KEARNEY - Tri-City Storm veteran Mike Vecchione has committed to play college hockey at Eastern College Athletic Conference powerhouse Union College.
A 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward from Saugus, Mass., Vecchione played in 49 games last season for the Storm, scoring 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists). He is the third-leading scorer returning for the Storm and will play one more season in the United States Hockey League before joining Union for the 2013-14 season.
“Union is a program on the rise with a coaching staff that does a great job of developing talent,” Storm Coach Josh Hauge said. “Mike should be able to step in right away and make plays because he’s a dynamic skater with a lot of skill, and he is accountable defensively.”
Located in Schenectady, N.Y., Union went 26-8-7 last season. The Dutchmen won the ECAC title and earned their first-ever trip to the NCAA Frozen Four with wins over UMass-Lowell and Michigan State in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
“Union’s coaching staff approached me halfway through last season and kept recruiting me pretty hard,” Vecchione said. “I really felt like they wanted me there. I’m definitely excited to join the program and be part of the effort to get back to the Frozen Four and win a national championship.”
Prior to joining the Tri-City Storm Vecchione starred at Malden Catholic (Mass.) High School, where he scored 83 points (27 goals, 56 assists) his senior year while leading his team to a 22-1-2 record and Super 8 Tournament Title in 2010-11.
He initially planned on playing college hockey at New Hampshire, but decommitted from UNH last season.
Hauge has high expectations for Vecchione in his final season with the Storm.
“He is a guy who can really dominate and take over games,” Hauge said. “We expect him to take that next step and be that type of player this season.”