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A Look into Miami Hockey’s PJ Fletcher’s Career for the RedHawks

PJ Fletcher recorded 62 points on 205 shots in his three years at Miami
PJ Fletcher recorded 62 points on 205 shots in his three years at Miami

The Miami University RedHawks hockey team has had a tough past few years. It has been characterized by four straight seasons under 10 wins and three straight seasons finishing last in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). 

Things have looked bleak for Miami fans, but one steady constant has remained: senior center PJ Fletcher.

Fletcher is a native of Dana Point, California, and he grew up in Connecticut, where he played high school hockey for South Kent High School. After high school, Fletcher committed locally to Quinnipiac University where he played in 30 games and recorded six points for the Bobcats.

After only one season, Fletcher wanted a change of scenery. He found himself at Miami and hasn’t looked back since.

“It really was a combination of everything,” Fletcher said. “Miami has such a great campus, great team facilities and locker room, as well as a phenomenal culture. The brotherhood here for Miami is awesome, and I really wanted to play for a strong-team oriented group.” 

Fletcher came to Oxford in 2021 as a sophomore and was at first unfamiliar with the strong hockey culture on campus.

Now as a senior, he knows what RedHawks hockey is all about and what it takes to be a leader on and off the ice. 

Fletcher still feels like he just got here, but he is excited to see the underclassmen progress as he prepares to leave Oxford. 

“It feels weird,” Fletcher said. “I feel like a sophomore at heart. These three years have gone by really fast. Now that I’m in a leadership role, it’s good seeing them hold their own.” 

During the off-season, Fletcher returns home to Dana Point, where he enjoys the Southern California summer sun and regularly skates at the Great Park Ice Center in Irvine.

Being from Southern California, Fletcher loves watching the Anaheim Ducks. He models his play style after his role model,  former Ducks Center Ryan Getzlaf.

“[I’m] playing with a ton of intensity and being a bigger player with good hands that’s also tight around the net,” Fletcher said.

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He also said he wants to embody the physicality and quickness of bigger centers like the Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar and the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn.

In the 2023-24 season, Fletcher was the physical yet quick center that the RedHawks needed. He racked up 11 goals and 12 assists for the red and white, which both rank in the top three on the team. During his three seasons with Miami, Fletcher has recorded 15 or more points every year and remained very consistent for former Miami head coach Chris Bergeron.

“He really is a positive reinforcement, and he wanted to go out of his way to be a leader entering this season,” Bergeron said. “When things go negative, it’s hard to be a leader, and he remains really positive in tough times.” 

Bergeron had high praise for Fletcher’s outlook on the team despite the lackluster performance of the program in the past few years.

“He hasn’t run away from adversity, and [he] left the program better than he came into it,” Bergeron said. “He works extremely hard even if the score isn’t in our favor.” 

The NCHC is home to a number of historic hockey programs, and Fletcher has visited numerous opposing atmospheres. Of all the teams in the conference, his favorite to play against is the University of North Dakota’s Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Despite the electric fanbase at North Dakota, nothing beats the fanbase at Goggin for Fletcher.

“The Miami student section and the Oxford fans are awesome,” Fletcher said. “It’s great to play for a group that’s always loud and one that continues to get stronger each season.”

The RedHawks have won four home games this season, including a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Arizona State University Sun Devils on October 27. 

During that game, the RedHawks trailed 4-1 with 15:23 left in the game. Miami fought back and was eventually able to tie it up 4-4 and later win in overtime over the Sun Devils. Fletcher had one of five goals for Miami.

As Fletcher’s hockey career here comes to a close, he strongly believes in the future of the program and advises new players to hold that same belief. 

“Buy into the system and trust the process,” Fletcher said. “Here at Miami they do a great job of setting you up for success, so feed into that. Always do your best and buy into that RedHawk culture.”