Merrimack added its first recruit to the 2019 recruiting class with a verbal commitment from Ethan DeStefani, a power forward from Bedford, New Hampshire. DeStefani has been on the radar of college coaches for the past few years given his size and upside while playing for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, but he took a big step forward this past season at the Gunnery School.
“My focus the last couple years has been on my skating and getting stronger,” said DeStefani. “I have been skating with Dynamic for the past couple summers and it has made a big difference. I also hit the gym hard and I think my strength has come a long way.”
At Gunnery, Ethan captured a New England Prep Championship in his rookie season, knocking off two prep powerhouses on the road in Salisbury and Avon before defeating Milton Academy in the finals.
“It was unbelievable,” said DeStefani. “We took it one game at a time and were confident that we were the best team.”
The season didn’t end for him there as his split season midget team, the Yale Bulldogs, qualified for the 16U Nationals in San Jose, CA.
“Yale was a real fun team, we came from all different prep schools including Salisbury, Gunnery, Loomis, Avon, Taft, Choate, Brunswick and Trinity Pawling,” said DeStefani. “We had a great run and made it to the semifinals, something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”
The young forward had several suitors and visited Northeastern, BU, Harvard, UConn and Merrimack. In the end, Merrimack prevailed.
“There were a lot of reasons why I chose Merrimack,” said DeStefani. “I loved the coaching staff, the school and the facilities. I really wanted to play in Hockey East and felt Merrimack fit my style of play.”
He is unsure whether he will return to Gunnery for the 2016-2017 season or play for Waterloo (USHL) who drafted him last spring in the ninth round of the futures draft. He will be attending the USA Development Camp in Buffalo this summer as well as a few tournaments but wants to focus his energy on development.
“I will also be power skating with Dynamic and training at the Edge with Clint Edinger all summer,” added DeStefani.
With the verbal commitment from DeStefani, Merrimack moves inside the top 10 for the 2019 Recruiting Class Ranking.