Former Eel Adeniye, on commitment to Alabama-Huntsville

Charging towards his future: Former Eel Adeniye, on commitment to Alabama-Huntsville


Charging towards his future: Former Eel Adeniye, on commitment to Alabama-Huntsville

By Joshua Boyd /, 07/24/18, 10:45PM EDT

This has been an epic year for Columbus, Ohio, native Ayodele Adeniye.

Not only has he made his NCAA Division 1 commitment for the future, with the University of Alabama at Huntsville, but his idol was announced as an incoming member to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1958, Willie O’Ree became the first black man to play in the NHL, suiting up for the Boston Bruins. Adeniye, whose father hails from Nigeria and whose mother is also an Ohio native, said that since he discovered hockey at age 3, O’Ree has been an inspiration.

The pioneering pro hockey player also became a close family friend. The Adeniye family will be celebrating O’Ree’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November.

“Willie has paved the way for players of color and given us a face to look up to,” said Adeniye, whose Twitter and Instagram handle of @AfricanHockey embraces his heritage. “The work he continues to do to expand the game to people of color is phenomenal and inspirational.”

Adeniye’s hockey journey has taken him from his hometown’s Ohio AAA Blue Jackets to the USPHL’s Florida Jr. Eels to the Iowa Wild AAA, and now he’s off to the Carleton Place Canadians. He will matriculate to Alabama-Huntsville in 2019-20.

His one year with the Eels, when they played in the former USP3 Division (now USPHL Elite), stands out to Adeniye for the progress he made in his game.

“My year with the Eels went well. I played every game, which gave me reps and helped me with situations,” said Adeniye. “We made it to the playoffs and got fourth in the USP3 League, so that was a fun bonus. The city [Fort Myers, Fla.] was amazing and the fans were fun.”

“Ayodele’s team was one of the best development teams in the history of the USPHL,” said Eels head coach Frankie Scarpaci. “His commitment marks 23 players from that team who will go to college and play college hockey.”

Scarpaci went on to talk about what Adeniye brought to his team.

“He had so much promise. We could see it at training camp,” he said. “He had great vision on the ice. He was so mature for his age. He was not afraid to jump in on the play.

“Ayodele worked tirelessly on his skill set, staying three hours on the ice daily, working with the older Elite team,” Scarpaci added.

Adeniye was also an “explosive skater” with a heavy shot from the blue line and “battled relentlessly in the crease,” crushing the hopes of forwards trying to camp out in the slot.

The Eels identified Adeniye’s strengths as being more evident and better utilized on the right side.

“The big thing my [Eels] team did to help with my development was changing my position from left D to right D,” Adeniye added.

The Eels also helped give Adeniye the confidence to dominate against players who were, in some cases, four years older than he was – a reality he will see when he enters the NCAA.

“It’s not easy for a young player of 16 to step into a lineup of 20-year-olds and not just compete but contribute and that’s what he did,” Scarpaci said.

Frank Scarpaci took the time to get to know Adeniye’s family, who now live in Mississippi.

“Ayodele is a high character young man. He came from a loving and supportive Mom and Dad who made enormous sacrifices to allow this young man to reach his goals,” said Scarpaci. “It makes us all very proud here at the Florida Eels to have played a part in Ayodele’s life to help him reach and realize his goals and dreams of one day playing NCAA Division I college hockey. We wish him the best.

“Less than one percent of all players garner this opportunity and we could not be more proud and excited that this is happening to Ayodele,” Scarpaci added. “It also opens up the eyes for so many other players who should understand ‘it is not where you start in junior hockey, it is where you end out.’ Ayodele is a prime example of player development. He went from our USP3 Eels and look at his accomplishments. He took the time and developed his skills and craft. Ayodele illustrates it is not a sprint but a marathon. We are so proud of him.”

Playing in Florida gave Adeniye a taste for warmer climates that certainly factored into his decision. Just one more season with the snows of Canada, then it’s back to the sultry South.

“I hate the cold weather, so living down south and playing hockey is ideal,” he added. “I love the UAH campus, and my parents live in Mississippi, so it’s close.”


About the USPHL

Founded in 2012, the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) is comprised of hundreds of teams. Our teams are geographically diverse, ranging from North to South to the Midwest and Pacific.

The USPHL fields teams in a variety of divisions from Junior to High Performance Youth Divisions.

Our Junior Divisions consists of the National Collegiate Development Conference, (NCDC) which is a unique, tuition-free, junior hockey division geared toward Division I collegiate development placement and beyond, and our Premier and Elite Divisions.

Our Midget and Youth Divisions consists of 18U, 16U, 16U Futures and High Performance Youth.

In 2018, the USPHL merged with the Eastern Hockey Federation to become the Nation’s Largest Amateur Hockey Organization.

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