PITTSTON, PA – The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights are proud to announce their first Division I NCAA commitment of the season. Midget U18 forward Nikita Pavlychev (’97 birth year/Clarks Summit, PA) has committed to Penn State University to continue his educational and hockey endeavors.
Pavlychev is a 6’7” forward who is originally from Russia. He had the chance to bring his talents to the Knights organization through the help of the Knights U18 Assistant Coach Alex Vasko. Currently in his third year with the organization, Pavlychev was instrumental in helping the Knights win a National title at the Tier I Bantam Major level. He was also a great contributor to the success that the Knights U16 National team obtained in the 2012-2013 season. Following his many team, and individual, the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL drafted Pavlychev in the Phase I portion of the 2013 USHL Entry Draft.
“The entire Wilkes-Barre/Scranton organization is extremely proud of Nikita’s decision to commit to Penn State,” said U18 Head Coach Vince Malts. “He feels like Scranton is his home and he wants to be close to home. How can you argue with that? The fact that he feels that strongly about his experience with the Knights makes everyone in the program feel warm inside. When a player in the organization feels that way about our family – it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Penn State University is NCAA Division I’s newest member. They play out of NCAA’s Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten conference includes Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin. The move to Division I was made possible by the help of Buffalo Sabres owner and PSU alumnus Terry Pegula, who is also originally from nearby Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Pegula donated over $100 million to the PSU hockey program to build their current, state-of-the-art, 6,000 seat arena – dubbed Pegula Ice Arena.
“Penn State is first-class from their coaching staff to their facilities,” Malts added. “The Knights are fortunate to be in such close proximity to them. The Penn State staff has shown Nikita a lot of love and made him feel wanted. That’s all a player could ask for. We feel that Nikita has a special experience ahead of him at Penn State.”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)