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Bulldogs blueliner commits to NCAA Div 1 team

Rookie Sami Pharaon has committed to attend Princeton University in 2018/19
Alberni Valley Bulldogs defenceman Sami Pharaon passes to a teammate during an Oct. 22 game against the Victoria Grizzlies. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Alberni Valley Bulldogs defenceman Sami Pharaon has committed to attend Princeton University and suit up for the NCAA Division I Tigers for the 2018/19 season.

The 18-year-old is enjoying a successful rookie season in Port Alberni after signing with the team in July. He has picked up two assists in 10 regular season games while providing a steady, mobile presence on the Bulldogs’ blueline.

“On behalf of the entire Bulldogs organization, I’d like to congratulate Sami on this tremendous accomplishment,” said head coach Matt Hughes. “Sami is a phenomenal student-athlete who is very deserving of the opportunity to play Division 1 hockey and study at an Ivy League institution. It’s a testament to all the hard work he’s put in over the years that he’s had such a successful start to his Junior A career and earned a scholarship so quickly.”

Pharaon’s hockey journey has included time with the North Shore Winter Club, the BC Major Midget League’s Greater Vancouver Canadians and the Pursuit of Excellence midget prep program in Kelowna. He also spent the 2016/17 season at the Albany Academy in New York.

“I’m very excited to commit to Princeton and have the chance to play NCAA Division I hockey,” said Pharaon. “Princeton is the full package; they showed great interest in me, they have a great hockey program, and you get a great education. After meeting with the coaching staff and some of the players, I had no doubt that Princeton would be a great fit for me and I’m excited to join the Tigers family.

“I’d also like to thank the Bulldogs organization, and especially head coach Matt Hughes, educational advisor Tom McEvay and my parents, for all their help and guidance through this process. I’m really looking forward to continuing to develop with my teammates this season and to help the Bulldogs have a season we can all be proud of.”

At Princeton, Pharaon will be the latest in a line of Bulldogs to suit up for the Tigers that includes forward James Kerr and defencemen Kevin Ross and Marlon Sabo.

“I’m extremely happy for Sami, who has earned this opportunity as a result of his exceptional academic results and his outstanding hockey talents,” says Bulldogs educational advisor Tom McEvay. “However, Sami’s greatest strength is his tremendous character and I know he will do well at Princeton.”

Pharaon is the first player from the Bulldogs’ 2017/18 roster to commit to play NCAA hockey next season.