AMARILLO, TX – Leadership has always been a big part of the success of the Amarillo Bulls in its short five-year history. The new Bulls Coaching Staff hopes the players chosen to be Captains and Assistants will bring quality leadership both on and off the ice as the team looks to return to its winning tradition and success.
The Amarillo Bulls announced today (Thursday) that Joey DiBenedetto has been named Captain for the 2015-16 season, while Trent Dillinger, Nick Santoro, and Brady Crabtree have been given Assistant roles.
DiBenedetto, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska, joins John Rey, Joe Kozlak, Matt Johnson, Ben Jentsch, Derek Hills and Mike Davis as Bulls Captains in team history. Both Dillinger and Crabtree return for their second seasons with the Bulls, while Santoro joins the team after spending time in the Ontario Provincial Hockey League in Trenton.
“Being a captain especially for this team here in Amarillo is pretty special because they have a great track record,” said DiBenedetto. “When I found out I was named Captain, I was truly honored. A lot of good Captains have come out of this organization and I’m just trying to follow in their footsteps.”
In 59 games with the Bulls, DiBenedetto notched seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points. One of the areas that the 5-10181-pound forward was noted for was his hard work on the defensive end especially blocking shots. DiBenedetto said he hopes to be a mixture of two of the Bulls recent Captains Mike Davis and Ben Jentsch.
“I have heard stories about Mike Davis and he and I are very similar in our styles of play,” he said. “He and Ben set the bar high for everyone. Ben commanded the locker room and wasn’t afraid of calling guys out. I’m trying to make sure I’m a mixture of both Mike and Ben.”
Bulls Head Coach Matt Nicholson said he liked what DiBenedetto brought to the team during discussions in the summer and through training camp.
“Joey is a great choice because he has been here before, has experience, knows the community and what it means to be a Bull,” said Nicholson. “He was one of those players who was dissatisfied with last season from a personal and team standpoint. As a player, I think he is motivated to get the Bulls organization back to its winning ways.”
Nicholson said he expects a lot of his Captains especially when it comes to communication within the team.
“I think Joey will be able to handle the pressure of the ‘C’ the right way,” he added. “Joey takes a lot of pride in this program, and I know he will exude all of the qualities of what a Captain should be.”
The new leadership of the Amarillo Bulls along with the rest of the team will hit the ice on Saturday in the 6th home opener at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The face-off is set for 7 pm and tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. Fans can also call 806-242-1122.