AMARILLO, TX — The Amarillo Bulls were busy today (Thursday) selecting six forwards at the North American Hockey League Entry Draft.
All NAHL teams were part of the on-line draft and chose players from a variety of different programs across North America. Two of the Bulls forwards were chosen from the Dallas Under 18 AAA Stars program, while two were selected from the New Jersey Rockets which produced forwards TJ Sarcona (Niagara University) and Tyler Deresky. The remaining two were chosen from the St. Louis Jr AAA Blues program and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL.
Draft picks are given based on the total number of each team's returning players minus the number of tendered players signed. This allowed the Bulls to make six selections, including three in the second round.
"We are very excited with the young men we selected in the draft and got some very talented, gritty, and skilled players that will be able to help our program," said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. "With the loss of a number of forwards, we felt that it was an area we had to concentrate on. I am really happy with the forwards that we have returning, and I expect big things from them and to be good leaders to our new players."
Williams is excited to start working with all of the new players and having them become a part of not only our hockey program but the Amarillo community.
"I am confident that the players will have a great experience this year with our entire program, host families, and our community. It's a great city and hockey town. I know they are very excited to come out here and become an Amarillo Bull."
With the last pick of the first round the Bulls chose Andrew Dower of the St. Louis Jr. Blues program. In the second round the Bulls selected Matt Volonnino from the New Jersey Rockets, Ryan McMurphy of the Dallas Under 18 AAA Stars, and Conor O'Neil also from the New Jersey Rockets.
In the third round the Bulls selected Brady Ferguson from the Dallas Jr. Stars Program followed by Kent Sherrer of the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL in the final round of the draft.
Williams said he is pleased that they added two more players from the Dallas Jr. Stars program.
"We have now five total players from the State of Texas (plus one from Oklahoma), including Clint Carlisle and Sam Johnson along with two of our tenders. I think it goes to show that there is a lot of great talent right here in the state of Texas. Our staff has done a terrific job of finding not only great players but great young men."
Here is the complete list of Amarillo Bulls selections in the NAHL Draft:
ANDREW DOWER is a 6-0, 168 pound-forward from the St. Louis Jr. Blues of the Tier I Elite League. The St. Louis, Mo native had 17 goals and 39 assists for 49 points.
"Andrew is a smart two-way hockey player, and one of the leading scorers this year for the St. Louis AAA blues," said Bulls Assistant Coach Rocky Russo. "He should be very good addition to our forward corps."
MATT VOLONNINO is a 5-9, 180-pound forward who suited up for the New Jersey Rockets in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.
Volonnino, a native of Hackettstown, NJ, had 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 33 games.
"Matt comes from the same program that produced TJ Sarcona and Tyler Deresky," said Russo. "Matt is a skilled forward with good goal scoring touch. We will look for him to make the strides at this level that he has done for The New Jersey Rockets."
RYAN MCMURPHY played for the Dallas Under 18 AAA Stars in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. In 39 games for the Stars, McMurphy, a Broken Arrow, Oklahoma resident, notched 21 goals and added 29 assists for 50 points.
"Ryan is a very skilled high end forward from Dallas who has good vision and playmaking abilities," Russo said. He has the potential to be a top scorer."
CONOR O’NEILis a native of Hummelstown, Pa and a teammate of Matt Volonnino with the New Jersey Rockets in the AJHL. O'Neil, a 6-1, 180 pound forward had 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points in 42 games.
"Conor is a big power forward with a good skill set," said Russo. "He skates well and has good finish around the net."
BRADY FERGUSON played on the same team with Ryan McMurphy and is a native of Lewisville, TX. Ferguson, 6-0, 185 pounds, had 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points in 40 games.
"Brady was one of the most complete players on the U18 team this past year and has the ability to play in all situations," said Russo.
KENT SHERRER was a member of the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL this past season. Sherrer who hails from Dublin, Ohio had six goals and two assists for eight points in 40 games with the Stampede.
"Kent is a highly skilled forward with previous junior experience," Russo said. "He has good hands and is a good skater and comes with great leadership qualities."