St. Mike's Pipeline Continues

The Western Michigan hockey team has had a lot of recent success recruiting talent from the St. Mike's junior ‘A' team in Toronto, Ontario the past few years. Recent players from that program include Vince and Daniel Bellissimo as well as Jeff Kyrzakos. Now add Julian Zamparo to that list.

"It all started with Vince Bellissimo," said head coach Jim Culhane. "And it continued with Daniel Bellissimo and Jeff Kyrzakos."

The 6'2" 192 lbs. Zamparo gave his verbal commitment to Jim Culhane and the WMU hockey team last week to come in for the 2006-07 season. That commitment is more then 2 years before he will play his first game in a Bronco uniform.

The right-handed shot is in his senior year of high school and agreed to defer his commitment for a season and to play an additional year of junior hockey before he starts classes at Western Michigan.

"It's a very, very good program up at St. Mike's," said Culhane who cannot comment specifically on Zamparo until he signs a letter of intent this November. "Chris [DePiero] the head coach there has done a great job. With the recruiting dollars we have we're just trying to get the best players we can that fit our program."

The Bronco coach staff has a solid relationship with the staff at St. Mike's, something Culhane believes is a key to good recruiting. "As you recruit hard in the USHL and southern Ontario you spend those relationships with people and building contacts, those relationships are huge."

Zamparo is in his second year of junior ‘A' hockey having played last season as a 16 year old. In that season he played in 46 games scoring 4 goals and adding 6 assists for 10 points. He also added 35 penalty minutes.

This season through 5 games Zamparo has a goal and an assist playing on one of the team's top defensive pairings.

The Rest of the Recruits:

Zamparo is just one of five verbal commitments the Broncos have for upcoming classes so far. Mark Stockdale, a childhood friend of current Bronco Paul Szczechura, is also committed for the 2006 season and is playing alongside first round draft pick Blake Wheeler at Green Bay in the USHL. "The USHL is a really good league and it's argumentative that it's the premier junior league in the country. We've been fortunate to get some players out of there," said Culhane.

Steve Silver is playing defense for Cleveland of the NAHL, Chris Frank also on defense for Cowichan Valley of the BCHL and Ryan Mensing is a goaltender playing for Campbellton of the MarJHL last season. All three are recruits for the 2005-06 season.

Future Recruits:

The Broncos will be adding at least one more forward, probably a left wing, for the 2005 class and then concentrating hard on the 2006 class. "For the fall of '06, that's a big class," said Culhane who will be looking to replace the likes of Brent Walton and Vince Bellissimo. "We've been fortunate to get a couple of verbals already and we'll continue on that. Our focus is still the class of '05 but we're doing our due diligence on the fall of '06 too."

Where are the Broncos looking? "We were out there at the Buc Bowl just last weekend," said Culhane of the USHL's preseason tournament and prime scouting time for college coaches. "We came back with a wish list and we're all over it right now. The kids that we'll contact will probably be recruited by 12 to 15 schools each."

And what is the WMU staff looking for in their recruits? "Character, a passion for the game. With the whole team chemistry issue having kids with good character is huge and we look at those issues. Young people do make mistakes too, but you have to learn from your mistakes and make sure you have a good work ethic and are a good person."

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