Heart. Soul. Character. Passion. They are just four of the many positive words than can be used relative to graduated Soo Eagles captain Jake Palmerio.
The Canadian-born, 1997 birth date right winger, who played his entire three-year career in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the Michigan-based Eagles, will take his all-around game to the National Collegiate Athletic Association level effective the 2018-2019 season.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Palmerio is headed to Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. The town of Mequon is located about 15 miles north of Milwaukee.
Under the NCAA banner, the Concordia University Falcons are a part of a 12-team, Division 3, Northern Collegiate Hockey Conference.
A quiet, upbeat, down-to-earth individual known for being a team player with a strong work ethic, Palmerio represented the Eagles with skill, fortitude and pride over his three full seasons with the NOJHL team.
To be sure, Eagles general manager and part owner Bruno Bragagnolo has plenty good to say about Palmerio.
“Jake played here for us for three years and he amassed well over 100 points,” Bragagnolo relayed to Hockey News North. “He is a great character individual with a great work ethic on and off the ice. His passion for the game is second to none.”
Bragagnolo added that Palmerio “definitely has what it takes to succeed at the college hockey level.
“We wish Jake success for a great college career,” Bragagnolo continued. “I am sure he will do just that. There is no doubt that Concordia is getting a really good hockey player and a really good kid who will do well in the classroom.”
Meanwhile, Palmerio is looking forward to realizing his goal of combining hockey with an education at a reputable American school.
““I’m definitely excited to play for such a great school and hockey organization,” Palmerio told Hockey News North. “As for what I can bring to the Falcons, I can offer them a fast, skilled player who can score goals and play a strong defensive game.”
Palmerio said he chose Concordia over offers from several other Division 3, NCAA programs.
Palmerio, who played a season of junior with the erstwhile Batchewana Attack of the now-defunct Canadian International Hockey League before moving over to the NOJHL, paid tribute to Bragagnolo and the Eagles organization.
“I would like to thank the Eagles for sticking with me for three years and making my junior career in the NOJHL one to remember,” said the appreciative, well-mannered son of John and Sherrie Palmerio of Sault Ste. Marie.
Over three regular seasons with the Eagles, Palmerio totaled 57 goals, 52 assists, 109 points in 148 games. He added 10 goals, 6 assists, 16 points in 25 playoff games over three years.
Of note, Palmerio’s family advisor is Sault Ste. Marie native David Maciuk of Chicago-based JDM Sports.
In going to Concordia, Palmerio will be playing for Falcons assistant coach Tanner Burton, who hails from Echo Bay, Ont., just outside Sault Ste. Marie.
The 29-year old Burton played in the NOJHL for the Blind River Beavers before heading off to Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he was a defenseman for four full seasons of collegiate hockey. Marian is a member of the same Division 3, Northern Collegiate Hockey Conference as Concordia.
Burton then went on to play three seasons of minor pro hockey before heading to Italy for a year. He joined the Concordia staff as an assistant coach last fall and watched Palmerio closely over the course of the 2017-2018 campaign.
Palmerio will be facing off against several of his former Eagles teammates from the 2017-2018 season when he heads to Concordia in the fall. Earlier, forwards Will Casey and Gianni Vitali and defenseman Owen Kipke all committed to Indiana-based Trine University.
PHOTO: Jake Palmerio, with the game puck after registering his 100th career point in the NOJHL.