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    April 14, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Incoming Liberty University ACHA Division I men’s hockey recruit Sam Feamster enjoyed a breakout year with the Helena (Mont.) Bighorns’ Junior A Tier III program this past season.

    The 5-foot, 11-inch, 170-pound forward from Pueblo, Colo., scored 46 goals and distributed 41 assists in 46 games as an alternate captain — including six goals and eight assists in eight playoff contests — to lead them to a 48-5-3 record.

    The Bighorns finished 27-0 at the 1,600-seat Helena Ice Arena, drawing close to 2,000 fans for back-to-back overtime wins in the North American 3 Hockey League playoffs before being eliminated by the eventual champion Rochester (Minn.) Grizzlies in the semifinals.

    “That was such an awesome season for me to develop as a player, and it was an honor to be a leader on the team,” Feamster said. “My coaches put me in a position to succeed in every way, as a scorer and a playmaker. I really learned how to consistently be at the right place at the right time and I fell in love with the game all over again.”

    It was love at first sight for Feamster when he arrived at Liberty for his official campus visit on Monday and met for the first time the Flames’ coaching staff and players who will be his teammates this fall.

    “Liberty is what I’ve always wanted to find in a college hockey program, one that puts faith first and will allow me to develop not only physically as a hockey player, but to become mentally and spiritually stronger as well,” he said.

    Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said by spending a few days with the team, Feamster affirmed what both had perceived over the phone. He quickly became friends with the returning team members, who made his final college decision a clear-cut one.

    “At the end of our day, our players played a big role in this, after he was able to spend time with them and to see the university,” Handy said. “He originally had reached out to us and we started to track him throughout the year and it became obvious to us that he was someone who fit the culture that we have here, on and off the ice.”

    “Sam’s a fantastic guy and someone who’s going to come in here and compete, which is something we’re always looking for — guys who wherever we put them in the lineup will be competitive and make our team better,” he added. He’s going to be someone who works hard every day, has a good attitude and makes our team better by the way he practices and plays in games, so we are excited about that.”

    After talking with Handy for the past three months, Feamster said he was even more genuine in person.

    “I was impressed with how kind and caring he is, and how he is looking to develop a relationship rather than just recruit me as a player, as other schools did,” Feamster said.  “I decided on Liberty over them because of the coaches and players and just the people here. You can tell it’s a family here and I wanted the opportunity that Liberty affords for growth, spiritually, academically, and through the hockey program.”

    Feamster played hockey and baseball growing up before specializing in hockey at the age of 13.

    “I was blessed with amazing coaches in Colorado Springs who helped me develop more consistency in my game and bring a higher compete level every day,” he said.

    He played two years with the Colorado Springs Tigers’ 15- and 16-under AAA teams before moving to Detroit, his father’s hometown, to play two seasons with the Honeybaked 18-under AAA squad. After having his spring season with the Shreveport (La.) Mudbugs cut short by COVID-19 in 2020. he joined the Pueblo Bulls Junior A team in the USPHL Premier League.

    “I am a really determined playmaker,” Feamster said. “I like to use my speed, which is one of my strongest qualities, to create scoring chances for my teammates and myself. I try to go to the net and always be in front of the net and create havoc. I have good hockey sense on the ice and know how to put myself and my teammates in a good spot.”

    With a couple seasons of Junior A hockey experience, Feamster, 21, said he feels more comfortable and confident in his ability to contribute right away and help the Flames get out to a successful start this fall.

    As well as touring the LaHaye Ice Center, Feamster also visited the School of Business, where he plans to pursue a degree in business before starting his own after graduation.

    “The facilities are really top notch,” he said. “Everyone has been super welcoming, and I love how important family is to the team, for both the players and the coaches.”

    Feamster would love to pursue a professional hockey career, but more than likely will use his degree in the business field soon after graduation.

    “Anything after Liberty hockey-wise would be a bonus, but I definitely want to be my own boss and ideally run my own business,” Feamster said.

    His father, David, played five seasons for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks before sustaining a career-ending injury in 1985. He has been involved with Hockey Ministries International (HMI) and in 1992 went on a Athletes In Action mission trip to Russia with Liberty Associate Head Coach Jeff Boettger.

    “I look at my dad as a role model,” Sam said, noting that he has run six Little Caesars pizza shops in the Pueblo area for the past 35 years. “I have seen how he handles the business side of things, and that has really impacted me.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media

    Feamster showcases his speed on a breakaway opportunity with the Helena Bighorns Junior ‘A’ Tier III team this past season.