Austin forward Willis makes NCAA commitment
May 7, 2019
The Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that Top Prospects forward Andy Willis has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Willis, 21, played for two NAHL teams in his junior career starting with the Lone Star Brahmas where he played in 12 games, before becoming a Bruin early in the 2017-18 season. During his time in Austin, Willis racked up 70 points in 110 games played.
In total, the 5’11/175 lbs. native of Ballwin, Missouri tallied 73 total points during his entire tenure in the NAHL. In addition to his on-ice talent, Willis displayed many leadership traits and was given the role of assistant captain by Head Coach Steve Howard for the 2018-19 season.
“I really enjoyed having Andy for the last two seasons.,” said Head Coach Howard. “He provided a lot of offense during his time here and he’ll be missed both on and off the ice. We’re happy he is playing college hockey close by and we look forward to seeing him soon.”
Despite only playing 12 games for the Lone Star Brahmas early in his career, Willis was a member of the 2016-17 Robertson Cup Championship team. In 2017-18, he was named to the NAHL All-Central Division Rookie Team and NAHL All-Rookie Second Team. As a Bruin, Willis also earned two invites to the NAHL Top Prospects tournament in both 2018 and 2019.
“I am very thankful for all the Bruins organization has done for me. I have really enjoyed my time and have met some great people along the way,” commented Willis. “I feel like playing here the past two years has prepared me both on and off the ice for college. That being said, I couldn’t be more excited to head to St. Thomas in the fall and be able to attend such a great academic and athletic school.”
Willis also is an alum of the NAPHL, having played for the St. Louis Selects (now CarShield AAA) for three seasons from 2014-17. In 49 career NAPHL games, Willis recorded 52 points and also played in the 2016-17 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game.
Willis becomes the third player this offseason to announce collegiate intentions after Terry Ryder and Dante Zapata. In total, the final Bruins roster from the 2018-19 season claims 11 players who have made NCAA commitments.