BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a terrific 2017-18 campaign that included career highs in goals, assists and points, recent Babson College men's ice hockey graduate Ryan Gouveia '18 has signed a professional contract with Neuilly-sur-Marne in the French Division 1 league for the upcoming season.
The 10th Babson player to ink a pro deal since 2013, Gouveia is also the third to head to France, following in the footsteps of Ryan Heavey '14 (Dunkerque 2014-15) and Michael Phillips '17 (Les Ramparts de Tours 2017-18), who both made their pro debuts in the same division.
"I leaned on Michael (Phillips) a lot throughout the process and he has been extremely helpful," commented Gouveia. "He connected me with his agent, who then reached out to several teams. Neuilly-sur-Marne has a winning culture, an experienced and well-respected coach, and they showed the most interest in me as a player. It was clear that the organization would be a great fit and the location being just 20 minutes outside of Paris made the decision even easier."
Gouveia, who played in 26 of the Beavers' 27 games this past winter, scored a team-high 12 goals and tallied nine assists for 21 points on the way to earning All-New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) second-team honors. He finished his career with 43 points in 94 career games and improved his scoring numbers in four straight seasons for the Green and White.
"Playing at Babson taught me the importance of hard work and attention to detail," said Gouveia. "My focus was always trying to improve each year and on learning as much as I could. Coach Rice showed a lot of confidence in me and played me in a lot of different roles throughout my career, so I felt prepared and ready to take advantage of playing in every situation.
Gouveia, who heads to France prior to training camp on August 19, will carry with him many lessons from his time at Babson to an organization that reached the league semifinals this past spring. "My experience at Babson gave me a greater appreciation for being a part of a team and for being able to compete every day while playing the game I love," stated Gouveia. "I think the reason so many guys want to continue playing after they finish their careers at Babson is because of the great experience that coach Rice and the rest of the staff provides us with."
"All the guys that have played professionally had nothing but good things to say about their experiences, and the opportunity to experience life in a new country while also playing hockey was something I didn't want to pass up," stated Gouveia. "Never having been to Europe, I'm looking forward to experiencing a new culture."