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Graziano becomes Ice Wolves’ first-ever NCAA D-I commitment as goaltender joins Union College

 

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A strong first half of the 2019-20 NAHL season had top NCAA Division I schools taking notice of New Mexico Ice Wolves goalie Josh Graziano.

In late November, the Buffalo, N.Y., native committed to Union College, a school just four hours from Buffalo, and joined the Dutchmen in December, becoming the first player in Ice Wolves history to commit to play Division I college hockey.

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The 19-year-old Graziano was the first draft pick of the Ice Wolves, going second overall, in the 2019 NAHL Draft and went 3-13-0 with a 3.54 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

“It was a difficult decision to leave a community that will always have a place in my heart, but I am excited for the next step in my career,” Graziano said. “Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, Ice Wolves staff and fans for all of the support this year. From top to bottom, the New Mexico Ice Wolves has been the best junior organization I’ve ever experienced and is filled with amazing people who want nothing but the best for all of us players.”

Ice Wolves coach-GM Phil Fox, who played NCAA D-I hockey at Northern Michigan University from 2007-11, is beyond pumped to see Graziano take his game to the next level.

“I couldn’t be prouder for Josh and our organization,” said Fox, an NAHL graduate himself, having played for the Fargo-Moorhead Jets from 2004-06. “The NAHL is ‘the league of opportunity’ and this is exactly what we want to happen for our players. Josh has earned this opportunity through his hard work and dedication.

“We want the New Mexico Ice Wolves to be a place for extraordinary development for all of our players so they can have the same opportunity to move their careers forward at the highest possible levels. This is a great first college commitment for our team and we look forward to helping to produce many more in the months and years ahead.”

Photo/Rebekah Bing

— Matt Mackinder

(Jan. 22, 2020)