The Texas Tornado has announced that forward David Rigatti has committed to Robert Morris University (Atlantic Hockey) for the 2011-12 season.
“To be going back home to play Division I college hockey is a dream come true,” said Rigatti, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, 45 minutes from the Robert Morris campus. “I’m excited to be coming back to the Tornado for a second season, continue to be a leader in the locker room and on the ice, and help get the Tornado back to the top.”
In his first season in Texas, Rigatti was the only Tornado player to appear in all 58 regular-season games, collecting 11 goals and 12 assists.
Tornado head coach Tony Curtale believes that Rigatti’s best hockey is yet to come.
“David is developing into a better player everyday he steps onto the ice,” said Curtale. “He has a tremendous work ethic and should be a dominating player this season.”
Rigatti says he’s returning to Texas this year to take care of some unfinished business.
“Everyone in that locker room wants the same thing: to win and get the Tornado back to its rightful place,” he said. “That motivates me more than ever for this coming season. With the college commitment out of the way, I can focus on becoming a better player and winning a Robertson Cup championship.”
Rigatti, 19, credits Curtale and Tornado assistant coach Jason Bloomingburg for molding him into a Division I-caliber talent.
“I think Coach Curtale and Coach Bloomingburg really helped me develop into the player I am and the player I hope to become,” he said. “They focus on your strengths and help you become a more confident, well-rounded player.”
This won’t be the first time a Tornado player has gone onto play for Robert Morris. Former Texas defenseman Matt Krug, who recently signed an American Hockey League (AHL) contract with the Chicago Wolves, played for the Colonials during the 2008-09 season.
Since 1999, the Tornado has moved over 110 players onto the NCAA and professional ranks, include Andy Wozniewski (Boston Bruins), Ben Bishop (St. Louis Blues), Al Montoya (Phoenix Coyotes) and Trevor Ludwig (Dallas Stars).
View the complete NAHL College List here.