At 6’1 and 182lbs, Ashmead has had a respectable season thus far with 7 pts in 12 games played.
Associate General Manager Neil Langridge noted “It’s great to see JR secure a commitment to such a great program like Merrimack College. For the past three seasons, we have had the pleasure of working with JR to help him achieve his goals and dreams. JR is the type of player that comes to the rink to get better every day and he takes full advantage of all the amenities and facilities we provide our players. JR is a great example of a player that put his trust in the Pontiacs Organization and has been rewarded for it.”
Associate General Manager Chad Nelson also chimed in, “We are extremely proud of JR accepting to play hockey and get an education at a prestigious school in Merrimack. It has been a long time since we have had a player commit to a Hockey East school and we are excited for JR to receive that opportunity.”
Nelson continued his praise saying, “Ashmead has matured as a person and player everyday since being here. He is an example to everyone that through hard work and belief in yourself, you can accomplish great things. We are excited for JR and the Ashmead family and know he is in great hands with coaches Borek, Jewell, and the rest of the staff at Merrimack. We also want to say that our thoughts continue to be with the Merrimack hockey family on the recent passing of coach Josh Ciocco who was a big advocate for JR.”
The Division I Merrimack College Warriors are based in North Andover, MA and play in the Hockey East Conference.
The Pontiacs next game is tonight (Tuesday, Oct.18th) at 7:00pm against the Grande Prairie Storm in the Bonnetts Energy Centre. This will be Ashmead’s first game as a committed College hockey player as the Pontiacs proudly add another Division I defenceman to the lineup.