Courtesy OJHL website
North York Rangers net-minder Jason Pucciarelli has confirmed his commitment to join the Salem State University Vikings beginning with the 2014-15 MASCAC season.
Jason Pucciarelli was born on June 4, 1993 in Newmarket, Ontario and would play the large majority of his minor hockey career with the regional ‘AAA’ organization, the York-Simcoe Express. Beginning in minor atom, the lanky netminder would spend the next six consecutive seasons racking up an impressive list of accomplishments. The 1993-born Express would win four OMHA championships and one silver medal, while earning the bronze medal for a 3rd place finish at the OHF provincial championship twice. The club would also capture the prestigious Silver Stick tournament in bantam. Along with hockey, Pucciarelli would excel in roller hockey as a member of the York Mission Triumph.
Entering his minor midget season in 2008-09, Pucciarelli would move to the ‘AAA’ South Central Ontario Coyotes club based out of Richmond Hill, and continue his winning ways. Along with capturing the Eastern ‘AAA’ Hockey League title, the club would win three tournaments along the way, including the Gatineau Kiwanis Tournament, the Sudbury Big Nickel Tournament and the Waterloo Gold Puck Tournament. “Pooch” as his teammates refer to him, would excel at all three, capturing the Top Goalie Award with a 0.63 goals against average and a .970 save percentage in Gatineau, as well as backstopping the Coyotes to three shutouts, including a 2-0 victory over London to earn Game MVP honours in Sudbury.
The net minder returned to the Express in 2009-10, playing in 35 games with a 21-7-7 record and an impressive 2.11 goals against average to go along with six shutouts. That summer, he would join the CHE Blue Team in Boston, once again winning Top Goalie honours as the club won the Junior Division of the 2010 Boston Chowders Senior Cup. Pucciarelli earned the praise of numerous scouts for his play and would be picked up by the Orangeville Flyers.
The 6’, 185 lbs. back stopper would excel early and perked the attention of NHL scouts as the only OJHL goalie place on NHL Central Scouting’s “Players to Watch” list for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The young net minder posted a 5-6-1 record on the season for the Flyers with a 3.63 goals against average and .890 save percentage, while also being chosen to represent Team East at the 2010 CJHL Prospects Games held in Dauphin, Manitoba.
Following the season, with the Flyers ceasing operations, Pucciarelli was able to return to his hometown and join the perennial powerhouse Newmarket Hurricanes in 2011-12. He racked up a full list of accomplishments, including being a member of Team Canada East that won the silver medal at the 2011 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Langley, B.C., being a member of the OJHL North Division All-Stars that finished as runner-up at the inaugural Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge that was held in Smiths Falls, Ontario and being named the Gongshow Gear North-West Conference Player-of-the-Month for January. Platooning with Matthew Wintjes, the ‘Canes would finish as runner-up to the Georgetown Raiders for the OJHL regular season title, but the would be upset in the playoffs by the eventual league champion Stouffville Spirit. He finished the year with a 16-4-3 record and the league’s fifth best goals against average at 2.25, as well as a .922 save percentage.
Looking for a true starters role, Pucciarelli was on the move to the Hamilton Red Wings to kick-off the 2012-13 season. However, with the Red Wings mired in a horrendous losing streak, he would be moved to the contending North York Rangers after just 17 games between the Red Wings pipes. He finished the year with respectable numbers in 22 games for the Rangers, but would leave his mark in the post-season as they upset the South-West Conference regular season champion Buffalo Jr. Sabres before falling to the eventual league champion St. Michael’s Buzzers. Pucciarelli finished among the league leaders in most categories, including third with a 2.47 playoff goals against average.
Entering 2013-14 with some stability and remaining with the Rangers, Pucciarelli posted a 16-13-5 record in 37 regular season games played. He then split the playoff net minding duties, finishing with a 5-4 record to help North York avenge the previous year’s defeat to St. Michael’s before falling to the eventual league champion for the third consecutive year of his career; the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots.