Heading north
York graduate Billy Paschen (pictured) and Dukes teammate Christopher Lee will continue their hockey careers at the juniors level with the Cochrane (Ontario) Crunch of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. Both were all-state players while at York.

All-staters headed to Cochrane, Ontario to continue careers
By Mike Miazga
Former York hockey players Billy Paschen and Christopher Lee are taking their games to the next level.
Paschen and Lee have signed contracts to play for the Cochrane Crunch in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, regarded as a stepping stone to an NCAA Division I hockey scholarship and/or a professional career.
“I’m very excited,” said Paschen. “Cochrane is a very good program and the league is good. I’m also excited to have a buddy like Chris to experience this with me.”
Paschen explained after the York season concluded the pair went to several showcases and tournaments, “to get seen by a bunch of scouts,” he said. “In mid July the Crunch took an interest in us and at the end of the month they made an offer and offered us roster spots. At the start of the summer Chris and I were getting some junior offers, but not as much as we were hoping for. Once we got the Cochrane one, it was a no-brainer.”
Paschen said a few teams from the North American 3 Hockey League showed interest as well, including the Sheridan (Wyoming) Hawks. “We had signed a tender with Sheridan, but since Cochrane is in Canada and is affiliated with USA Hockey, we were allowed to sign both and we ended up picking Cochrane,” Paschen explained.
Paschen and Lee are headed to Canada Aug. 14 and training camp starts Aug. 16. “Our first game is September 5, so we’re getting right into it pretty early,” said Paschen.
The former Dukes left-winger said thoughts on playing college and/or professional hockey still are a ways down the road. “Obviously with Cochrane, I’m taking it day by day and see how things progress,” he said. “We’ll see what options are out there down the road and go from there.”
Paschen said since he’s 19 years old he has two juniors seasons left, while Lee, at 18, has three. “I’ll probably play another juniors year and after that try and land a college commitment,” he said.
Paschen started out in the Blues youth program at the age of four. “I played with the Blues up until eighth grade and then it was York from there,” he said.
Paschen said the thought of playing the game at an even higher level didn’t sink in until after his freshman year at York.
“I didn’t know how good I was,” he said. “After freshman year, my game got a lot better and then junior year is when I decided I was going to keep playing after high school and take it to the junior level.”
Paschen said his experience in the York club program helped him get to where he is today. “I developed as a hockey player and made a lot of friends,” he said. “I got to play hockey with my best friends and got to see them at school every day and bond. It was such a great experience. We had great coaches and always had a great student section at games. I couldn’t have asked for better coaches.”
Paschen, who said he has been working out and skating three times a week, was told Cochrane is a small town in Northwest Ontario. “We’re right on the border of Quebec, so we’ll be playing a lot of French-based teams,” he said. “It’s going to be very interesting. I heard it’s a small town and the fans are really into the team and the games are packed. Chris and I are going to live with a woman who is a lawyer in town. We can’t wait to get there. We are very excited.”
The Independent will have a story on Lee in next week’s paper.


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