By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., June 15, 2016 — The Great Falls Americans of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) are pleased to announce that former Great Falls American Devin Panzeca has been selected in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Draft recently.
Panzeca, who played for the Great Falls Americans and the Bozeman Ice Dogs during the 2014-15 NA3HL season, was selected in the third round of the 2016 North American Hockey League Draft earlier this month by the Northeast Generals debuting this fall as a new league member. The NAHL is considered a Tier II hockey team while the NA3HL plays in the lower level (Tier III) league.
The 6’0” 185 lb. forward played in 21 games for Great Falls accumulating 22 goals while dishing out 9 assists. The Lake Zurich, Illinois native was traded to the Bozeman Ice Dogs in January 2015 where he scored an additional 14 goals and had 8 assists for the Bozeman NA3HL franchise. During this season, he was selected to play in the 2015 Top Prospects Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 18U Selects squad scoring two goals. The young team finished 1-1 in two games falling to the Frontier Division 3-2 in a shootout while rebounding to win 5-4 against the South Division team.
During the 2015-16 season, he suited up for the Chatham (Ontario) Maroon of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) and the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). He finished the season with 44 points (26 goals and 18 assists) in 45 contests for the team located in Schumacher, Ontario.
In June 2016, the former NA3HL product was one of 17 players selected in the NAHL Draft by the Attleboro, Massachusetts-based Northeast Generals.
Devin was happy about his short tenure with the Great Falls Americans. “Playing in Great Falls for the Americans in the NA3HL was a great learning experience for me playing my first year away from home,” said Panzeca. “I was in high school at the time and playing at the junior level taught me how to focus on the game more and I was able to get the work done that I needed to get done at the rink each day.”
He stated that playing in juniors helped in advance to play in the next level. “It (Junior A hockey) was a building block for me starting off in the new league (NA3HL) for Great Falls and Bozeman and this year I went up to Canada to play hockey up there and year I got drafted by the NAHL,” said the junior hockey veteran. “Definitely playing for Great Falls was good way to get my career started.”
The Americans coaching staff taught us a very disciplined system both on and off the ice. He enjoyed playing with the group of guys and coach Jeff Heimel helped out with his schooling by finding him a tutor and that was really helpful.
“I look forward to going to a new area of the country as I have never been out to Massachusetts before,” said an excited Panzeca from his home near Chicago. “I am looking forward to how my game will transfer from juniors to a new level in the NAHL for the upcoming season.”
The newest NAHL draftee wanted to thank the Americans organization for helping him out as much as they have and he also wanted to thank the NA3HL for helping him get to the next level.
Statistics from Devin Panzeca’s career in the NA3HL can be viewed by clicking here.