Mahoning Valley Phantoms captain Trent Bonnett has committed to Bentley College for the 2008-09 season.
After making a visit back in September, the 19-year-old thinks the Falcons will be a good match for him as he plans to major in business.
"I was out there last month and was shown around the campus," Bonnett said of his decision. "I really liked it and I thought it was a good situation both school-wise and hockey-wise for me."
The Phantoms coaching staff couldn't be happier with Bonnett's decision.
"I think it's great for Trent," said Phantoms assistant coach Curtis Carr. "He's had a couple schools looking at him over the past year and Bentley has been there since the beginning.
"They are going to put a lot of stock in Trent and make him a big part of their team as a freshman," Carr continued. "I think it's a great situation for him to walk into, and he's going to come out of there with a great degree."
Bonnett says the Phantoms coaching staff and organization as a whole played a tremendous role in helping him get to the next level.
"The coaching staff obviously has really helped push me," Bonnett said. "Just the set up here is really good for getting scouts in and getting the schools to come in and watch."
The veteran defenseman from Butler, Pa., scored 28 points and collected 74 penalty minutes in 71 career regular season and playoff games with the Phantoms so far, spanning two seasons.
"On and off the ice, he conducts himself in the most professional manner all the time," Carr said. "In all my years being around the game, I'm not sure that I've ever played with, or coached, anybody that is as dedicated, and will sacrifice as much as Trent did to achieve his goal."
Bentley College is located in Waltham, Mass., just west of Boston. The men's hockey team is currently four games into their season and is one of 10 programs playing in the Atlantic Hockey conference, at the NCAA Division I level.
Bonnett joins junior captain Anthony Canzoneri, sophomore forward Mark Menzione and freshman forward Dustin Cloutier as the fourth former Phantom on Bentley's current roster.
"We've built up a pretty good relationship of trust," said Phantoms head coach Bob Mainhardt on the team's connection to the Bentley coaching staff. "I know my guys are going to get taken of, and I think Bentley knows that they are going to get first-class individuals if they take a Phantom."
With Bonnett's commitment, he also joins Derek Graham (Ferris State), Alden Hirschfield (Miami of Ohio), Eric Ringel (Notre Dame), Kurt Washnock (Mercyhurst) and Scott Moser (Canisius) as the sixth current Phantom to have earned a scholarship for next season.
Bonnet will also join another elite club, becoming one of the 43 former Phantoms over the organization's five seasons to have made the jump to NCAA D-I college hockey.
"We're accomplishing what we set out to do," Mainhardt said about moving so many players on to the NCAA ranks. "We know that we can always improve though. Until we have a year where we have every single player committed, then we still have something to shoot at."