The Florida Eels are pleased to announce that 6’1” ANDREW VAN OOTEGHEM from Flagstaff, AZ has re-signed with the Florida Eels Junior Hockey Program for the 2020-21 season. The Eels scouted Andrew at the Global Showcase in Las Vegas last summer. He was raw having played high school hockey and midget AA prior to joining the Eels. But he caught the eye of both the Eels General Manager and the Eels Premier Coach Frank Scarpaci. We liked his skill set. The way he attacked shooters. His hybrid butterfly style. The way he controlled rebounds. His overall demeanor at the showcase. In fact, he was the only goalie we recruited there echoed GM Scarpaci.
As a rookie Andrew was the Eels hardest working goaltender. Because of his work ethic he was invited to practice with both the Elite and Premier teams. Many times, 5 times per week. Think about that. That is twice as much ice time than any other goalie in the USA. The fruits of his efforts clearly paid off. In 16 GP he had a 2.99 GAA and a .900 sav%. He won player of the week all star status and alternate player of the month selected by a panel of USPHL League coaches. This was very impressive accolades for a young rookie goalie.
Moreover, he had some huge quality wins against some very strong opponents including:
New Jersey Rockets
Florida Jr Blades
Hampton Road Whalers
In fact, GM Scarpaci commented that he was the go-to guy in our big games. You have to be on your game when you take down all these quality clubs, but you have to have outstanding goaltending when you defeat the Northern Cyclones the Whalers Charleston and the Madhatters. He never took any of these teams for granted and he had believability.
As a young player we readily discerned that he shared the hunger and dedication that Eels have as their hallmark. Andrew helped lead and backstop the Elite team to regular season championship in the USPHL Florida Division. Indeed, the Eels hold the distinction of being the only program to have finished First Place in the Premier and Elite Divisions.
Andrew is a great team guy on the ice and in the locker room. Equally important the Eels are getting a first-class individual back. One who has impeccable character. We are excited he elected to come back. He knows we have a job to finish. And he is anxious to get back to work.