Signings & Commitments (August 2022)

As every hockey fan knows, there is a lot of player movement during the offseason. That movement isn’t limited to those players in the professional ranks signing with new teams. Hockey players and coaches all over the country, and right here in Central New York, are seeking new opportunities. Below is a list of names with Central New York ties who have either decided to pursue their dreams elsewhere or have made a commitment to further their playing career at a college or university outside our area. As always, if there is something missing from this article please contact us or email


Victoria Klimek – Leksands IF (SDHL (W))

5’8″  |  August 27, 1999  |  Orangeville, ON, CAN
Previous Team: Syracuse University (NCAA (W))

Klimek, a Orangeville, Ontario native is taking her talents to Leksand, Sweden this season. She recorded 73 points over 164 games during her five seasons as a member of the Orange. That includes 38 goals and 35 assists.

“I am very excited and looking forward to coming to Leksands IF, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to represent the association. After having good meetings with the management in Leksands IF, I feel confident that it is the right choice for me. I see myself as a competitive, passionate and intense player who loves to win. I value hard teamwork and I look forward to continuing to contribute 100 percent in every situation to the team. I always try to contribute with a positive attitude and really look forward to what we can achieve as a team.” Klimek told the team.

Griffin Lunn – Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)

5’10″  |  190 lbs.  |  November 15, 1997  |  Lockport, NY
Previous Team: Colgate University (NCAA)

Griffin Lunn

Lunn, 24, is making the jump to the pro game, after finishing his four-year collegiate career at Colgate University. Griffin saw his production increase during all four of his seasons with the Raiders. He finished third on the team with 12 goals, and tied for fifth with 19 points last season. He accumulated 20 goals, 23 assists, and 43 points in 121 games over his four year career.

“Griffin is a player who had a breakout year as a senior at Colgate,” said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. “He can really skate, he plays physical, and he has a good shot. We are excited to see what he can do as a pro.”


Zach Bookman – Merrimack College

5’10″  |  176 lbs.  |  March 29, 2002  |  Syracuse, NY
Previous Team: Brooks Bandits (AJHL)

Zach Bookman

Following a very successful season with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Bookman will be taking his talents to Merrimack College this fall.

The Syracuse native finished the season with 102 points (21 goals, 81 assists) in 55 regular season games. He added another 10 points in 9 playoff games helping his team claim the AJHL Championship. He was named to the AJHL South All-Rookie Team and AJHL South All-Star Team as well as being chosen as AJHL Most Outstanding Defenseman and CJHL Top Defenseman. His 102 points also set a new record for most points by a defenseman in the AJHL.

Andy Boschetto – Augustana University

February 9, 1982  |  Chelmsford, MA
Previous Team: Colgate University (NCAA)

Andy Boschetto

Colgate assistant coach Andy Boschetto has taken a new job behind the bench at upstart Augustana University. He will join head coach Garrett Raboin as they build a team to begin play in the fall of 2023.

While at Colgate, Boschetto coached the ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Defensemen in 2020-21 and three players who earned ECAC Hockey All-League honors that season. In 2021-22, Colgate went unbeaten in 13 of its final 17 games including an upset of No. 18 Cornell in a best-of-three series in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.

Prior to his time at Colgate, Boschetto spent three seasons at Niagara University and seven seasons with Salve Regina. In addition, he has spent time at Curry College and Proctor Academy prep school. Boschetto also played at Hobart College and Suffolk University.

Owen Carlile – Army West Point

6’0″  |  174 lbs.  |  December 15, 2033  |  Brighton, MI
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)/Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

Owen Carlile

The Utica Jr. Comets announced in December that Owen Carlile had committed to Army West Point. Owen spent two season on the NCDC team where he put up 17 goals and 30 assists in 62 games. He also played 10 games for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL at the end of last season where he managed one assist.

“When I went on my visit to Army, I loved everything about it. It’s such a historic school and everything about it just fits me as a person,” Carlile told Michael Lehr of the Comets. “When the coaches were talking about how their team usually likes to play, everything with what they said I believed in. I also feel that I’m making my parents proud as both of them served in the military. All those factors made it a very easy decision for me!”

Bennett Hambrook – University of Nebraska Omaha

March 18, 1982  |  Kimberley, BC, CAN
Previous Team: Hamilton College (NCAA DIII)

After four seasons as an assistant coach with the Hamilton College Men’s Hockey Team, Bennet Hambrook has accepted a job as the Director of Hockey Operations with the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks.

Bennett Hambrook

“I am thrilled to be joining Omaha Athletics and Omaha Hockey,” said Hambrook in an interview with USCHO. “The opportunity to work with a leader like Coach Gabinet and this experienced staff is what attracted me to the position and is the driver for my excitement to get going. Watching Omaha hockey from afar over the last few years, it’s clear that in terms of program culture, work ethic, and talent, we are poised for success. I am eager to begin working with this group and, most importantly, helping our students develop as people and players at the high-level Omaha hockey is known for.”

Hambrook led recruiting efforts, pre-scouting, and defensive systems under Continentals head coach Rob Haberbusch. He also played collegiately at Hamilton where he was an alternate captain in his sophmore and junior seasons and the team captain in 2016-17. He helped lead the team to their first 20-win season in school history.

Anthony Messuri – Northeastern University

5’7″  |  161 lbs.  |  July 24, 2001  |  Arlington, MA
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

Messuri joined the Jr. Comets midway through the season after playing 14 games for the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. While with Utica Anthony, 21, recorded 6 points in 18 games.

“My time with the Utica Junior Comets I feel has well prepared me for the culture and habits of college hockey in a staggering way,” Messuri said. “Coach Educate’s deep understanding of the game and what it takes to play at an elite level has driven me in practice and in games to push myself to become better at one thing every day. With help from Coach Shawn Lynch, staff does an unbelievable job at developing Junior players into future college hockey players.”

Autumn Mish – University of New Hampshire

5’10″  |  November 25, 2002  |  New Hartford, NY/Long Lake, NY
Previous Team: Boston Jr. Eagles 19U (19U AAA (W))

Autumn Mish (New Hartford) will be attending the University of New Hampshire in the fall. Mish spent last season with the Boston Jr. Eagles 19U AAA program. Prior to that she played for the Rochester Edge, Canterbury School, and Buffalo Regals.

Niko Rexine – Western Michigan University

6’2″  |  190 lbs.  |  June 20, 2002  |  Syracuse, NY
Previous Team: Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)

Niko Rexine

Syracuse native Nicholas (Niko) Rexine committed to Western Michigan University.

“Proud to announce that I have committed to play Division 1 college hockey at Western Michigan University. Thanks to my family, coaches, teammates and friends that have help me along the way! #GoBroncos #NCHC #CollegeHockey,” said Rexine back in February of 2022.

Rexine played for the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL last season where he recorded 61 points in 54 games.


Walter Baumann – Salve Regina University

5’10″  |  165 lbs.  |  January 25, 2001  |  Ormond Beach, FL
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

Walter Baumann

After finishing up a strong three year junior career with the NCDC squad, Baumann will be heading to Newport, Rhode Island in the fall to begin his collegiate career. Walter played 123 games while in Utica scoring 45 goals and 49 assists, good for 94 points.

“My three years at Utica has shown me a lot,” Baumann said. “It has shown me how hard you have to work to earn a spot on the team, and I can apply that to anything in life. I’ve been honored to be a leader on the team my final year as we work for a playoff spot. I would like to thank coach Lou and Lynch for believing in me as a player and putting me in the right spot to succeed. I want to thank all my coaches throughout the years, all my family for the countless support, and my teammates that help me produce.”

Tripp Clarke – Manhattanville College

6’0″  |  154 lbs.  |  February 3, 2001  |  Cazenovia, NY
Previous Team: Northern Cyclones (USPHL Premier)

Tripp (Cazenovia, NY) had spent his entire career in the Central New York area prior to joining the Charlotte Rush in 2020-21. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on that season and he only played 2 games. Last season with the Northern Cyclones Tripp only lost one game finishing the season with a 19-1-0 record. His 1.82 GAA and .937 save percentage ranked him fifth and sixth respectively out of a total of 93 USPHL Premier goaltenders.

Tripp spent four seasons in the Syracuse/Utica organization before making the move to Charlotte. In his last season with the Utica Premier team (2019-20) he went 14-6-1 with a 3.02 GAA and .908 save percentage.

Luke French – Bethel University

5’10″  |  174 lbs.  | March 21, 2001  |  Olathe, KS
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

Luke is a Olathe, Kansas native who has spent the past three years playing hockey in New York state. He joined the Utica Jr. Comets in 2020 after splitting time between the Northwood School Prep and 18U teams the year prior.

Luke French

Luke was a mainstay on the blue line where he appeared in 71 games for the Jr. Comets.

Luke has been a great player for this team the last two seasons,” Head Coach Louis Educate said. “He also has been a great leader for us this season especially for or younger Defenseman. He’s a two-way defenseman who has really come into his own offensively this season earning a player of the month award earlier this season. Luke’s leadership qualities and on ice abilities will make him a great asset for Bethel University.”

John Gutt – Utica College

5’9″  |  154 lbs.  | February 28, 2001  |  Middletown, NJ
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

Middletown, New Jersey native John Gutt will remain in Utica after committing to Utica College. Gutt, 21, has been in the Utica Jr. Comets program since the 2019-20 season where he played 39 games for the Premier team, 29 goals, 33 assists, and another 4 games with NCDC.

The following two years he was a full-time member of the NCDC team and continued his offensive dominance potting a total of 31 goals and 57 assists in 81 total games.

John Gutt

In an interview with Michael Lehr from Gutt said “I am very excited to make my commitment to Utica College official,” Gutt said, “I have worked extremely hard for this opportunity and am ready for what Utica College has to offer. I would like to thank Coach Educate for an unforgettable experience over the last three seasons as he has pushed me to be better and helped me develop as a person and player.

After a lot of consideration and having talked to Coach Heenan and Coach Therrien, I knew I wanted to stay in Utica and play for one of the best programs in college hockey. They provide a pro-like experience and atmosphere and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that.”

Brendan Kennedy – Babson College

August 26, 1994  |  Syracuse, NY
Previous Team: Head Coach, Utica Jr. Comets (Premier)

Brendan Kennedy

Utica Jr. Comet Brendan Kennedy has committed to play NCAA hockey at Babson College. In 49 games with the NCDC team this year, he posted 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points.

“Playing in Utica this year was an incredible experience, especially coming from Canada to a new team, everyone from coach Educate and Lynch to my teammates were very welcoming,” Kennedy said. “Although coming short in the playoffs, I felt that this group accomplished a lot and I wouldn’t have rather spent my last year of junior hockey with any other group.”

Shawn Lynch – Lake Forest College

6’3″  |  170 lbs.  |  June 21, 2002  |  Whitesboro, NY
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (USPHL Premier)

After one season behind the bench as head coach of the Jr. Comets Premier team, Shawn Lynch will be joining Lake Forest College as an Assistant Coach this season. Lynch coached the Jr. Comets to a 26-15-2 record last season. The team finished the regular season 2nd in the Atlantic West division, and 25th overall out of 64 Premier teams.

Lynch, a West Genesee grad, played for the Northwood School and Ottawa Jr. Senators before playing four seasons with the Utica College (now University) Pioneers. After his collegiate career ended Shawn signed to play professionally with the Macon Mayhem of the SPHL through the end of the 2020 season.

Andrew ManleyMorrisville State College

6’3″  |  170 lbs.  |  June 21, 2002  |  Whitesboro, NY
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (USPHL Premier)

Andrew Manley

Whitesboro native Andrew Manley will remain in Central New York next season. Following two season with the Jr. Comets he has committed to Morrisville. Manley, 20, scored 6 goals to go along with his 32 assists in 43 Premier games last season.

“Andrew’s game has come a very long way this season,” said Premier Head Coach Shawn Lynch. “As a returner, he was challenged to step into a much larger role, which he accepted and has made the most of. It’s been awesome to see him produce at the rate he has throughout this season. Being a near point per game player as a defensemen is a tremendous accomplishment and just goes to show how hard he works on a daily basis.”

“I am very excited to commit to play college hockey at SUNY Morrisville this upcoming year,” Manley reacted. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to continue playing hockey. I chose Morrisville because I really loved the coaching staff and the campus with it being not too far from home. They give the opportunity to grow as a person and as a player. I have learned so much from Coach Lynch and Coach Educate throughout the past two years. I had an unbelievable time with the Utica Junior Comets and I thank both coaches for helping me develop into a college hockey player. I have wanted to play college hockey ever since I was little and I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me.”

Lynch continued, “Andrew’s leadership abilities along with his work ethic and competitiveness will allow him to make the transition to the Division III level. He loves the game and I couldn’t be prouder to see him commit to play college hockey. He’s going to add so much to the Morrisville lineup and locker room and I cannot wait to follow him. He’s everything you want in a player and person and deserves this great opportunity.”

Logan Palmer – Western New England University

5’11″  |  170 lbs.  |  April 18, 2001  |  West Winfield, NY
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (USPHL Premier)

Logan Palmer

A West Winfield, NY native, Logan has played for the Mohawk Valley Raiders, Cazenovia Lakers, and Utica Jr. Comets. Following his high school career he spent two season playing for the Boston Jr. Rangers of the EHLP before suiting up the Jr. Comets Premier team last season. In 24 games he finished with a 2.52 GAA, .921 save percentage and 14-7-2 record.

“College hockey has always been a dream of mine and to commit to playing college hockey is one of the greatest feelings in the world,” Palmer said. “Western New England University and Coach Mike Young have been great to me. WNE is a perfect fit for me to further myself in the career I want to pursue.”

6’0″  |  174 lbs.  |  September 27, 2001  |  New Hartford, NY
Previous Team: Vermont Lumberjacks (EHL)

Tyler Penree

Penree grew up in New Hartford where he played four years on the varsity team before joining the Vermont Lumberjacks of the EHL. Now that his junior career has concluded he will be heading West to Buffalo State College.

“I am excited and grateful to be able to advance my hockey and academic careers at Buffalo State,” said Penree. “I would like to thank my family and the Lumberjacks for making my junior hockey career so special these past three years.”

Sam Techel – University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire

5’10″  |  170 lbs.  |  February 20, 2001  |  Wausau, WI
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

Sam Techel

Techel is a native of Wausau, Wisconsin and will be returning to his home state to join his brothers at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. Techel was a three year NCDC player in Utica. He amassed a total of 47 points in 112 games.

“My three years in Utica have helped me grow as player and a person,” Techel said. “We have great facilities along with a great rink and staff to help the players get everything we need. I feel lucky to be able to have spent my last year of juniors here in Utica.”

Brendan Vettraino – Lawrence University

5’10″  |  165 lbs.  |  December 12, 2002  |  Clay Township, MI
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (USPHL Premier)

Brendan Vettraino

Vettraino only spent one season in Utica, but it was a successful one. The Clay Township, Michigan product recorded 53 points in 44 games on the Premier team.

“Brendan is a player that we have relied on in every situation all season,” Junior Comets Premier Head Coach Shawn Lynch said. “He’s been a first line, first PP, first PK unit guy from the start. He thinks the game so well and is one of the hardest working guys in our room. As a first year player, it’s rare to be unanimously voted as a team captain, but he earned a letter within just weeks of arriving in Utica. He’s detail oriented and his work ethic and character are never in question; he’s just very consistent. Brendan genuinely wants to earn his way, which is why he’s going to end up being a great Division III player in one of the best conferences in the country.”

Sebastian Woods – Manhattanville College

5’11″  |  165 lbs.  |  March 12, 2001  |  Limehouse, ON, CAN
Previous Team: Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)

After spending most of his playing career in Canada, Woods (Limehouse, Ontario) made the trip south to block the net for the NCDC team last season. He finished the season with a 15-16-2 record, a 3.44 GAA, and a .906 save percentage.

Sebastian Woods

Woods commented on his first year in Utica, “My time playing for the Utica Junior Comets has been awesome! Leaving Canada to play for the Junior Comets in the NCDC has allowed so much more exposure to the NCAA colleges and Universities than would otherwise have happened. Playing for coach Educate has been a tremendous experience and everyone from the Owner down has been very supportive. Coach Louis along with my teammates have helped push me to become a better player both on the ice, as well as off the ice and I am a better person because of it. I’m very excited to attend Manhattanville College. Not only do they have a good hockey program where I can continue to grow, but Manhattanville is also a well-respected school where I can be successful academically as well.”


Nick Pagliacci – Utica Jr. Comets

February 28, 1994  |  Buffalo, NY
Previous Team: Elmira Jr. Enforcers (USPHL Premier)

The Jr. Comets named Nick Pagliacci head coach of the Premier team and Assistant Coach of the NCDC team, both of the USPHL.

Nick Pagliacci

Nick, from Buffalo, played collegiately at Lindenwood University (ACHA II) from 2015-18. He is entering his fourth season coaching junior hockey having previously spent time behind the bench with the Buffalo Regal, Buffalo Thunder and Elmira Jr. Enforcers.

“I am excited to join the Utica Comets organization. Utica has a rich history of developing players and moving them onto the next level,” said Pagliacci. “Going through the interview process it quickly became apparent to me that the organization truly cares about every player who comes through the program and wants to get all of them to the next level. Their vision matches my goals as a coach which is why Utica was the perfect fit for me.”

Related Articles