NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The 2016 North American 3 Hockey League was conducted on Tuesday and the Brahmas selected the rights of 10 players.
In order, by selection, the players are as follows:
Round One: Hunter Bersani (F)
Round Two: Vincent Dekumbis (F), Bryce Pierce (F)
Round Three: Brett Dillon (F), Michael Alfaro (D)
Round Four: Anthony D’Aloisio (G)
Round Seven: Dustin Bolinger (D), Ben Dirks (F), Hunter Larsen (F)
Round Eight: J.R. Lesatz (F)
"I'm feeling good about our draft, it went as we planned,” said Brahmas Head Coach Al Rooney. “[We] had a couple guys off our board I was hoping to get but you're never going to get every guy you want. We filled out needs as we wanted and expect to have a good bunch of these guys on our roster this coming season."
First round selection Hunter Bersani won’t have to travel very far to begin his career at NYTEX Sports Centre. Hailing from Allen, TX, the 5’10” forward spent the past two seasons playing for the HC Dallas program, where he played alongside 2016-17 tendered defensemen, Todd Luther.
Speaking of familiar faces, second round selection Bryce Pierce is the younger brother of 2014-15 Brahma, Devin Pierce. The 16-year-old forward comes from the über-successful TPH Thunder organization, which had a monumental amount of names on the NA3HL Draft board.
Pierce was one of two second round picks for the Brahmas, the other being Vincent Dekumbis. The only international player selected by the franchise this year spent the past two seasons in the Western States Hockey League and averaged over a point per game through 84 regular season contests. 2016-17 will be the third year of North American hockey for the Swiss native.
Another interesting enigma that the team added on Draft Day was forward Brett Dillon. The right-handed forward saw a massive surge in production last year for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U18 program, posting 30 points in 32 games. If last year was the spark that blossoms Dillon’s career, Brahmaland could be in for a real treat in the fall.
Beyond the Bersani-Luther HC Dallas and Pierce brother’s connections, Rooney added another when he added Michael Alfaro from Appleton, Wisconsin. Appleton is also the hometown of Brahmas forward Bennett Weycker and the 18-year-old defensemen will hope to continue his warpath now in North Richland Hills. Spending four years in the high school league, Alfaro logged 83 points in 94 games from the blue line and an additional 14 points in 14 post-season games.
With the next two picks the Brahmas stayed close to home again by adding goaltender Anthony D’Aloisio and defensemen Dustin Bolinger. D’Aloisio (Frisco) and Bolinger (Euless) come from the Dallas Stars junior program, where they join the long list of players who have transitioned to help the Brahmas organization.
Ben Dirks was the next selection for the team and he was followed by yet another connection-selection in Hunter Larsen. Larsen played for the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U18 program along with tendered defensemen Jake Peterson. The forward had 26 points in 30 games last year and will look to follow that near point-per-game average with the Brahmas.
Rounding out the draft for Rooney’s Brahmas was forward J.R. Lesatz. At 6’0” – 175 lbs., the Howard, Wisconsin native spent last season with Notre Dame Academy.
When all was said and done, the Brahmas concluded with seven forwards, two defensemen, and one goalie. "It was important and part of our game plan to lean towards it being a forward heavy draft for us. We are secure in our goaltending depth, and our tender list was chock full of high-end defenseman so we needed to load ourselves up front,” Rooney continued.
The next event for the team will be next weekend when the team hits the ice for Open Camp. Along with the Lone Star Brahmas, the organization will take the ice at NYTEX Sports Centre to inspect players who were not selected in the draft or tendered, but still want to display their talents. For more information on the Brahmas, follow Texas Brahmas NA3HL on Facebook and @TXBrahmas on Twitter.