Final junior season with USPHL’s Bulls propels point producer Dicker to NCAA D-III Arcadia
Brendan Dicker spent his last season of junior hockey with the USPHL’s Pueblo Bulls during the 2021-22 season.
This past summer, the Michigan native checked one big item off his to-do list by committing to play NCAA Division III for second-year Arcadia University.
Dicker said the Bulls had a lot to do with the opportunity.
“The coaches on (the Bulls) did a great job getting our names and video out to colleges,” Dicker said. “Since I have been out of school for three years, I believe the smaller class sizes that Arcadia offers will help me transition easier and make me a more successful student. Arcadia is located 30 minutes from Philly, so there is plenty to do in the area. In regards to hockey, the program is only in its second year so there is a lot of excitement surrounding it.
“With Arcadia being a newer program, I want to create something special over the next four years that will forever leave an impact on the program.”
Last season, Dicker collected 19 goals and 51 points in 45 regular-season games before adding three goals and six points in four USPHL playoff games.
“Brendan will be an impact player at Arcadia from Day 1,” said Arcadia head coach Vincent Pietrangelo. “His skating ability with his size gives him the ability to take over games.”
Dicker had planned to play last season across the border in Manitoba, but when that fell through due to the pandemic, he started looking around to see what would make a good fit.
“The Pueblo Bulls had been in touch with me ever since I started playing junior hockey,” Dicker said. “Once I was back in the states, I had a former teammate that reached out and sold me on what an outstanding organization it is. After talking with the coaches about their goals for the season and how they run the organization, I felt it would be a good fit and I could trust them with my last junior season.”
“Brendan was a huge addition to our program (last) season,” added Bulls assistant coach David Nelson. “He was a leader in the locker room immediately and a great talent on the ice. Brendan had a switch where he could just absolutely take over games and dominate. He was someone that we leaned on heavily in every situation during games. He was a
terrific person in the community as well and someone that always offered to help in any way that he could.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Brendan dominate at the Division III level at Arcadia. We know he is going to do some great things there. We thank him for everything he has done for our community and the Pueblo Bulls organization.”
Having spent the 2020-21 season in the USPHL with the Charleston Colonials, living away from home was nothing new for Dicker.
“Living away from home is always an adjustment, but I am really lucky that I got placed with an amazing billet family in Pueblo,” said Dicker. “They truly made it feel like my second home. I can definitely see myself keeping in contact with them and visiting. I’m glad I got the opportunity to live in Pueblo and Charleston. I got to experience living on the East Coast by the ocean and then out west near the mountains.”
Dicker said that playing in Pueblo certainly helped push his talent level to be NCAA-ready.
“I am so thankful that my hockey journey brought me to Pueblo for my last year of juniors,” he said. “Without a doubt, the Pueblo Bulls rival any junior hockey organization in North America. The coaches strive to build a winning team and develop players with the goal to create the best opportunities to move you to the next level. Equally important to a passionate organization is the unwavering support from our amazing billet families and enthusiastic fans. Nothing is better than playing the game you love in front of the best fans in junior hockey.
“The Pueblo Bulls will always have a special place in my heart, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me.”
In reflecting on his hockey journey, Dicker knows that it was far from a one-man show all these years.
“I absolutely love the sport,” said Dicker. “I grew up watching the Detroit Red Wings, shooting pucks in the basement, and playing pond hockey behind my house. I couldn’t get enough of the sport. I’ve been surrounded by close family friends that have had successful hockey careers and they have encouraged and supported me throughout my hockey journey. My biggest thank you has to be to my parents for all the support and sacrifices that they made so I could make my dream of playing collegiate hockey a reality. I also need to thank my sister and grandparents for attending an endless amount of games since I was four years old. I definitely need to thank my coaches and staff from the Pueblo Bulls for developmenting me into the player that I am today because without them, I probably would not have gotten this opportunity.
“Last but not least, I need to thank all my friends, former teammates and billets. Hockey has allowed me to create lifelong friendships all over the world.”
— Matt Mackinder
(October 28, 2022)