St. Cloud, MN – Depending on who you talk to the new NCAA transfer rules can be a blessing or a curse. One thing for certain is you’ve seen a large number of Division I hockey players moving down to the Division III ranks the past two seasons. That’s a good thing for the teams that are recipients of these players and a new opportunity for the transferee.
On August 5th, Division III SUNYAC school Oswego State University (Oswego, NY) announced their incoming class of recruits for 2022-23 including former St. Cloud State University forward Thomas Rocco. In the Lakers release, Rocco announced “Oswego allows me the opportunity to compete for a highly competitive program, as well as pursue a fantastic education in Computer Science. It’s without a doubt the place I want to be and I’m extremely excited to be joining the team!”
Rocco who hails from Midlothian, PA was a late recruit for the 2019-20 season after posting 13 goals and 29 assists for 42 points in 56 games for the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. In three seasons, Rocco was a casualty of the depth at forward at SCSU seeing decreasing playing time logging 15 games his freshman season, but only a combined 9 games in 2020-21 and 2021-22. Rocco posted two assists his freshman season.
However, the NCAA rule granting an extra year of eligibility will benefit the 22-year-old Rocco allowing him two seasons of eligibility at Oswego.
Rocco joins a storied Division III program that finished the 2021-22 season with an 18-7-1 record tied with Geneseo for the league title. The Lakers have seen a great deal of success over the years with a Division III National Championship in 2006-07, seven NCAA Division III Frozen Four appearances, and 18 NCAA tournament appearances.
The Lakers compete in one of the top Division III rinks in the east in the Marano Campus Center Arena with a 3000-seat capacity and a reputation for a crazy atmosphere, particularly in games vs league rival Plattsburgh. Another prominent team in the league includes Geneseo State who defeated the Lakers in the SUNYAC Conference tournament in 2022.
Rocco should thrive in this program possessing an all-around solid game defensively and if placed in a more prominent role should regain the offensive touch he showed in junior hockey. Most likely Rocco will become a key component of the Laker’s special teams. His experience as a member of a checking line in the NCHC should pay great dividends for him in Division III hockey.
We wish Thomas Rocco the best as he moves on to a new opportunity with the Lakers.