Bulldogs’ captain Ryan Steele in a Sunday, Dec. 31 game against the Powell River Kings. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

BCHL: Bulldogs’ captain earns NCAA commitment

Forward Ryan Steele commits to Sacred Heart University for 2018-19 season

20-year-old forward Ryan Steele has committed to attend Sacred Heart University and suit up for the NCAA Division I Pioneers for the 2018-19 season.

Steele joined the Bulldogs at the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign and scored 10 goals and 28 points as a BCHL rookie. He was named team captain prior to the 2017-18 season and he currently sits second in team scoring with 23 points, including a team-leading 17 assists.

“On behalf of the entire Bulldogs organization, I’d like to congratulate Ryan on securing a well-deserved scholarship to play NCAA hockey,” said head coach Matt Hughes. “Ryan is a great person who always brings a complete effort to make himself and his teammates better on and off the ice. He’s been a tremendous captain and he’s the type of classy, professional young man who will go on to do great things in academics, hockey and life.”

Before coming to the Alberni Valley, Steele spent the previous three seasons at the Holderness School in New Hampshire and totaled 76 points in 77 games, including 46 in 29 as a high school senior.

“I’m beyond excited and grateful to have the opportunity to play for Sacred Heart University,” said Steele. “I’ve always wanted to attend a school with a strong blend of academics and athletics and Sacred Heart provides that and more. Their facilities and coaching staff are very professional and my choice became clear after flying down over the holiday break. I’m thrilled to continue my hockey career at the NCAA Division I level and I can’t wait to do it in a Pioneer sweater.”

He added, “My experience playing for the Bulldogs has been exceptional. Before coming here, I lacked some of the skills it takes to get to the next level, but with a lot of hard work and support, I’ve been able to achieve my goals and develop into a better player. I’d like to thank the entire Bulldogs organization and fan base for the endless support throughout my career here. It’s been a pleasure playing in front of the best fans in the BCHL. I’d also like to thank my coaches, Matt Hughes and Jeff Dubois, for always believing in me and teaching me what it takes to reach the next level. Lastly, I’d like to thank my billets and family. They have always been there for me and without them, none of this would be possible.”

Steele is the third player from the Bulldogs’ 2017-18 roster to commit to play NCAA hockey. He joins forward Keaton Mastrodonato, who has committed to Canisius College for 2019-20, and defenceman Sami Pharaon, who will begin his college hockey career at Princeton University next season.

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