Bruins' Ceccarelli switches uniforms for a higher calling Junior Hockey NewsPublished: Wednesday, 19 Jun 2019
By: Cliff Cook, 5-Hole Graphics
Throughout any junior
hockey season there are stories left untold. This is one that needed to be
Taylor Ceccarelli came
the Missoula Bruins from Anchorage, AK after having played four years for East
Anchorage H.S. and two seasons in the Alaska Wolves program. Having players
from Alaska is nothing new to the Bruins, each year the team has brought
multiple Alaskans to town. Ceccarelli’s story wound up being more than a little
Following his final
season of 18U hockey in Alaska, Ceccarelli was resigned to the idea that his
competitive hockey career was over. That was until he was contacted by Bruins
Head Coach Cliff Cook, offering him a chance to play one more season and see
where it may lead him in the future.
What Coach Cook didn’t
know at the time is Ceccarelli had already begun the process of finding out the
steps needed to join the United States Army. But, Ceccarelli decided to give
hockey one more shot and arrived in Missoula with the rest of the team in
August ready for training camp.
It was clear early on
that Ceccarelli had the talent to be an important part of the Bruins defense
corps. In just his third junior game, Ceccarelli not only picked up his first
junior goal, he finished the game with three points, including a second goal.
Injuries began to take a toll, however. A series of shoulder injuries kept
Ceccarelli out of the lineup multiple games and the idea that his hockey career
may be coming to an end began to creep back in his head.
But he wasn’t worried,
he had a plan.
Prior to the Bruins
heading to Blaine, MN for the NA3HL Annual Showcase, Ceccarelli had visited
with the local Missoula Army recruitment office to, once again, find out the
steps needed to join up. And, just weeks before the team headed to Minnesota,
he let Coach Cook know the decision had been made, he was leaving the team to
head home to Alaska for a bit to see family before heading to U.S. Army Boot
Camp in Fort Benning, GA.
“Taylor is the kind of
player and leader every team at every level of hockey wants in their locker
room,” said Coach Cook. “From a team standpoint, losing him on the ice and in
the locker room left a big void, but it was no surprise to any of us that he
had a greater cause in mind. From a personal standpoint, and as an
organization, we are so proud of the decision he’s made to serve our country
and we should all be proud that young men like Taylor make the sacrifice to
serve. He represents the best in all of us.”
Before heading home
however, Ceccarelli traveled with the team to Blaine to compete in his final
competitive hockey games and even collected an assist in the Bruins first win
of the showcase against the Cape Code Islanders. In 19 games with the Bruins,
Ceccarelli collected two goals and three assists.
“My time in Missoula was
great,” said Ceccarelli. “I met some great people and had a really good
experience. I’m really happy I made the choice to come here and finish out my
career. Serving my country is something I wanted to do since I was young. I’ve
always wanted to help people and I feel joining the Army is the best way I can
On April 26, 2019,
Taylor Ceccarelli graduated U.S. Army Boot Camp and prepared for the next step
in his Army career and not long after that he graduated Army Airborne School
and is now a U.S. Army Paratrooper.
and good luck as you move into the next part of your Army career. The entire
Missoula Bruins organization is very proud to call you a Bruin for life.For more information about the Missoula Bruins, including a link to our Prospects form, log on to www.missoulajrbruins.com.
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