Frank Vatrano ineligible to play for UMass hockey for 2013-14 regular season

By Nick Canelas

The Massachusetts hockey team announced on Monday that redshirt freshman Frank Vatrano won’t be eligible to play until the 2014 Hockey East Tournament.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Vatrano can practice with the Minutemen throughout the 2013-14 regular season, but can’t play as a “result of an admissions documentation discrepancy at his previous academic institution.” Vatrano is also eligible to compete in UMass’ Jan. 12 exhibition against the United States Under-18 Team.

The East Longmeadow native was originally enrolled at Boston College last fall and was considered one of the Eagles’ top incoming players for the 2012-13 season, but was dismissed from the team for academic issues just two weeks before the start of the season.

It was reported shortly after Vatrano’s dismissal that he failed to pass the NCAA Clearinghouse, which is a way of verifying the eligibility of a student-athlete by determining they meet certain requirements in educational performance and background, meaning he would’ve been ineligible had he remained at Boston College.

Vatrano withdrew from BC and played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season and committed to UMass last October, officially enrolling at the University in January.

“Adding Frank Vatrano to the UMass family has been unbelievably beneficial up to this point,” UMass head coach John Micheletto said in a news release by the team. “Frank has positively impacted our team and culture with his work ethic and determination since joining us last January. We are looking forward to the day he pulls a UMass game jersey over his head for the first time; it will be a great day for Frank as well as for the program.”

“I am very excited to be here at Massachusetts and to be a part of the hockey program,” Vatrano said in the release. “Growing up just down the road from here makes this experience even more special. I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to this year’s team in any way possible.”

Vatrano, 19, was projected by many to be an immediate impact player for the Minutemen this season, so his presence will certainly be missed by UMass in the regular season.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound forward had 13 goals and nine assists in 19 games played with the Boston Junior Bruins last season. Vatrano played with the United States National Development Team in 2011-12 and registered 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists in 60 games played.

Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.