Bonnyville Pontiacs rookie defenceman Dante Siciliano has committed to Maine University (NCAA Div I).
“Maine is the right fit for me because it has a strong history of developing elite players with a high level of competitiveness and it’s a great academic school,” said Dante Siciliano.
“The new coaching staff has years of experience at the collegiate level, they have coached some top hockey players and have earned a solid reputation.
“The fan base is unbelievably supportive of the hockey team which creates a dynamic and fun atmosphere to play in.”
The ’05 Whitby, Ontario native has produced three goals and three assists for six points in 12 games played for the Pontiacs this season. Siciliano is the first Division I commitment of the year for the Pontiacs.
“Dante’s commitment to Maine is great news,” said Pontiacs head coach Mario Pouliot. “It’s well deserved. Dante came here as a rookie, 18-year-old d-man, and he’s working extremely hard.
“He’s a genuine one, easy to work with, and he’s putting the effort to improve his work ethic in his game. He’s probably one of the best 18-year-olds in the whole AJ League (AJHL) and we are really happy having him with the Pontiac organization. Congrats Dante.”
Dante’s commitment to a division I school as a rookie puts him in company with teammates Max Seguin and Pontiacs Captain Nicolas Beaudoin, both of which were standout rookies for the Pontiacs last year and committed to division I hockey schools in their rookie seasons [Seguin: Princeton] [Beaudoin: Alaska-Fairbanks].
“As an organization we are very proud of what Dante has accomplished in his short time in Bonnyville,” said associate general manager Chad Nelson. “He came in here and has earned everything he has received.
“Dante’s commitment to showing up every day, taking feedback and immediately applying it has led him from being out of the lineup in the first weekend to being on our first D pair and a commitment to a prestigious Hockey East School with Maine.”
Siciliano is now the 6th College committed player on the yaks roster so far this season, all of which are NCAA Division I commits.
“The Pontiacs have impacted my journey tremendously,” said Siciliano. “The coaching staff, head coach Mario and defense coach Blocha, have been guiding me in the right direction.
“Coach Mario has faith in my abilities as a player and is always offering insightful tips on how I can improve my game.
“His vision for the team brings out the best in all of us. Our team is so supportive of each other, and it has created a strong culture making it really exciting to play for the Pontiacs.”
After 15 games played in the season, the Pontiacs are 7-6-2 (W-L-OTL) and are in sixth place in the AJHL with 16 points.
Despite a rough start to the season, the hard work of the coaching staff and great young players like Siciliano, has enabled the Pontiacs to regroup and win five of their last seven games played.
“I am excited to see how far our team can go this season,” said Siciliano. “We are coming together as a team and beginning to complement each other on the ice. Hopefully that will lead to a championship season.”
“Dante has a bright future ahead of him,” said Nelson. “We are excited to continue to work together to achieve his personal goals and ours as an organization.
“He is in great hands with Coach Barr, Fortin, Michaud, and Soltys with the Maine Black Bears.”
The Maine University Black Bears are a division I team located in Orono, Maine and play in the Hockey East Conference (HEA) of the NCAA.
The Black Bears have taken part in the illustrious Frozen Four tournament 11 times and has won two national championships.