CBA alum and Middletown, NJ native James van Riemsdyk reaches NHL milestone
Going back to his days skating for Brick Hockey Club and starring on a state championship team at Christian Brothers Academy, it was clear James van Riemsdyk was a special player whose stardom had just begun.
Over a decade later, JVR is still turning heads, only this time at the highest level of professional hockey.
On Sunday during the National Hockey League's outdoor game in Lake Tahoe, van Riemsdyk had a night to remember, even if his Philadelphia Flyers suffered a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins. Van Riemsdyk's line was one of the few bright spots for the Flyers and he led the way with a goal and two assists, which included his 500th career point. The milestone point came when he assisted on Joel Farabee's goal in the first period.
The 31-year old native of Middletown has 255 goals and 247 assists for 502 points in 756 career NHL games.
Van Riemsdyk was at CBA for just two years before he and his talents moved on to play for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Michigan. But during his time at the school in the Lincroft section of Middletown, JVR was incredible. As a sophomore in 2004-2005, he was selected as the Asbury Park Press Player of the Year (an easy choice by yours truly), for leading the Shore Conference in scoring and the Colts to the Non-Public state championship. He had 36 goals and 24 assists, including the game-winning overtime goal against Delbarton to give the Colts their first state title since 1996.
With his excellent play for the NTDP and in international events where he scored 64 goals and 59 assists in 113 games, van Riemsdyk's draft stock rose considerably leading up to the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. On draft night, JVR was part of history when the Flyers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick. Not only was he the highest New Jersey-born player ever selected in the NHL Draft, but with the Chicago Blackhawks selecting Patrick Kane with the No. 1 overall pick, it marked the first time American-born players had been selected with the top two picks.
Van Riemsdyk elected to play collegiate hockey after being drafted and starred for the University of New Hampshire, posting 74 points in two seasons. The Flyers announced that van Riemsdyk would forgo his final two years of college eligibility to sign an entry-level contract for the 2009-2010 season. JVR made his NHL debut in the first game of the season and recorded his first NHL point in that game with an assist on a power-play goal by Mike Richards. He played three seasons with the Flyers before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in June of 2012.
He spent six seasons with the Leafs before returning to the Flyers as a free agent in 2018.
Van Riemsdyk has also represented the United States in international competition on numerous occasions. He was on the gold-medal-winning U.S. squad at the 2006 U18 World Junior Championships and was on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
Additional fun facts about van Riemsdyk:
-On March 28, 2014 he tied an NHL record for the fast goal to start a period when he scored in just four seconds.
-He scored the 20,000th goal in Toronto Maple Leafs history on December 19, 2017.
-He appeared in the movie This is 40 with Flyers teammates Scott Hartnell, Ian Laperriere and Matt Carle.
-His younger brother, Trevor, was also a star at CBA and New Hampshire and is currently a defenseman for the Washington Capitals. Trevor won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks during his rookie season in 2015.
-His younger brother, Brendan, played for both the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University and currently plays for the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
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