Center Thomas DiPauli from USA Hockey's Under-18 team is one of five players to sign a national letter-of-intent to play hockey at Notre Dame.

Irish Hockey Adds Five During Early Signing Period

Nov. 30, 2011

Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson today announced that five players have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend the University beginning with the 2012-13 campaign.

Signing National Letters-of-Intent in the early-signing period are forwards Thomas DiPauli (Woodridge, Ill.), Sam Herr (Hinsdale, Ill.), Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) and Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.). Those four are joined by defenseman Justin Wade (Aurora, Ill.). They join forward Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn.) and defenseman Andy Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) who signed letters-of-intent last year but deferred to the 2012-13 season. Fogarty is a current teammate of Lucia’s with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League while Ryan plays for the Sioux City Musketeers in the United States Hockey League (USHL). DiPauli, Herr, Hinostroza and Wade are all products of the Chicago Mission AAA program.

In making the announcement, Jackson said, “We’re very excited about this talented group of players. They will help fill a variety of needs on our roster in coming seasons. They also have shown outstanding character and leadership skills that add to their impressive resumes. We look forward to working with this group of student-athletes.”

DiPauli currently plays for USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program while Lucia plays for Penticton in the BCHL. Herr, Hinostroza and Wade are playing in the USHL. Two members of this group – DiPauli and Hinostroza – are currently listed by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting in their preliminary rankings. Lucia was drafted in last June’s NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild in the second round, 60th overall.

A 5-10, 183-pound left-handed center, DiPauli is currently a member of USA Hockey’s Under-18 team and serves as an alternate captain. He has played in 21 games this season with four goals and four assists for eight points, including a power play and short-handed goal to his credit. He recently helped the United States to a first-place finish at the Four Nations Tournament in Monthey, Switzerland. Known for his playmaking skill, DiPauli has uncanny on-ice vision and the ability to make players around him better. As a member of the Under-17 team in 2010-11, he served as a co-captain, playing in 49 games with seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points. His 20 assists led the team. With USA Hockey, the shifty left wing was a member of the U.S. National Under-17 team that won the Vlad Dzurilla Tournament and the Under-17 Four Nations Tournament during 2010-11 and helped the Under-17 team to a second-place finish at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Manitoba, getting two goals and four assists for six points in six games. He was recently ranked 13th in NHL Central Scouting’s “Player’s To Watch” list for the USHL. Born in Italy, he moved to the United States at the age of 13 and played for the Chicago Mission organization. In his final season (2009-10), DiPauli had 29 goals and 41 assists for 70 points in 49 games. He has an older brother, Theo, who is currently a member of the USHL’s Chicago Steel.


Left wing Sam Herr is currently a member of the Green Bay Gamblers.



Jackson on DiPauli: “Thomas is a smart player with good puck skills. He has learned to be very accountable without the puck and is strong on face offs, which has made him a great two-way centerman. We also believe he has an offensive upside, which he showed prior to joining the U.S. National Team Developmental Program.”

Herr (pronounced Hair) is a 6-1, 192-pound left wing who is in his second season as a member of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. In 14 games this season, Herr has a goal and nine assists for 10 points with 20 penalty minutes and is +10 on the year. The Gamblers are currently in first place in the USHL’s North Division with a 14-3-1 record after 18 games. A hard -nosed player, he is known for his outstanding work ethic and leadership skills. In his first year in Green Bay, Herr played in 57 games, scoring 10 goals with 13 assists for 23 points with three of his goals being game winners. He was +12 for the year with 52 minutes in penalties. His ability to perform in key situations was in play during the 2011 Clark Cup playoffs when he and his linemates combined for 22 points in 11 playoff games as the Gamblers advanced to the championship series versus Dubuque. Earlier in November, he teamed with Hinostroza and Lucia, to play for the 2011 U.S. Junior National Select team that won a bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge. There he had a goal in five games. A two-year member of the Chicago Mission program, Herr helped Mission to the 2009 AAA national championship.

Jackson on Herr: “Sam is an honest hockey player with great character. He is a mature young man both physically and emotionally, which will help him adapt quickly to the rigors of college life and hockey. Sam is talented and smart and will contribute in any role that we put him in at Notre Dame.”


Center Vince Hinostroza currently plays junior hockey with the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks.



Hinostroza is a 5-10, 170-pound, right shot center who is in his second season with the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL. In 15 games this season, Hinostroza has five goals and four assists for nine points with 19 penalty minutes with one power-play goal and one game winner as the Blackhawks are tied for second in the USHL’s Western Division with a 10-6-1 record, four points behind first-place Lincoln. A first round pick by Waterloo in the 2010 Futures Draft, Hinostroza had eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 50 games during the 2010-11 season with three power-play goals and one game winner as the Blackhawks were fifth in the USHL’s Western Division. Hinostroza has seen action for USA Hockey this season, playing on the Under-18 Select Team along with Wade that finished fifth at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August. He was second on the team in scoring with two goals (both against Russia, including the game winner in overtime) and two assists for four points in four games. In November, he teamed with Herr and Lucia, to play for the 2011 U.S. Junior National Select team that won a bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge. There he had a goal and three assists in five games and was named the U.S. player of the game three times (vs. Sweden in 1-0 loss, vs. Russia in 5-4 win and against Sweden in bronze medal game). A product of the Chicago Mission Junior program, Hinostroza had 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in 34 games in his final season, 2009-10. He is ranked 18th by NHL Central Scouting in their “Players to Watch,” in the USHL for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Jackson on Hinostroza: “Vince is a high-energy player with good offensive instincts and puck skills. He makes things happen with his tenacious play with and without the puck. Vince will be a great college player once his body catches up with his skill set and hockey I.Q.”


Left wing Mario Lucia will follow in his father’s footsteps and play his college hockey at Notre Dame. His dad, Don Lucia, played defense for the Irish from 1977-81.



Lucia is a 6-3, 195-pound left wing who is the son of University of Minnesota head coach and former Notre Dame defenseman Don Lucia `81. He is currently playing in for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL where he is a teammate of incoming freshman Steven Fogarty. With the Vees, Lucia is currently tied for third in league scoring with 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 points in 22 games and has helped Pentiction to first place in the CHL’s Interior Division. An offensive-minded forward, Lucia is a talented playmaker with strong finishing skills. He is deceptively quick and strong on his skates and has proven to be tough in front of the nets and good in the corners. He has poise with the puck and has excellent hockey instincts. The talented Lucia spent last season playing high school hockey in Minnesota at Wayzata High School where he had 30 goals and 24 assists for 54 points in 27 games. He helped Wayzata to a 20-6-2 season and a berth in the Minnesota 6AA Championship where the team lost in double overtime to Eden Prairie. In 2009-10, he had 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points in 25 games. Lucia has spent time with USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program, playing six games with the team in 2010-11, scoring three goals while helping the Under-18 Team to the gold medal at the Four Nations Cup in Sweden. In early November, he teamed with Herr and Hinostroza to help the U.S. Junior National Select team win the bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge. At the Challenge, he led the tournament in goals (4) and was second on Team USA and tied for third in the tourney with five points (4g, 1a) in five games. He was the U.S. player of the game in a 6-1 win over Canada West as he had two goals and an assist in the victory. Last June, Lucia saw the Minnesota Wild trade up in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to select him in the second round 60th overall. Lucia’s father, Don, is in his 25th season as a Division I head coach, spending time at Alaska, Colorado College and is now in his 13th season at the University of Minnesota where he has won over 300 games and national championships in 2002 and 2003. He played 124 games for the Irish for head coach Lefty Smith, scoring seven goals with 23 assists for 30 points between 1977-81. Mario’s older brother, Tony, played at Minnesota from 2006-10, serving as team captain as a senior and is currently a member of the San Jose Sharks organization.

Jackson on Lucia: “Mario has the potential to make an immediate impact. His skill set and scoring instincts should help him make the transition to college hockey. He is a fluid skater and can beat people one-on-one, but his hockey sense allows him to create offense for his teammates as well. Once he fills out his lanky frame, he will become a dominant college player.”


Justin Wade is the lone defenseman among the group of five to sign letters-of-intent for the 2012-13 season. He currently plays in the USHL for the Fargo Force.



Wade rounds out the group of five and is a 6-2, 210-pound defenseman who is in his second year with the USHL’s Fargo Force. In 19 games this season, the bruising blue liner has one assist to go with 18 penalty minutes while Fargo is seventh in the USHL Western Division with a 5-11-3 record. In his first year with the Force, as a 16-year old, in 2010-11, Wade played in 35 games with one assist and 49 penalty minutes. A steady, stay-at-home defender, Wade is a prototypical shutdown defenseman who is a strong skater who makes good decisions with the puck. He was selected in the first round of the USHL Draft by the Fargo Force in 2010 and was also selected in the fourth round of the OHL Draft by the Owen Sound Attack. A product of the Chicago Mission junior program, Wade played in 34 games his final year (2009-10) and had 12 assists to go with 24 penalty minutes. This past summer, he was selected to play for Team USA’s Under-18 team along with Hinostroza in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament where the U.S. finished fifth overall. Wade also was on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list of players to watch in the USHL for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Jackson on Wade: “Justin is a strong defender. His size and skating ability will allow him to become a physical, shutdown defenseman. Justin’s performance with the Under-18 team last summer proved that his potential to successfully play at a high level in key situations is in his future. His continued growth in the USHL will enhance his puck skills and decision-making ability. Once he enhances these qualities, his overall game will flourish.”

Notre Dame’s two players who committed last season – Fogarty and Ryan – are having strong seasons in their respective leagues. Fogarty is currently a teammate of Lucia’s with the Penticton Vees where he is sixth on the team in scoring and ninth in the BCHL with 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points. Among his 15 goals are five power-play markers and three game winners. He was a third-round selection of the New York Rangers in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Ryan, a defenseman, started the year with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL where he had three assists in 11 games before being traded to the Sioux City Musketeers. In eight games there, he has two goals and four assists for six points with two penalty minutes. Sioux City is fifth in the Western Division with a 7-7-1 record to date.

                               Class of 2012-13
Player Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. S/C Hometown/2011-12 Team
Thomas DiPauli C 4/29/94 5-10 183 Left Woodridge, Ill./USA Under-18Sam Herr LW 10/13/92 6-1 192 Left Hinsdale, Ill./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)Vince Hinostroza C 4/3/94 5-10 170 Right Bartlett, Ill./Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)Mario Lucia LW 8/25/93 6-3 195 Left Plymouth, Minn./Penticton Vees (BCHL)Justin Wade D 4/13/94 6-2 195 Right Aurora, Ill./Fargo Force (USHL)