Nov. 15, 2000
Notre Dame, Ind – Notre Dame hockey coach Dave Poulin announced today that defenseman Derek Smith (Marysville, Mich.) and forwards Matt Amado (Surrey, B.C.) and Brad Wanchulak (Edson, Alb. ) have signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2001.
The three are the most signed by Poulin and his staff during the early signing period since 1996 when this year’s current senior class had three early signees.
” I’m very excited about the three players that have signed with us for next year,” says Poulin. “With Derek Smith, Matt Amado and Brad Wanchaluk we’ve added three strong skaters with outstanding hockey skills who will compliment our nucleus of returning players.”
Smith, who verbally committed to Notre Dame in the fall of 1999, currently plays for the United States Under-18 National Development program and will join eight current Irish players who have been members of the program in the last three years. A 6-0, 185-pound smooth-skating defenseman, Smith spent last season with the USA Under-17 team where he played in 37 games with four goals and eight assists for 12 points. In 1998-99, Smith was a member of the Compuware Ambassadors team that won the national junior-A title with current Irish freshman Rob Globke. So far this season, Smith has picked up two assists in eight games for the Under-18 National Team.
“Derek is an all-around defenseman who brings a lot to the table. He moves the puck well and has outstanding hockey skills. He will come in and with the three freshmen and two sophomore defenseman we have playing now, will give us one of the strongest groups of defensemen in the country.” says Poulin.
Amado is a 5-11, 185-pound forward who shoots lefthanded. He is blessed with exceptional speed and is a highly-skilled player who can make things happen in the offensive zone. Currently playing for the Penticton Panthers in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) where he has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 20 games this season. His goal totals include three game winning goals. Penticton is currently in first place in the BCHL Interior Conference with a 19-3-0 record. Last season, Amado played as a 16-year old rookie with South Surrey in the BCHL where he had seven goals and six assists for 13 points. During the 1998-99 season, he picked up 177 points in 74 games with the Cloverdale Bantams. Amado has also been a member of the British Columbia Provincial Under-17 and Under-18 teams.
“Matt is a gifted offensive player with outstanding hockey skill. He’s got outstanding speed and uses it to create offense. He’s always played at levels above his age. I think he’s a player who will come in and grow with our program,” says Poulin.
Wanchulak is a 6-0, 180-pound center who plays for the Camrose Kodiaks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) where he is the team’s second leading scorer with 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points and is 18th in the league scoring race. Camrose is currently in second place in the Southern Division with an 18-6-1 record. The 20-year old Wanchulak has played each of the past two seasons in the AJHL with the Drayton Valley Thunder. Last season, he recorded 13 goals and 46 assists for 59 points in 57 games. He won the Thunder’s Most Dedicated Player Award and was the South team’s Most Valuable Player in the AJHL Prospects Game. Two years ago (1998-99) he was chosen as Drayton Valley’s Rookie of the Year when he recorded 16 goals with 28 assists for 44 points.
“Brad really compliments the two younger players we’ve brought in because he’s older, a veteran junior player. He’s very versatile, he’s played everywhere in juniors and played well. The thing that stands out with Brad is that everyone we talked to immediately mentions his character and leadership skills. He’s a young man who will be a leader for Notre Dame from the day he steps on campus,” says Poulin.
The Irish lose seven seniors to graduation this season – forwards Dan Carlson, Chad Chipchase, Ryan Dolder, Jay Kopischke and Matt Van Arkel, defenseman Ryan Clark and goaltender Kyle Kolquist.