The Norwich Sea Captains of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) are very proud to announce that defenseman Darrell Smith has chosen to attend the University of Arkansas next season to continue his academic and hockey careers. Smith has been a key member of the Sea Captains since the team’s inaugural season of 2021-22. The 2003 Wichita, Kansas native will major in Mechanical Engineering at Arkansas and play for the Razorbacks’ American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III hockey program. The Razorbacks compete in the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association and have advanced to the ACHA Division III National Championship Tournament eight times, including each of the last four seasons.
Smith played in 88 total games during his two seasons in Norwich. He scored two goals and added 12 assists to record 14 points during regular season play. Smith also appeared in all three Norwich playoff games during the 2023 NA3HL Fraser Cup East Division Semifinals against the Danbury Jr Hat Tricks. His assist on teammate Quinten Olshan’s game winning goal with :27 left to play against the Long Beach Sharks spurred Norwich to a key 2-1 victory on January 14, 2023. However, offensive statistics do not tell nearly enough of the story of Smith’s contribution to Norwich’s success. His stout defensive play was key to his team’s growth, particularly during the 2022-23 season, when his excellent play was vital to the Sea Captains’ team defense slashing their goals allowed by 72 from the previous season. Smith is widely respected in the Norwich locker room for his commitment to the team and his teammates. He was recognized as the Joshua’s Worldwide Norwich Sea Captains Defenseman of the Month for January 2023.
Smith talked about his decision to enroll at Arkansas and his time in Norwich saying, “I am confident that Arkansas will be a great home for me for the next four years. The coaching staff is awesome and extremely welcoming. The program is committed to excellence and I look forward to being a part of that culture of success. The school is a perfect fit for my academic goals as well. Norwich will always hold a special place in my heart. I was able to meet so many good people during my time in the organization and I look forward to taking the lessons learned with me throughout my future experiences. I look forward to following Norwich’s fortunes into the future because I consider the people there family and I will always genuinely care about every player who wears that salty Sea Captain on his chest.”
“I am so incredibly proud on Darrell Smith’s growth as a player and young man during his time in Norwich. He worked tirelessly to grow his game and made himself an indispensable part of our defensive corps. Darrell is the consummate teammate because, in addition to being a very good hockey player, he is a genuinely good human being who connects with, and cares about, others. I am so thrilled for Darrell and his family that he will continue his hockey career while pursuing his degree at Arkansas!” said Norwich Head Coach Kevin Cunningham.
Smith joins fellow two-season Norwich teammates Brendan Pellerito (Western Michigan – ACHA DI) and Jack Kinahan (Sacred Heart – ACHA DII) as members of the 2022-23 Sea Captains to announce their college plans. All college commitments are sponsored by Eastern CT Contracting.
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