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Former Ferris State Hockey Players Team Up for First Time in Pro Ranks

LEHIGH VALLEY, PA. – Former Ferris State hockey players Gerry Mayhew and Cooper Zech both signed contracts with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms – the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Mayhew and Zech have become friends through Ferris State hockey, but they’ve never been teammates until now.

Mayhew played at Ferris State from 2013-2017. Zech played just one season at Ferris State as a freshman in 2018 before turning pro.

But Mayhew and Zech got to know each other through summer workouts and other Ferris State hockey events. They quickly became friends and have stayed in touch through online gaming.

Zech first heard that Mayhew had signed with the Phantoms in a group chat of former Ferris State hockey players. Zech had already signed with the Phantoms as well, but the announcement had not been made public.

“I FaceTimed him. He didn’t answer. I texted him like ‘hey call me when you get a chance’ and told him ‘oh you just signed Philly? So did I!’ We were pumped, it was awesome!” Zech said.

Mayhew went undrafted after his career at Ferris State but quickly emerged as one of the best goal scorers in the AHL. In 2020, he won the AHL MVP while playing for the Iowa Wild. He’s played in 17 NHL games for the Minnesota Wild and hopes to make the Flyers roster out of training camp.

“Turnovers, [I have to] limit that. And obviously [I need] to score goals,” Mayhew said when asked what he needs to do to make the NHL roster. “If I can do both those things hopefully I’ll get a chance.”

Zech, a defenseman, is just 23 years old and has over 70 games of AHL experience with the Providence Bruins and feels he’s fully adjusted to the speed of the AHL game.

Like Mayhew, he has hopes of making it to the NHL soon but understands it likely will not happen this season.

“If I can just get a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a little bit faster. I think that’s what I need to do the most,” Zech said.

Hockey has connected the two players and helped them become good friends. Now, as they chase their NHL dreams, they’ll finally have a chance to build a connection on the ice.