NEWARK, NJ – The New Jersey Rockets are pleased to announce that a pair of Rockets were selected by the Amarillo Bulls in this past week’s NAHL Entry Draft. Amarillo traded up to the second pick in the second round (27th overall) to select forward Matt Volonnino (’94 birth year/Hackettstown, NJ) and then chose forward Conor O’Neil (’94 birth year/Hummelstown, PA) with the last pick of the second round (48th overall). Rocket alumni Colin Brennan (’93 birth year/Chester, NJ) was also chosen by Janesville with the sixth pick of the ninth round (147th overall). While there were several players chosen from the Atlantic and Met leagues, the Rockets were the only team to have multiple players chosen. This was the second time O’Neil was drafted by a team in the month of May as Des Moines selected the Hummelstown native in the 18th round of the recently completed USHL draft.
“Amarillo is one of the top programs in the NAHL,” commented Rockets Head Coach and Director of Player Development Bob Thornton. “Head Coach Dennis Williams and his staff do an excellent job developing their players and getting them ready for the next level.”
The Bulls, the 2012 NAHL Organization of the year, found success this past year by relying on a pair of Rocket alumni in forwards TJ Sarcona (’92 birth year/West Islip, NY & committed to Niagara University) and Tyler Deresky (’92 birth year/Flemington, NJ) in reaching the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals. Both Sarcona and Deresky were among the scoring leaders for the two-time NAHL South Division Champions.
“Developing a relationship with one of the top programs in the NAHL is mutually beneficial,” reflected Thornton. “Amarillo knows that they are getting well-coached players that are ready to contribute immediately and our players see that, as an organization, we are committed to moving players on to the next phase of their careers. In getting the exposure they need, along with the proper training and coaching, Rocket players are gaining notoriety in the world of junior hockey.”