The Portland Winterhawks have acquired the rights to forward Rocco Grimaldi from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a conditional Western Hockey League Bantam Draft pick.
Grimaldi, a California native, was on the Giants' protected list and spent last season with the United States National Team Development Program, and yesterday he committed to the University of North Dakota beginning in 2011. Last season Grimaldi was captain of the USNTDP Under-17 team, and registered 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 32 games in the United States Hockey League.
Grimaldi also suited up for the gold medal-winning Team USA in the 2010 World Under-18 Championship in Belarus, and tied for the team lead with 10 points in seven games, including a goal and an assist in the championship game victory over Sweden.
"Our philosophy is to acquire the best players in our territory, and Rocco is not only an elite player, but we've heard nothing but good things about his character off the ice," said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston. "We may or may not successfully recruit Rocco to join the Winterhawks, and in the end if he decides to go to college we will respect his decision, but we hope he keeps an open mind about our program and the opportunity here."
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)