By Jordan DeBolt
Current Buffalo Jr. Sabres captain Zach Evancho recently announced his commitment to play Division I hockey at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Army is a part of the Atlantic Hockey Conference, an 11 team league and includes local teams such as Canisius College and Niagara University.
Evancho is currently tied for first on the Jr. Sabres in scoring with 20 points (9+11) in 18 games so far this season. He is on pace to eclipse the scoring mark he set last season when he tallies 35 points (18+17) in just 37 games.
“I came here about a quarter of the way into the season last year and it was a big change for myself,” Evancho said. “We struggled at first as a team and then we figured it out. This year has been a total turnaround, we just picked up right where we left off from last year, and it’s been awesome.”
That turnaround that Zach is referring to is the fact that the team is off to a hot start and has posted a 10-6-1-1 record so far to date this season to tie Georgetown for top spot in the Ontario Junior Hockey Leagus’ West Division with 22 points. This hot start has put them well on pace to eclipse their mark of 47 points from last season and give them a berth in the OJHL playoffs.
Evancho has played a huge part in this hot start not only with his point production, but also his leadership, having been named captain of the team prior to this season.
“It’s an awesome honor to have the coaching staff trust that with me,” Evancho said. “To be able to lead the guys I sit next to in the locker room, it means a lot. It’s something that as a kid, you look up to every NHL team’s captain and that’s where you want to be and to be a captain means a whole lot.”
When it came down to selecting where he wanted to play next when his time with the Jr. Sabres was done, Evancho thought of it really as a no-brainer.
“For myself, I’ve always wanted to play Division I hockey,” Zach said. “Being able to do that but still get the best education that I’m going to be able to get at West Point, it was a no-brainer for myself and for my family.”
Although he will be moving away from home to play at West Point, the nearby Derby, N.Y. native will be able to return close to home for conference action at some point throughout his college career. He will also get the chance to play on his old home ice, this time as a visiting opponent taking on Canisius in the First Niagara Rink at HARBORCENTER.