By Jake Howorth, North York Rangers Communications and Digital Director. Image from OJHL Images.
Former North York Ranger Dante Fantauzzi has committed to Scared Heart University to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Pioneers this fall.
“I decided on Sacred Heart because it was a great fit for me as a hockey player, and as a person. On the hockey side, they play in an AHL facility in Bridgeport Connecticut, with a brand new facility being built on campus that will be completed during my time there. They are involved in a number of college tournaments including the Connecticut classic which they won the previous year and have been competitive in the Atlantic Conference,” Fantauzzi explained “The coaching staff did a great job welcoming me and my family during the recruiting process which was much different during this COVID time period. Playing at Sacred Heart also gives me the opportunity to strive for a masters degree while I play hockey there which was huge on the education aspect. The campus is also beautiful which is a huge bonus.”
The defenseman is no stranger to NCAA D1 hockey. He earned a full scholarship and played his freshmen season for the University of Alaska Anchorage dressing in 11 games. Once the school decided to opt out of the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic he decided to leave. That brought him to his current situation with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. Right when he arrived, he has made an impact. He plays top line minutes and is put in every situation. The 20-year-old has recorded 13 points in 25 games. At one points this season, he was named USHL defensemen of the week after registering three points in two contests.
Before this, Fantauzzi developed with the North York Rangers. After playing nine games as an AP, he spent the next two seasons (2017-2019) with the club. He was a part of a defensive group they allowed the fewest goals in both of those seasons. The Woodbridge, Ont., Native played in 90 career games recording six goals and 25 assists for 31 points. He knows North York was a factor is his development.
“North York helped developed me for this by teaching me what needed to be done to have success at the junior level,” he said. “The habits I develop in North York allowed me to have success in different leagues and I will always be grateful and look back as my time as a Ranger
Fifth-year head coach Geoff Schomogyi isn’t surprise that Fantauzzi is where he is today. The coach credits the defensemen’s drive from day one, which was a massive reason for his growth while being a Ranger. “Dante spent 3 years with us, one as an AP. From the moment he started with us he had a constant hunger to get better every day! He was always one of the first guys in the ice and one of the last off,” the coach explained “His game really evolved with us. He became more confident as a player and his skills continued getting better each day. It’s great to see Dante get another opportunity to play at the NCAA level.”
Fantauzzi becomes the 31st Ranger to commit to either the NCAA or U SPORTS since 2016.