Gracel Commits; Merch In The News

UMass received another committment for 2010 today in the form of Branden Gracel, a 5’9″ 165lb center from Calgary.  Garcel played this past season for the Fort McMurray Oil Barrons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.  Does Ft McMurray ring a bell?  It’s where the coaching staff found Paul Dainton.  Gracel was named the AJHL playoff MVP, putting up 27 points as the Oil Barrons fell in Game 7 of the championship series final.  He had 38 goals and 56 assists in 58 regular season games, 4th in the league. 

Here’s an article from earlier in the season following Gracel’s route to Ft McMurray while this article from a couple weeks ago gives a good profile of his skills as a player.  It looks like Nebraska-Omaha was also one of the schools in the mix for him. Once again Toot has stuck with a recruiting philosophy that has gotten him some success, go for undersized but extremely quick forwards. 

This looks like an huge Spring pick up for recruiting.  It certainly does a lot to alleviate the production lost from some of the early defections.  The team now has three legitimate offensive players coming in with Gracel, Troy Power, and Mike Pereira (and perhaps Conor Sheary).  Joel Hanley will likey be able to fill the shoes of Matt Irwin as a good two way defenseman.  Not just out of quantity, but quality may make this as one of the best recruiting classes ever.


Former UMass hockey player and Pond Club President Mike Merchant was the feature of this interesting article in the Franklin Gazette.  Hockey seems like its always played a big role in Merch’s life and I know the team and the fans appreciate all the work he still does for the program.