Special to the Tribune
July 26, 2016
Great Falls native Connor Barta has committed to play college hockey at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Grand Rapids, Michigan school is an NCAA Division III Catholic college with an enrollment of 2,200. The Saints are members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Aquinas was 29-8-1 last season and earned a trip to the 2016 ACHA Final Four. Aquinas advanced to the Division III Vezina Cup title game where they lost to Oakland (Mich.) University, 5-4.
Barta, a 20-year-old graduate of C.M. Russell High, has played for the Great Falls Americans of the NA3HL the last five seasons The Great Falls Tier III junior hockey team are the 2015 and 2016 league champions in the Frontier Division.
Barta scored five goals in each of his last three seasons for the Americans. He also accumulated 13 assists during the 2015-16 season while seeing action in 46 of the 47 regular season contests as well as the eight playoff games.
Barta finished his career with the Americans with 70 points (18 goals and 52 assists). He was selected and played in the 2016 Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Mich., in February with Great Falls teammates Arseny Ivanov, Josh Larson and Jake Stephan.
Americans coach Jeff Heimel was the head coach of the Frontier team that won all three games. The three-day tournament had many college coaches and scouts in attendance.
“It’s always been a dream to play at the collegiate level (of hockey),” said Barta. “What’s really most exciting (about playing in college) is playing for a school since I never really played for a school before.”
Barta, who will major in Business said Americans’ head coach Jeff Heimel “helped everybody on the team. It wasn’t about just winning games it was developing as a person within the organization.”
Story Courtesy: Great Falls Tribune: Connor Barta to play college hockey in Michigan (July 26, 2016)