UTICA, NY -- Dating back to the formation of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) in 2013, a total of 12 players have made their commitments to Utica College while playing in the #Eshow. The Pioneers are former members of the ECAC West, a conference that is re-branding itself as the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) this Fall.
The structure of the UCHC includes ten men's and women's teams from Chatham University (PA), Elmira College (NY), Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY), King's College (PA), Lebanon Valley College (PA), Manhattanville College (NY), Neumann University (PA), Stevenson University (MD), and Utica College (NY). The conference also includes Nazareth College's (NY) men's team and will welcome Wilkes University (PA) men's and women's teams in 2018-19.
As a new era begins for Utica and the UCHC, the team feels very confident with this year's incoming freshmen class that includes a pair of EHL alumni.
"We've been recruiting players from the EHL ever since the league formed," said Utica head coach Gary Heenan. "From All-Americans, to the Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year, we've found them all in the EHL."
This season's incoming EHL alumni are a pair of former Philadelphia Little Flyers in Jamie Bucell and Tyler Pietrowski.
Pietrowski is a '96 forward who tallied 57 points in 48 total games during the 2015-16 season with the Little Flyers, and then spent this past year with the Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL).
Bucell put together a pair of solid seasons with the Little Flyers, including 59 points in 60 games last season, helping to lead his team to their 2nd straight appearance in the EHL Finals. Both players value the time they each spent in the EHL, and Bucell went on to extend his thanks to those who helped him reach this point.
“I’m very excited to go to Utica College to pursue my academic career as well as my hockey career, they have a great program up there and a really good thing going on, and I believe it is a great fit for me," said Bucell. "First off I’d like to thank my parents for everything they’ve done for me over the years, they gave me a great opportunity to move out of state to play junior hockey. I’d also like to thank all of my previous coaches, from youth through high school and up through juniors. I want to specifically thank Coach Rocky Russo and the entire Philadelphia Little Flyers coaching staff, they’ve helped me become the person I am today both on and off the ice. I’d also like to thank the Giacobbo family for giving all of us what we need to succeed here with the Little Flyers. Finally I’d like to thank my friends and people close to me for their support throughout the years."
Be sure to keep any eye on Utica College this season, and remember the #Eshow returns to action on Saturday.