One More Year, One Last Ride
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Hockey will welcome back four fifth-year seniors for the 2021-22 season following the NCAA announcement in October 2020 of winter student-athletes being granted an additional year of eligibility due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-captains Johnny Walker and Jacob Wilson, in addition to Willie Knierim and Sean Dhooghe, will make one last run in the Maroon and Gold while also earning their masters' degrees.
"For these four guys to want to return for their 5th year is the biggest motivator everyone in our program could ask for," said head coach Greg Powers. "Johnny and Jacob have built this program with their bare hands and we have unfinished business to ensure we send them out with a run into the NCAA Tournament. Willie and Sean have come in and helped enhance what we built in every way. We owe to all four of them to do everything in our power to make their decision the best one they have ever made."
The program's all-time point and goal-scoring leader, Walker, will ultimately expand on his 110 points and 64 goals in 116 games. This despite missing 10 games during the 2020-21 season due to injury. He will again return as the nation's active leading goal scorer.
Wilson, who has worn a letter for the past two seasons, returns as one of the Sun Devils' top defensemen. He's played in 119 games for the Sun Devils, which ranks 5th all-time in program history. He led the team in plus-minus ratio (+4) in 2020-21 as one of just three players at even or above.
Knierim returns with 103 games of collegiate experience and recording 33 points in his two seasons in Maroon and Gold. Like Walker, he suffered a minor injury that kept him out for eight games this past season and is looking forward to a full season at full strength.
One of the newest Sun Devils, Dhooghe arrived from Wisconsin prior to the all-road 2020-21 season. As another one of several players to suffer an injury during this past season, Dhooghe returns with 122 NCAA games under his belt over his four seasons and is anxious to get to play in Tempe in 2021-22.