AMARILLO, TX – As the Amarillo Bulls prepare for their third trip to the Robertson Cup National Tournament that is scheduled to begin next weekend, the Coaching Staff is busy already planning for next season.
The Bulls announced today (Wednesday) that defenseman Brendan Vetter and forward Kyle Gattelaro of the Kalamazoo Jr. Wings have verbally committed to the team for the 2013-2014 season. The two veteran players were an important part of the Wings success on the ice the past few seasons.
Gattelaro, who is originally from Delray Beach, Florida near Miami, collected 13 goals and 32 assists for 45 points in 59 games for the Jr. Wings. He also had 190 shots on goal and pitched in four power play goals. In the season prior where he appeared in all 60 regular season contests, Gattelaro had 23 goals and 23 assists for 56 points and was plus 13.
Vetter, a native of North Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin had four goals and 13 assists for 17 points 38 games after he was acquired from the Wenatchee Wild of the West Division. Vetter had 40 shots on goal and 95 penalty minutes. In the 2011-2012 campaign for Wenatchee, the 6-1, 185 pound defender had 14 assists and was plus nine.
Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said with the possibility of team returning just three defenseman from this year’s roster, it was important to add more depth with Vetter.
Brendan gives us our fourth defenseman and works really hard. He played for two great coaches in Bliss Littler and Mark Fakler. While Kyle is a 20 year old who has proven to be a goal scorer up there,” Williams said. “They have been coached by a really good guy, coach and friend in Mark. I know the kids we get from him are going to be prepared and all set to go. Those were a couple of boys that we wanted. After talking to Mark, he didn’t have anything but great things to say about them.”
Williams said that Kyle and Brendan are really eager to come to Amarillo and play in the South Division.
“We lucked out and got two really good hockey players, but by the sounds of it, two really good kids,” Williams added. “I think they are going to fit down here well with our group. I really look forward to seeing them at main camp. I have known Marc Fakler for years, and is a very good coach who has done a terrific job up there. He is one of my good friends in the North American Hockey League.”
Both Brendan Vetter and Kyle Gattelaro are excited to be coming to Amarillo, and said that the team’s past track record was the reason for heading down south.
“Amarillo has had a great track record of winning in the south division, and having been to the national tournament the past couple of years too,” Vetter said. “I want to continue that success with them and get back to the Nationals next year to compete for the Robertson Cup.”
“The Bulls have an excellent coaching staff and success in moving on players and I felt I would fit in excellent with them,” Gattelaro said. “Since I was young I have thought about getting a scholarship and the Bulls will help me accomplish my goal.”
Vetter said that success of moving players on to schools is an important part of why he chose to come to the Texas Panhandle.
“They have 30 scholarships in the last three years and that’s incredible,” he said. “That’s a huge factor for me as to why I wanted to come to Amarillo. The coaches put in a lot of work to help the kids move on.”
It didn’t take long for the players to feel part of the new team, as current Bulls players telephoned Vetter and Gattelaro to welcome them to the family.
“It was really nice receiving phone calls from players,” Vetter added. “It’s great to feel part of the team and I am not even there yet. It will make it a lot easier transition.”
I never got that before from any other team, so that made me feel special and already part of the team,” Gattelaro added.
The South Division is known as one of the toughest in the North American Hockey League due to the intensity, emotion and physical play. Both Vetter and Gattelaro are looking forward to that challenge of being in the division.
“I know there is going to be a lot more hitting so I hope to use more of my skill and speed to my advantage on the ice,” Gattelaro said.
“It’s going to be a good experience playing in the South Division,” Vetter added. “I have heard its one of the toughest divisions in the NAHL. I like to play tough teams so I am looking forward to it.”
Kalamazoo Jr. Wings Head Coach Marc Fakler said fans are going to like what Brendan Vetter and Kyle Gattelaro bring to the Amarillo Bulls.
“Kyle is going to bring a lot of speed and energy to the team,” Fakler said. “He has a lot of offensive ability who will play on the power play and special teams. He will be one of the top offensive players in Amarillo next season.
“Brendan is going to be a very solid and steady defenseman that plays physical and will be a leader in the locker room. He is a guy the players will definitely respect. Brendan is a good well-rounded player and a rugged defenseman that fans will certainly enjoy.”
Fakler said that both players meant a lot to his team and will be excellent fits in the Bulls locker room.
“Kyle is one of my original players on the roster and developed quite a bit over the last two years,” he said. “He is a quite leader who shows by example and has been an effective top end guy for us. Brendan is a guy that players respect for how physical and tough he is. He will do anything for the team to be successful.”