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Published: Thursday, 3 Nov 2011  
By: Mike Klein

Springfield, MA- The Springfield Pics are proud to announce that forward Willy Smith has accepted a full scholarship from Hockey East member Umass-Amherst. The East Longmeadow, MA native is a 1996 birth year and will arrive at the Amherst, MA, campus fall of 2014.

Smith skated in 26 Empire games last season as a 14-year-old, posting 30 points on 13 goals and 17 assists. This season, before his call up to the EJHL, Willie had 14 points in 9 Empire games and currently has played in five league games, recording his first point on October 15th.

The son of long time Pics coach Vern Smith, a former professional player drafted by the New York Islanders forty-second overall (second round) in the 1982 NHL entry draft.

"We are extremely proud of what Willy has accomplished and look forward to see him grow as a young man and a hockey player," commented Pics Empire head coach Rob Bonneau, himself a UMass alum. "I hope Willy enjoys his experience at UMass as they will stay with him the rest of his life. He is such a hard working player who loves to play hockey and Umass will proud to have him part of there program."
"We would like to congratulate Willy and his family on this accomplishment. He posses a great skill set with a passion for the game, his compete level is through the roof. He is one of the top 96' born players in the country. Willy loves coming to the rink everyday and we look forward to his continued development," stated GM/Coach Patrick Tabb.
"I want to thank my family for supporting me through out my hockey career.I also want to thank all of my coaches and the Springfield Pics organization for giving me the opportunity to succeed," said Willy.

-Courtesy of Springfield Pics

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