NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The Lone Star Brahmas are pleased to announce that defenseman Dalton Skelly has announced his commitment to the College of the Holy Cross for the 2016-17 season.
“I think it’s just a big weight off my shoulders,” Skelly said. “I get to focus on getting better and getting ready for next year and winning a championship with these guys I’m with right now. We’ve got the tools to make it happen this year.”
The former North American Hockey League Defenseman on the Month in January was entertaining a few collegiate offers, but the strong hockey program and outstanding education at Holy Cross was too good for Skelly to pass up.
“Talking to a couple other schools, I think Holy Cross will give me the best education. My future after hockey is something that’s important to me and I'm making sure that I’m setting myself up for that,” Skelly explained. “At the same time, I get the opportunity to play Division I hockey at an unbelievable school and they can compete with anyone in the NCAA right now so I’m just looking forward to getting there.”
According to the U.S. World and News Report, The College of the Holy Cross ranks 32nd among National Liberal Arts Colleges. The native of Keller, Texas plans to study business, specializing in a sports management degree.
“I think he really set himself up being a good student and he also set himself up on the ice to get a scholarship,” head coah Dan Wildfong said. “He’s a top ten defenseman in scoring so when you take care of business in the classroom and on the ice, you’re going to be a Division I commit.”
Skelly grew into a strong two-way defender in the Brahmas system. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound blueliner ranks second amongst Brahmas defensemen with 20 assists and 26 point in 47 games.
He has always had the offensive upside to compete at the next level, but it was his defensive play that solidified his name on a Division I roster next fall.
“Working with coach Dan and coach (Jeff) Potter, we’ve really worked on the defensive side of my game. Just playing guys in the D-zone and making sure I’m hitting guys when I need to and using my stick when I need to. Having two coaches who specialize in that has really helped me and helped transform my game,” Skelly explained.
Skelly is a disciplined skater in all zones (16 penalty minutes) and he carries a plus-10 rating with ten games to play in the regular season. Additionally, the second year NAHL athlete can play during all situations on the ice.
“I thought his offensive instincts and his ability to run a power play helped him stand out. He’s really worked on his defending, too. We had that question in the beginning of the year and we don’t have that anymore. He passed every test for us so I’m really happy for not just Dalton, but also his family. He’s got a really good family that’s supported him throughout this process,” Wildfong added.
Skelly mentioned that he wants to get stronger this summer to help his transition to the collegiate level. After talking to all three coaches, the future Crusader said he is looking forward for the opportunity to compete and be a part of something big in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“Playing in the Atlantic Hockey conference will really help my play,” Skelly said. “Obviously going to a school like Holy Cross they compete for the conference championship every single year. Hopefully in a couple of years we can actually win the conference and maybe go to the NCAA tournament. That would be an unbelievable feeling to be able to get to that.”
But winning an NCAA Championship will not be the only unbelievable feeling of his hockey career. Skelly grew up playing hockey in North Richland Hills, Texas, the same city he announced his college commitment.
“Getting to play junior hockey and eventually getting a college opportunity in the same rink that I learned to skate in when I was four and five years old that’s pretty unbelievable and not too many guys say that they were able to do that. It’s a pretty special feeling,” Skelly said.
Skelly is the tenth Brahma to commit to college this season and he will be the first to attend Holy Cross. His announcement comes just hours after his roommate Alex Berardinelli committed to Colorado College.