Bismarck forward Walinski makes NCAA DI commitment
April 24, 2018
By Paul Teeple, Bismarck Bobcats
The Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that second-year forward Mitch Walinski has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at the United Stats Air Force Academy starting in the fall of 2019.
“It feels unbelievable knowing that I have an opportunity that only a handful of kids get,” beamed Walinski, who will return to the Bobcats for the 2018-19 campaign before enrolling, “and Air Force being such a prestigious institution makes it even better.”
In 64 NAHL games, the Lincoln, Rhode Island, native has posted 24 goals and 13 assists—with 32 of those points (22g, 10a) coming since joining the Bobcats via trade from the Minnesota Wilderness in December 2016. His 0.70 points per game ranked second on the Bobcats in 2017-18, trailing only Andrew Bellant (0.73).
“With all the roster adversity we went through in December and January, Mitch was a huge addition for us in the middle of this season, given his skating, power play and pure scoring ability,” hailed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie, who brought Walinski back to the Bobcats after he started the 2017-18 season in the NCDC. “The way he can skate and shoot a puck will make him a big-time contributor for Air Force.”
At Air Force, Walinski will join former Bobcats Joe Tyran (2014-16) and Will Ulrich (2016-17) on the Falcons’ roster. Though 2012-15 Bobcat center Evan Giesler will have graduated by the time Walinski gets to campus, he still played a role in the current Bobcat’s choice in committing to the Academy.
“I visited the school last week and just fell in love with it,” explained Walinski. “Coach [Frank] Serratore and his staff were amazing, the facilities were incredible. I could picture myself there and when I got home from my visit I wanted to go back—that’s how I knew it was the place for me.
“I talked to Evan while I was there and we traded stories and talked about Air Force; he told me that it was a great place to play. I also met a few other players who were really welcoming, and of course I already know Will from [the 2016-17 Bobcats] team.”
Air Force is a member of the Atlantic Hockey Association, which they joined in 2006 after leaving the CHA. Under Serratore, the Falcons have made seven NCAA Tournament appearances—all via AHA Tournament titles—including two trips to the Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons.
Walinski’s decision now makes 11 current or former Bobcats who have committed to play NCAA hockey during the 2017-18 season, joining: Jared Resseguie (Denver), Tanner Vescio (Northern Michigan), Grant Johnson (Northern Michigan), Ryan Ullan (Northern Michigan), Adam Stacho (American International), Alex Trombley (Ohio State), Andrew Bellant (Michigan Tech), George Grannis (Clarkson), Tristan Ashbrook (RPI) and Tanner Breidenbach (Concordia).