Northeastern has received a commitment from Joe Fleming, a 2003-born right shot defenseman from Wellesley, MA. Fleming has previously played in the Boston Jr Eagles program and at Proctor Academy, and is committed to playing for the Merritt Centennials in the British Columbia Hockey League for the 2021-22 season.
Fleming is a hulking figure on the blue line, already clocking in at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. For comparison’s sake, that is bigger than former physical Huskies’ defensemen Dustin Darou and Dax Lauwers, and bigger than current heavyweight defenseman Jayden Struble. In an article published by Merritt when Fleming committed, his future coach Derek Sweet Coulter said he “plays with an edge” and has “tremendous IQ at both ends,” which is critical for a defenseman, even if the points don’t pile up on the scoresheet.
Fleming is a former second round pick in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft and most recently a sixth round pick of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the United States Hockey League, a team the Huskies have had a great relationship with in developing future stars and contributors. In May, he was called “one of the top 2003 NCAA D1 uncommitted prospects right now in all of North America” by The Scouting News.
Fleming put up 6 points (2 goals) for Proctor in 2019-20, and last year in a shortened season put up 3 points (2 goals) in 6 games for the North Suburban Wings 18U AAA team, after going pointless in 9 games for the Northern Cyclones of the NCDC. In a league that emphasizes offense like the BCHL, that will be a great catalyst for both ends of Fleming’s game, allowing him to develop more offensively while forcing him to also hone his defensive abilities to shut down opposing scorers.
Appearing to be a more defensive and physical-minded player, Fleming said in that aforementioned article that enjoys “the physical aspect of the game, winning battles in the corners, blocking shots which is an underrated part of the game that I take great pride in.” He also mentions liking to play against the other team’s top line, and leading the rush from the back end as well.
With the offensive dynamo that Northeastern has been in recent years and projects to continue to be in the future, keeping pucks out of the net and out of high-danger areas remains just as critical a part of the game as scoring goals. Fleming, with his size, hockey IQ, and attitude towards the defensive aspects of the game, looks to be exactly the right piece to the puzzle for the Huskies in the future. One could easily see him on a pairing in the future with an offensive-minded defensemen like Vinny Borgesi, letting his partner run wild while reliably anchoring the back end.
Fleming’s athletic roots extend throughout his family- his sister currently plays college hockey at Sacred Heart, his mother played collegiate soccer at Assumption College and is a member of their Hall of Fame, and his father, Joe Sr, was a St. Louis Blues draft pick in 1990 before choosing to play professional football, embarking on a standout, championship-winning career in the Canadian Football League
We look forward to watching Joe’s growth in the BCHL ahead of his arrival to Matthews Arena and Northeastern. Congratulations to Joe on joining the Northeastern family!
As always, go Huskies!