Playing in his first season in Topeka, Finnish goaltender Rasmus Tirronen has committed to play hockey for Merrimack College beginning in Fall 2011.

     Listed at 6’3” and 195 lbs, the goalie from Espoo, Finland made an impression early as he posted two preseason shutouts against division rivals and added another shutout in the NAHL Showcase to begin the season. His early successes came with a bit of a price, as he suddenly found himself drawing a lot of college attention. “I didn’t think that I would at any point be dealing with several schools at once so I`ll have to admit that I found myself a bit overwhelmed in the beginning”, he said. “You could probably say it was a small distraction but nothing that would`ve affected me catching the puck.” As he looks forward to pursuing his major in Sports Management, he talks about why he chose Merrimack. “The coaching staff and the way they have turned the hockey program around during the last couple of years, and the fact that Merrimack being a small school has a really great feeling on campus. Those things made the decision fairly easy.”

     Having made the choice to play in Topeka, he feels completely satisfied he did the right thing. “I had 2 goals coming in to Topeka: winning the Robertson Cup and getting a full scholarship to a D1 school. Now with one goal out of the way I can focus 100% on achieving the other one.” RoadRunners Head Coach/GM Scott Langer sees big things ahead for Tirronen. “Rasmus is extremely deserving of everything he earns. He came to camp with a goal in mind and hasn't looked back since. ‘Ras’ is not only a top end athlete, but an even better young man filled with character. I truly believe this young man can accomplish big things.”

     With his family still in Finland and his college career now destined to keep him in the US for at least four more years, he reflects on how they are taking the news. “My family knew that one of my goals coming in to the season was to get a full scholarship, so they aren’t that surprised that I got one but they are surprised it came this early in the season. They really like the idea of me getting a degree while I’m playing hockey so I`m pretty sure they are okay with it.”

     The Merrimack Warriors play in the Division I Hockey East with schools such as Boston University, Maine, Vermont and Boston College. They play in the newly refurbished 3,000 seat Lawler Arena in North Andover, MA.