The Army will provide that challenge.
The Auburn native, who is currently attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, has committed to United States Military Academy in West Point, New York for next season.
Playing Division I has always been a dream of mine,” said St. Denis. “With the school, military program and the opportunities that I understand will come from that and where I see myself later on in life. I think Army and the whole military program sets you up for that.”
The 5’9, 175-pound forward had offers from several Division III schools, but the lure of playing Division I was the deciding factor.
“A couple of NESCAC schools, Williams and Amherst, were my top choices coming out of that league,” he stated. “There were a whole plethora of Division III schools I was looking at. When Army came in, I really loved the program from everything I heard from the players there and players from the past. It really stuck out to me.”
St. Denis believes his skating is his biggest strength.
“I like to use my speed and my finish has helped me,” he said. “I don’t like to consider myself strictly as a forward. I like to play on the (defensive) side of the puck too. My coaches really stressed defensive. We had a team that was really potent offensively.”
Also on Phillips Exeter roster is Cumberland native Brian Hart, the 60th ranked North American skater for the 2012 NHL Draft, who will be attending to Harvard next season.
“It’s nice and to be a part of the speed and skill that they bring to the game,” St. Denis said about playing with Hart and the other Division I committed players this season. “I appreciated playing with players like that.
He will have a familiar face when he gets to West Point as Shane Hearn – also an Auburn native and Hebron Academy senior – will be entering his first year with the Black Knights.
“We played together growing up in youth hockey,” St. Denis added. “We went to North Yarmouth Academy together where played together in middle school. We both had the chance to play against each other the last few years with him at Hebron and myself being at Phillips Exeter Academy.”
“He was someone I was talking to when I was making my decision. He helped me learn about the program and he was a good contact.”
He tips his hat to anybody who volunteers for their country.
“I have a lot of respect for anybody that goes overseas and fights,” St. Denis stated. “I know a lot of people who grew up in a time of war. To see our country in war I see a lot of respect who volunteers to go there.”