Sports

Federal Way Decatur grad ready to hit the ice in Vermont

Anthony Petruzzelli, a Decatur High School graduate, will start playing hockey for the University of Vermont next week.  - Contributed photo
Anthony Petruzzelli, a Decatur High School graduate, will start playing hockey for the University of Vermont next week.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Anthony Petruzzelli, a 2011 Decatur High School graduate, is headed to the University of Vermont next week to start playing for the university’s mens hockey team.

After spending the last three years with the Brooks Bandits in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Petruzzelli says he looks forward to this new chapter in his hockey career.

“I’m excited to go out there,” he said. “I think it will be a good experience for me. There’s not a lot of hockey players coming out of the Federal Way area, and I’m proud to be from Federal Way and doing something with my hockey career.”

Petruzzelli’s father, John, is proud of his son’s success, and attributes that success to his son’s hard work.

“I’d probably attribute his success to a couple of things. He has a true love of the game and [also has] his hard blue-collar work ethic,” the elder Petruzzelli wrote in an e-mail to the Mirror. “He has had to make a lot of sacrifices over the years … Basically, for the last seven years or so, he is in the gym daily and on the ice five to six days a week. He’s been fortunate injury-wise, with only a few dozen stitches and some strains, bumps and bruises over the years.”

He continued, sharing a story of his son’s toughness.

“I’ve seen him take a puck in the face under the visor in the first period of a game, go to the locker room and get stitched up and be back to finish the game,” he wrote.

Petruzzelli’s path to Vermont included a stint in Helena, Mont., where he played for the Helena Bighorns. Petruzzelli and the Bighorns won the USA Hockey National Championship that season, while Petruzzelli also earned Rookie of the Year for the Northern Pacific Hockey League.

After that, he made the transition to the elite leagues of Canadian junior hockey, and had much the same impact. The 5-feet 10-inches, 189 pound left-winger ultimately earned Rookie of the Year in his initial season, something no American player had done in the 49-year history of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He followed that up by being an integral part of the Bandits’ winning team in the Royal Bank of Canada Cup, a competition that has teams from all 10 of Canada’s junior hockey leagues playing against each other.

Petruzzelli actually scored the opening goal in the 3-1 win over the Summerside Western Capitals.

The up-and-coming hockey star said he plans to study business administration at the University of Vermont, but said he also hopes the NHL will be his final destination for his hockey career.

“I want to be able to finish out and get my degree first, but want to be able to play NHL hockey,” he said.

 

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