Sacrifices pay off for Rochester's Geike, who will play for Division I power UMass
Jordan Geike cut his hockey teeth in the Rochester Youth Hockey Association. Now chasing his hockey dreams playing AAA hockey in New Jersey, Geike's time and dedication to the sport has paid off. Last week the 16-year-old committed to play for Division I college hockey power University of Massachusetts.
ROCHESTER — Jordan Geike doesn’t remember all the details of how he got his start in hockey, but he can recite the story — with a laugh — that his mom, Molly, has passed on to him and his older sister, Jasmin.
“My mom told me that Jasmin started playing hockey, got on the ice and tried to play but she didn’t like it,” Jordan said, “then I started skating and playing and really liked it, so Jasmin decided she wanted to play, too.”
The decisions worked out well for both Geike siblings.
Jasmin played three years of varsity hockey at Mayo High School, before graduating in the spring of 2021.
On the verge of entering high school, Jordan Geike faced a choice about his hockey future. He had grown up and developed while playing in the Rochester Youth Hockey Association. But the skilled skater, goal-scorer and playmaker wanted to weigh his options.
“I think I really just thought a lot about my commitment to the game,” he said. “I want to succeed. I love the game, and I knew I’d have to make sacrifices to (succeed).”
Geike and his family ultimately decided the right option for his immediate playing days was in the Chicago suburb of Palatine, Ill., last season, where he put up 27 goals and 78 points in 62 games for the Windy City Storm 15U AAA program.
This season, the right option sits more than 1,100 miles from Rochester, in Cresskill, N.J. That’s where Geike, 16, and a junior in high school, now resides and plays for the North Jersey Avalanche 16U AAA program.
Those sacrifices — moving away from his friends and family, and learning the responsibilities of living mostly on his own (with a roommate, in housing provided for Avalanche players and staff) — paid off last week.
The 5-feet-10, 170-pound right-shot forward committed to a Division I college program that has long been at the top of his list — the University of Massachusetts.
“UMass has always been in my top three — my whole life, actually,” Geike said last weekend, from New Jersey. “I’d done my research on the (program) and the school. Right when they offered me, I thought I’d be stupid to not take that opportunity.”
Geike rattled off close to a dozen reasons that UMass feels like the perfect place to live out the dream of playing college hockey, including the academics. A 3.9-GPA student, Geike said he plans to major in a business field of some kind.
Then he came to the hockey-related reasons for committing to head coach Greg Carvel, who led the Minutemen to the 2021 NCAA national championship.
“It really stood out because of its facilities and coaching,” Geike said. “It really fits my game and my characteristics off the ice, too. … Right when I got the offer, it was a pretty easy decision. They were national champs in 2021, coach (Carvel) has seven years of experience (coaching) in the NHL — he’s an NHL-caliber coach. They’re No. 1 in developing players and moving them on, and I think they can get me all the way.”
I am very proud to announce my commitment to play division 1 college hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Thank you to my family, teammates, friends, and coaches for helping and supporting me along the way!#gominutemen pic.twitter.com/JguTJPerY9— Jordan Geike (@JordanGeike21) September 30, 2022
UMass shares a similar view. Carvel and assistant coaches Tom Upton and Nolan Gluchowski see a lot to like in Geike, a tireless worker who takes pride in being a leader on and off the ice.
“They told me they think I’m a hard worker and hard to play against,” said Geike, who added he expects to play two years of junior hockey before heading to UMass in the fall of 2025. “They said I fit their team’s (mold), that’s what they want in players. They’re a team that plays hard and takes pride in (their players) having good grades.
“They want me to work on my consistency with my whole game. That’s a big thing, especially with younger players. Who can be ready every game to show up and play?”
Though Geike has moved more than 1,000 miles away to pursue his dreams, he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
He credits his coaches from RYHA (specifically Nate Wasmund, who dedicated hours upon hours to helping Geike develop) and his former youth hockey teammates for helping to form him into the player he is.
He said he is still best friends with John Marshall star defenseman JT Veney, who is having an excellent fall in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.
Geike also rattled off the names of nearly every senior on Mayo High School’s team, as well as Rochester native Gavin Kor, who is currently starring for Shattuck St. Mary’s 15U AAA team, after putting up 85 points in 52 games for Shattuck’s 14U team last season.
“Rochester was my home, from Mites through Bantams,” Geike said. “All the coaches there were awesome. They really pushed me to succeed. So did my friends, my teammates — JT, Gavin, (Mayo senior) Mason Leimbek and all those guys.
"They pushed me and we pushed each other.”
Southeastern Minnesota D1 connections
A dozen players from southeastern Minnesota are currently playing for or committed to Division I college hockey programs:
|*Brady Arneson||Red Wing||University of Maine|
|Andy Carroll||Northfield||MSU, Mankato|
|Campbell Cichosz||Albert Lea||MSU, Mankato|
|*Maddox Fleming||Rochester Mayo||Notre Dame|
|*Jordan Geike||Rochester||U. of Massachusetts|
|Brody Lamb||Byron/Dodge County||U. of Minnesota|
|Xander Lamppa||Rochester John Marshall||Penn State University|
|Kyle Looft||Mankato West||Bemidji State|
|Zach Wiese||Owatonna/Grizzlies||U. of Minnesota|
|Bennett Zmolek||Rochester Century||MSU, Mankato|
|Will Zmolek||Rochester Century||Bemidji State|
* — currently committed