NCDC Alumni Profile: Air Force Academy’s Will Gavin

U.S. Air Force Academy -- (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)

Three-Season NCDC Alum Gavin Graduates From Air Force Academy, Signs AHL Pro Contract

By Joshua Boyd / 


Will Gavin is very well-prepared for his future, both on the ice – and in the sky above. 

Gavin, an alum of 125 games over three seasons, has recently graduated from the Air Force Academy. Prior to his late May commencement ceremony, he was able to sign a contract with the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners. 

Gavin, a First Team All-Atlantic Hockey selection this past year after scoring a career-best 36 points, graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management. Graduates of U.S. service academies commit to military service upon their graduation, though Gavin is able to delay that service while he pursues his professional hockey aspirations in 2024-25. He’ll have a very 21st-century job waiting for him when he rejoins the military, however. 

“I’ll be working in Space Force Acquisitions when I’m done playing. I understand that I will be negotiating with defense contracting firms for the Space Force, mainly satellites for now,” Gavin said. “I will serve a minimum of five years in the Space Force when I’m done playing, though I am still a Reservist until then.”


NCDC Reflections

Gavin originally joined the Air Force Falcons directly out of the NCDC’s Northern Cyclones, and looks back fondly on his time in the USPHL’s Tuition-Free Tier II conference. 

“I loved my time in the NCDC. I enjoyed the league a lot. When I was there, it was still a new league, but I really appreciated the close proximity to the colleges in the area. Whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday game, you’re always under the college spotlight. You never knew when a coach would be watching, and that was something unique about the league,” said Gavin. 

Gavin started in the NCDC in its inaugural season of 2017-18, after two years in the USPHL 16U and 18U (now THF) Divisions with South Kent Selects Academy. He split his first season between the South Shore Kings and former Syracuse Jr. Stars, now the Utica Jr. Comets. He scored 15 points in 59 games that year. He moved over to the Northern Cyclones in his second of three seasons, and was a key player for the Hudson, N.H.-based squad, scoring 37 points in 40 regular season games and five points in five playoff games.

The 2018-19 Cyclones upset the Founders Cup (regular season) Champion Jersey Hitmen that year in the first round of the playoffs, but ultimately fell in the semifinals to the eventual Dineen Cup Champion Boston Junior Bruins. That Junior Bruins team was led by Captain Luke Rowe, who went on to become Captain of the Air Force Falcons the past three years. 

He played in 18 games in 2019-20 with the Cyclones, and posted 28 points to close out his junior career. He reflects fondly on his time with the Cyclones, especially the organization’s Co-Owner and NCDC Head Coach. 

“As far as Coach Bill Flanagan, he is one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for,” said Gavin. “What he’s turned that program into is something special.”


Forever A Falcon

After committing to Air Force in his first year with the Cyclones, he skated in 14 games as a freshman during the COVID-defined 2020-21 season, starting a career that saw him eventually play in 122 NCAA games and post 95 points. 

“It was challenging in many different aspects, both athletically and academically, and also very rewarding. I wouldn’t have done it any differently if I had to do it over again,” said Gavin. “We had a great group of guys all four years that I was there. There was an unbelievable culture that was instilled before I got there and it will be there long after I’m gone, a culture that I’d never seen before going there. The coaches care so much about their players, not just in their on-ice development but in their development as people as well. It was just a total package as far as playing, and learning how to be a man. 

Gavin’s 49 goals and 95 points were both the most among all Falcons for the four years that he was at Air Force. He credits his linemates Parker Brown and Clayton Cosentino for much of his success. 

“I was super lucky. Brown and Cosentino were two unbelievable linemates, so a ton of credit to those guys. I’m going to miss playing with them. This was our third year playing together, so the chemistry we built over that three-year span allowed us to know where each other was, and we knew how to play off each other,” Gavin added. 

The Falcons’ 18 wins this year were the most during Gavin’s time at the Academy, and he hoped that the Falcons would be able to turn that regular season success into postseason achievements to remember. 

“Unfortunately, we ended up losing in the quarterfinals to a strong American International College team with a hot goaltender,” added Gavin. 

That untimely ending aside, Gavin certainly made both the Air Force Academy and the Northern Cyclones proud over more than half of a decade. The NCDC and USPHL congratulate Will Gavin on a fantastic NCAA career and wish him the best of luck in pro hockey!