(Albuquerque, New Mexico) Tuesday, November 26, 2019 – The New Mexico Ice Wolves™, playing their inaugural season in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce that goaltender Josh Graziano has committed to join the Union College Dutchmen (ECAC) effective winter 2020. Graziano becomes the first player in NM Ice Wolves history to commit to play Division I college hockey.
Graziano, 19, was the first draft pick of the NM Ice Wolves, second pick overall, in the 2019 NAHL draft and has played 17 games for the team this season. He recorded the first win in NM Ice Wolves history and picked up his first NAHL shutout after stopping 50 shots. Graziano was named 2nd Star for the South Division “Players of the Week” for November 18, 2019. He also has had multiple saves appear on NAHL “Plays of the Week”. Graziano is currently second in the league in saves with 572 and has faced the second-most shots against (631). Last season Graziano also played ten games for the Brantford 99ers (OJHL) and three games for the Brooks Bandits (AJHL). In 2017-18 he played 16 games for the Coulee Region Chill (NAHL).
The 6’3” 190-pound goaltender is from Buffalo New York and grew up only four hours away from Union College. The NCAA Division I hockey program has excelled at having their players reach the next level and two seasons ago the team had five players get drafted into the National Hockey League. Union College has been to the Frozen Four two times as a DI program (2012, 2014) and won the NCAA National Championship in 2014.
When asked about his commitment to play for the Dutchmen next semester Graziano stated, “It was a difficult decision to leave a community that will always have a place in my heart, but I am excited for the next step in my career.” Josh went on to add, “Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, Ice Wolves staff and fans for all of the support this year. From top to bottom, the NM Ice Wolves have been the best junior organization I’ve ever experienced and is filled with amazing people who want nothing but the best for all of us players.”
When asked about Graziano’s commitment, Head Coach Phil Fox stated, “I couldn’t be prouder for Josh and our organization. The NAHL is ‘The League of Opportunity’ and this is exactly what we want to happen for our players. Josh has earned this opportunity through his hard work and dedication.” Coach Fox continued, “We want the NM Ice Wolves to be a place for extraordinary development for all of our players so they can have the same opportunity to move their careers forward at the highest possible levels. This is a great first college commitment for our team and we look forward to helping to produce many more in the months and years ahead.”