AUSTIN, Minn. – The Austin Bruins are proud to announce their second commitment of the day with Dante Zapata choosing to further his hockey career playing at Division-III Utica College.
Zapata, 20, spent three years with the Bruins and is tied for sixth all-time in regular season games played for the franchise with 154. During the 2018-19 season, Zapata was one of the team’s leaders both on the ice and the scoresheet as an Assistant Captain for Head Coach Steve Howard while also ranking fourth on the team in points with 38.
“Dante played in Austin for three years and he consistently got better each year. He was one of our leaders and his play mirrored that. We thank Dante for spending his entire junior career in Austin and we are excited to follow his career at Utica College,” said Bruins Head Coach Steve Howard.
The Maplewood, MN native logged a total of 79 points during his tenure with the Austin Bruins. During his first season, the forward notched 11 total points which he then bested the following season by scoring 30. In 2018-19, his final season of junior eligibility, Zapata had his best season to date with 16 goals and 22 assists. Included in those 16 goals are a pair of tallies to help Austin topple the Aberdeen Wings in Game 3 of the NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs first round.
“I’m thankful to the Austin Bruins, it was a great three-year run. I’ve grown as a player and as a leader over the past three years. I am looking forward to furthering my education and playing hockey at Utica College,” the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward said.
Zapata becomes the second player commitment announced by the team since the Bruins season ended a little over a week ago. Zapata is also the eighth player overall this season to announce their collegiate intentions while in Austin.
“Our assistant spotted Dante immediately at the September showcase. We have a specific need for size and smarts through the middle. Dante certainly has that. After speaking with Coach [Steve] Howard, and getting to know Dante in the recruiting process, it became clear that he was a leader with tremendous character. We look forward to introducing Dante to the number one fan base in Division-III hockey,” stated Gary Heenan, Head Coach at Utica College.
Zapata begins his career with the Utica Pioneers beginning with the 2019-20 season this upcoming fall.
The Bruins are looking ahead to the 2019-20 season, the team’s Tenth Anniversary. Special promo nights, giveaways, and added experiences are already being scheduled for the upcoming anniversary year. Season tickets are on sale now starting as low as $175 with reserved seats going for $25. To sign up as a season ticket holder or to market your business through the Austin Bruins, call the Bruins front office at 507-434-4978.