The Chicago Steel tendered one of the top prospects in North America on Wednesday, inking Adam Fantilli to a USL tender agreement for the 2021-22 season. Adam’s brother, Michigan commit Luca Fantilli, also committed to the Steel after being drafted by the team in last year’s USHL Phase II Draft.
The USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 2004 players prior to the USHL Phase I Draft. The Steel also tendered defenseman Jake Livanavage.
Adam Fantilli was projected to be the No. 1 pick in the OHL Draft this summer prior to signing with the Steel. The move keeps the 15-year-old’s pathway to college hockey open.
“On behalf of our organization, I want to sincerely thank Giuliano & Julia Fantilli for entrusting us with the development of their sons, both as players and as people,” said Steel General Manager Ryan Hardy. “We can’t wait to get to work with the Fantilli brothers and the rest of the 2020-21 Chicago Steel as we look to return the Clark Cup to Chicago.”
Adam Fantilli, a forward, scored 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 25 games for Kimball Union Academy this past season and he also played for Team Canada at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games.
“A really big factor in Adam and my decision was the fact that we can get another year of playing with each other,” said Luca. “It’s a really special thing to be able to play with your brother and something you grow up dreaming about – a chance to hop on the ice together. This is a great opportunity on an amazing team with amazing coaches and I’m super-excited to be a part of the Steel.”
Adam added, “I’m really excited to be able to be able to join such a great organization,” said Adam. “I can’t wait to get started and play with my brother. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Luca Fantilli (a 2002) recorded 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 35 games for KUA on the blue line.
“Luca Fantilli is a very cerebral, competitive defenseman whom we drafted last year in Phase 2,” said Hardy. “After watching him excel this year at Kimball Union Academy under the tutelage of Tim Whitehead, we felt that now was the time for him to bring his talents to Chicago so that we could help him find new frontiers in his development on his path to the University of Michigan.”
NZ Scouts on Adam Fantilli: “Fantilli has this dominant presence where everyone knows he’s on the ice. A long powerful stride with some quick feet, Fantilli gets going in a hurry. Whether he’s making plays offensively, bullying defenseman to the net or finishing checks, he’s always involved. He has good reach with smooth handles and a decent playmaking ability as well.”
NZ Scouts on Luca Fantilli: “Skilled defenseman with a heavy shot and an excellent passer. He shines on the power play. Not overly physical yet, but defends really well with his stick. He has improved a lot in a short amount of time and was one of the better two-way defensemen in prep hockey this season.”
NZ Scouts on Jake Livanavage: “Great acceleration and control of his feet. He loves to activate offensively and has excellent puck skills and offensive creativity. He is smart, sneaky player who does well to find open ice for looks in the offensive zone and can fire the puck. Very good in transition and keeps his gaps tight and had a solid defensive showing.”