AMARILLO, TX – The Transformation…
It’s the process of watching a hockey player take that step in the development process from youth to junior and then to the next level. That transformation is something that Amarillo Bulls fans have certainly enjoyed watching players go through over the past nine years.
Defenseman Brenden Datema has certainly taken that next step this season and it has made him not only one of the top players in the South Division but the entire North American Hockey League. Now that hard work and success that Datema is having has helped him to the collegiate level.
The Bulls announced today (Tuesday) that Brenden Datema has committed to Michigan Tech University (WCHA) for the 2019-2020 season. He’s the third Bulls player on the 2019-2020 roster to make his NCAA College Commitment, joining fellow Michigan natives Jason Brancheau (Ferris State) and Logan Jenuwine (Western Michigan).
“I definitely knew I worked on a lot of things this summer, and the hard work paid off,” Datema said. “I adjusted my schedule to what I needed to work on the most. My goal was to have a better year than last year, but I wasn’t expecting to have 11 goals in 19 games as a defenseman to start the season.”
The Sterling Heights, Michigan native said there were a number of factors in his decision to pick Michigan Tech, including the success of the program on the ice and the track record of the coaches.
“I think combined they make a great trio,” he said. “They are also great guys so I think they will take care of you. The school is unbelievable too, and very impressive being 8 ½ hours northwest of Detroit. I’m looking forward to being there every day.”
In 19 games with the Bulls, the Sterling Heights, Michigan native has 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. Eight of this 11 goals have been netted via the power play and two are game winners. He was chosen as not only the South Division Player of the Week, but selected as the NAHL Defenseman of the Month for September.
Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo said the team is proud and thrilled about the announcement.
“He worked very hard on his game over the summer and the results he’s having to this point speak for themselves,” said Russo. “He has not only grown as a player but also as a person. His maturity level and work ethic have been a tremendous asset to our group. I’m very excited to watch Brenden continue to develop over the course of the year and help us in our pursuit of a Robertson Cup Championship.”
Datema said he was first looking at going to school out East but is happy to be staying in his home state.
“Once I realized Michigan Tech was a realistic option I wanted to pursue it and take a look at the campus and what it had to offer,” he said. “I think playing in Michigan will be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
Russo said that Michigan Tech is a great fit for Brendan not only athletically but also academically.
“Coach Joe Shawhan and his staff are excellent leaders and developers of young men,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for Brenden to grow as a player and student-athlete.”
Datema credits several coaches for helping him to get where he is today.
“I want thank Jeff Mitchell and Coach Chris Coury, Coach Derek Szajner and Coach Russo,” He said. “Rocky not only helps you out on the bench but he’s great in practice and off the ice. He’s a great guy to have on your side and as my Head Coach.”
Brenden Datema is the 98th Amarillo Bulls player to announce their NCAA College Commitment in nine seasons of the franchise in the North American Hockey League.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action this weekend when they visit the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday and Saturday at Ector County Coliseum. Tune into the action live on 107.1 Nash Icon, www.amarillobulls.com and PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Fit Omni Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow at 7:11 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. Friday’s game features the arrival of The Grinch as well as the return of the Family-4-Pack and the Bring-A-Bud Pack. Saturday, is the annual Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal to the game and when the Bulls score their first goal then throw the toys onto the ice. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com and www.amarillobulls.com/tickets