Mucci on to big things
WELLINGTON - Feb 18, 2017 - by Brock Ormond -
Nic Mucci’s 2016-17 season has been a whirlwind to say the least.
The 20 year old native of Mississauga, Ont. is currently finishing up his second season as a member of the Wellington Dukes, sitting as one of the top point-getters in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He’s in third with 74 points, one spot behind Dukes teammate Brayden Stortz, helping his team to fifth place in the ultra-competitive Northeast Conference in the process.
Another big individual highlight for Mucci during the 2016-17 season was when he was selected to Team Canada East for the 2016 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta. Mucci and Team Canada East came home with a silver medal from the experience following a 4-0 loss to a powerful squad from the United States.
And the most recent accolade that the Dukes forward has received is a hockey scholarship to Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. Being a Purple Eagle is something Mucci says he is very grateful for.
“My goal was to go Division 1 and I was talking to a couple other schools, but Niagara was my first choice, so I’m glad I’m going there,” he said.
A certain comfortability level will be there for Mucci as he makes his transition from the junior level to college. A teammate from last season, Port Hope native Ben Sokay, is a freshman with the Purple Eagles after compiling 64 points last season in the County.
“That’s going to be a big help, knowing him and a couple guys that are already going there. He’s a great guy and a really good player, so I’m looking forward to that,” Mucci said.
Mucci credits the men behind the bench, head coach and general manager Marty Abrams and assistant coaches Ryan Woodward and Kyle Hawkins-Schulz for much of his success.
“(Abrams) helps me a lot. He’s won championships and he’s been through it all. You just try to listen to him as much as you can,” Mucci said.
“(The assistant coaches) are close to our age, so we can connect. They know what we’re going through, so it helps us a lot throughout the year,” he added.
Hawkins-Schulz, a former Duke for two seasons, says he believes that the former Carleton Place Canadian (Central Canada Hockey League) will transition smoothly to NCAA Division 1 hockey.
“Nic is a very hard worker,” Hawkins-Schulz said.
“That’s an aspect of his game that he actually takes pride in, being a hard worker in all three zones. If he can score and chip in on the offence, that will be a bonus for his game,” he added.
Mucci himself adds that his style of play will translate well to the college level.
“I’m a skilled player, but I have some grit. I’m not afraid to get into the corners. I want to do what’s best for the team. So, whether that’s my playmaking or if the team needs to me to get a hit (and) go grind it out, then I can do that too.”
With the end of his last junior season looming and playoffs approaching, Mucci had some heartfelt words for the Wellington fans he entertained with his skills for the past two seasons.
“Coming here as a player, you see the support and you just want to do well for the fans,” Mucci said.
“You don’t want to lose ever, because they’re always here every game…without them, there is no hockey team. They’re the best fans in the league, so that’s really all you can ask for,” he continued.