Broncos Sign Three

KALAMAZOO - The Western Michigan University ice hockey team has announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period. The class also includes two players who committed last spring and chose to defer enrollment until next fall.

"We are very excited about this recruiting class," said head coach Jim Culhane. "We feel these players have the qualities we look for in our program ? strong skating ability and puck skills. We've also been able to add some size at the forward position."

The newest Broncos are: defenseman Nathan Ansell (Sarnia, Ont.), right wing Mike Erickson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and right wing Jeff Kyrzakos (Mississauga, Ont.). The deferred signees are goaltender Daniel Bellissimo (Toronto, Ont.) and left wing Mike Lesperance (Newmarket, Ont.).

Below are biographies on the freshman class of 2004-05:

5-11, 177, right-handed shot, Sarnia Blast (Western Junior B Hockey League) ? DOB: 6/6/86
Ansell is in his second year with the Sarnia Blast after being named the WJBHL's top rookie defenseman last year. The assistant captain has compiled two goals and 12 points in 23 games for the third place Blast (15-5-0-4). Ansell breaks out of the zone well and will bring quickness to the Bronco blue line.

6-2, 175, left-handed shot, St. Michael's Buzzers (Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League) ? DOB: 8/15/84
Bellissimo joined St. Michael's on Oct. 15 after spending the past year with the Georgetown Raiders. The athletic netminder has compiled a 3.21 goals-against average, a .900 saves percentage and 10-4-0 record in 17 games with the Buzzers. His older brother, Vince, is a sophomore for the Broncos.

6-3, 200, right-handed shot, Des Moines Buccaneers (United States Hockey League) ? DOB: 4/12/83
Erickson was chosen in the third round (72nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. He spent one-and-a-half seasons with two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota, before returning to the junior ranks. Erickson captains the Buccaneers where he stands third in scoring with 12 goals and 22 points in 20 games. Erickson possesses a heavy shot and brings size up front for the Broncos. He will have two years of eligibility with the Brown & Gold.

JEFF KYRZAKOS, RW ? pronounced Kur-ZOCK-us
6-2, 195, right-handed shot, St. Michael's Buzzers (Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League) ? DOB: 2/6/85
Kyrzakos stands third in team scoring ? and ranks among the league's top 20 scorers ? having generated 18 goals and 28 assists for 46 points in 30 games. An assistant captain, Kyrzakos has the Buzzers holding down first place in the South Conference (22-7-1-1). His teammate, Daniel Bellissimo, is a fellow Bronco recruit. Kyrzakos doesn't shy away from contact, impressing WMU coaches with his physical play.

MIKE LESPERANCE, LW ? pronounced Less-PER-onse
6-1, 195, left-handed shot, Newmarket Hurricanes (Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League) ? DOB: 6/9/85
Lesperance ranks third in team scoring with six goals and 24 points in 26 contests. He paces the team with 18 assists and also serves as assistant captain. Lesperance plans on pursuing a career in broadcast journalism after graduation. An extra year of juniors has helped mature his game.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories