GOALTENDER BRIAN BAKER COMMITS TO UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
AMARILLO, TX – If you put the work in, you will be rewarded for it.
That’s not just a saying in everyday life, but it can also be used in sports as well. Goaltender Brian Baker told the Amarillo Bulls Coaching Staff that he would come down to Amarillo and earn a chance to play. Baker has taken that opportunity and used it to not only play in several games in the 2nd half of the season, but to also springboard to the next level.
The Bulls announced today (Thursday) that goaltender Brian Baker has made his NCAA College Commitment to the University of New England, Division III (NEHC) for this fall.
“I was excited to come down to Amarillo and everything has been amazing,” he said. “I can’t describe how exciting this announcement is and how ready I am to start the next journey.”
Baker said he took the opportunity that was presented to him and has made the most of it.
“Coach Nicholson wasn’t guaranteeing me anything down here,” Baker said. “I told him I would come down and work hard to earn a chance to play. From there that was it, I tried to put the work in and for that I got rewarded.”
Baker, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, has been on quite a journey this season. It all started last summer when he was deciding what the next step of his hockey career would be. After discussions with his Under 18 coaches, he decided to try out for the Kenai River Brown Bears where he secured one of the goaltending spots.
“To go up there and experience Alaska, which was probably the most beautiful place that I’ve been too,” he said. “Then things didn’t work out there and I went back to Pittsburgh so I could get some ice time, and then the next thing Coach (Matt Nicholson) called and I am on my way to Amarillo.”
Baker has played seven games for the Bulls, including a stretch of four straight. He posted a huge win over the Odessa Jackalopes in his first game in a Bulls uniform. He played well in his other starts including most recently in a game against Wichita Falls.
Bulls Head Coach Matt Nicholson is thrilled for Brian Baker and his commitment.
“It’s huge for Brian because he knows there’s a direction to go in and for sure a plan B where he can go to school and continue his hockey career,” he said. “The most important thing is that he can also get an education.”
Baker is like many young players in the United States that grew up with a dream to go to school and play NCAA hockey. Now that dream is a reality.
“It means everything for me,” he said. “You grow up as a kid and everyone wants to play college hockey. For me it’s hard to put into words what the opportunity means to me.”
Baker credited goaltender mate Anton Martinsson for pushing and getting him ready.
“Yes that has certainly helped,” he said. “Anton is probably the best goalie in the league from my perspective and to be able to play with him and get pushed by him to be better is something I thought I would never be able to get.”
The regular season home finale weekend begins tomorrow night for the Amarillo Bulls at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center against the Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. It’s Amarillo College and The Musical Texas Night with free tickets available to High School Seniors. Saturday night, when the two teams clash at 7 pm, it’s The People’s Federal Credit Union Night and fans who show up early receive a Pucky The Pig Piggy Bank.
It’s Fan Appreciation Weekend and tickets for both games are $5 for Red and Silver Sections. The Bulls are wearing special jerseys to commemorate their 400th North American Hockey League game courtesy of Panhandle Tickets. Fans can win one by purchasing a raffle ticket for just $5 with proceeds to benefit Amarillo Youth Hockey. Tickets can be purchased either at the Bulls Office or on the concourse at the games. The jerseys will be drawn on Saturday immediately after the game on the ice and fans don’t have to be present to win.
Fans can get game tickets at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates, Corporate Marketing Partnerships or 2016-17 Season Tickets please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.