Nick Trecroce has had a change of plans. Instead of moving on from the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League to the Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association Morrisville State College Mustangs, Trecroce has opted for the Sault College Cougars of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
A 1996 birth-year defender from the Canadian side of the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Trecroce is fresh from a solid, single season with the Michigan-based Eagles.
Trecroce had 26 points — all assists — in 49 regular season games before scoring 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points in 12 playoff outings as the Eagles made it all the way to the NOJHL West Division finals last spring.
A one-time Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Sudbury Wolves, Trecroce plays with an edge despite being small in stature. He racked up 101 penalty minutes in the 61 games with the Eagles in 2016-2017 as a fearless competitor who did not yield to any opponent, regardless of size.
Eagles general manager and associate coach Bruno Bragagnolo acknowledged that Sault College is getting a “really good, all-around defenseman in Nick. He may be small but he plays big and he plays a smart game. He’s a quality player and a quality kid.”
Since Bragagnolo joined the Eagles as GM and coach in 2010, the Michigan Soo squad has advanced more than 90 players to higher levels of the game including the NCAA, the ACHA, the Ontario Hockey League and the minor pro ranks.
Like Bragagnolo, Eagles head coach Jim Capy is a big fan of Trecroce’s.
“This a very talented kid who sat out a year before he came to us,” Capy said of Trecroce. “He’s a small kid with a big heart. He was very well respected by the coaching staff and his teammates. If you ask me, he was the best defenseman in our league last season.”
The 2017-2018 campaign will mark Sault College’s first official season as members of the ACHA. The Cougars competed at the Division 3, ACHA level on an exhibition basis in 2016-2017, taking part in 12 games and winning 5 of them.