Men's hockey welcomes first four members

September 07, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Four transfers, each with NCAA Division I experience, have become the first members of the Penn State men’s hockey team, head coach Guy Gadowsky announced Monday.

Joining the Nittany Lions are forwards Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Bryce Johnson (Grimes, Iowa) and Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) and defenseman Nate Jensen (Shorewood, Minn.).

“We will rely on these four NCAA Division I transfers to not only be examples on the ice but to provide leadership in terms of representation, work ethic and commitment both in the classroom and community,” said Gadowsky. “All four come from reputable hockey programs and we’re fortunate to be able to start our transition with them.”

Holstrom, the reigning Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year, and Jensen, son of U.S. Olympian David Jensen, came to Penn State via Mercyhurst, while Johnson and Kirchhevel both hailed from WCHA schools. Johnson played with St. Cloud State and Kirchhevel skated with Alaska Anchorage.

During the 2011-12 season, the group will play with the University’s American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I club team before helping Penn State make the transition to NCAA Division I beginning in 2012-13. All four student-athletes will enter the 2012-13 season with three years of eligibility remaining.

Taylor Holstrom (So. • F • 5’9” • 185 • Yorba Linda, Calif. • Mercyhurst)

Appeared in 36 games with Mercyhurst College during the 2010-11 season … Led team with 24 assists and ranked third in points (33) … Named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year … In 2009-10, skated in 60 games with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL … Ranked second on the team in assists (22) and was tied for second in points (33) … Participated in the USHL All-Star Game … Skated in 55 regular-season games with the Omaha Lancers in 2008-09 … Collected 19 points (8g, 11a).

Gadowsky on Holstrom: “Taylor has good speed with a very creative offensive mind. He has the ability to create offensive chances out of innocent situations and is a very entertaining player to watch.”

Nate Jensen (So. • D • 6’0” • 185 • Shorewood, Minn. • Mercyhurst)

Appeared in 36 games with Mercyhurst College during the 2010-11 season … Ranked second among team’s defensemen with 16 points (2g, 14a) … In 2009-10, played in 57 regular-season games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm … Led team’s defensemen with seven goals and 20 assists … Named the club’s top defenseman … Skated in three playoff games … Appeared in 35 regular-season contests with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in 2008-09 … Collected one assist … Played in one postseason game … Member of Minnetonka High School boys’ ice hockey team for four years (2004-08) … Earned an all-conference accolade … Garnered the state’s Hobey Baker Award for character as a senior.

Gadowsky on Jensen: “Nate is a very mobile defenseman who is gifted offensively and plays a very intelligent game. He will prove to be an extremely dependable and productive defenseman.”

Bryce Johnson (So. • F • 5’10” • 165 • Grimes, Iowa • Omaha Lancers)

Skated in 37 regular-season games with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL in 2010-11 … Ranked sixth on the team with 24 points (8g, 16a) … Added one assist in three playoff games … Started the season with St. Cloud State and played in three games … Member of the Topeka RoadRunners of the NAHL during the 2009-10 campaign … Played in 58 regular-season games … Ranked second on the team in assists (35), fourth in points (54) and sixth in goals (19) … Named to the NAHL All-Rookie Team … Earned the team’s Rookie of the Year Award … Two-year letter-winner at Johnston High School … Earned an all-star honor.

Gadowsky on Johnson: “Bryce will probably be our fastest skater. He has speed to burn and hands that can keep up with his feet. He will create a lot of space for his linemates as the opposition will have to respect and guard against his speed.”

Justin Kirchhevel (So. • F • 5’10” • 187 • Brookings, S.D. • Alaska Anchorage)

Appeared in eight games with Alaska Anchorage and totaled three points (2g, 1a) in 2010-11 … In 2009-10, split time with the St. Louis Bandits and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL … Started the season with St. Louis and collected 11 points (4g, 7a) in 18 games … Skated in 21 regular-season games with Fairbanks and collected 12 goals and 10 assists … Played in one postseason game … Member of the NAHL All-Showcase Team … Appeared in 55 regular-season games with St. Louis in 2008-09 and ranked third on the team with 51 points (17g, 34a) … Added five points (2g, 3a) in 13 playoff games … Helped team capture the Robertson Cup … Member of the Fargo-Moorhead Jets in 2007-08 and collected 19 points (8g, 11a) in 33 games … Appeared in 13 games with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL in 2006-07.

Gadowsky on Kirchhevel: “Justin plays the game with a presence. He has good speed and a good shot, and drives the net very well. He is very difficult to knock off the puck, and we will look to him to be a leader in creating the identity of our foundation.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 09, 2011