Playing at First Niagara Center is becoming old hat for Sean Malone. The product of Nichols School played (and scored a goal) for the victorious Buffalo Selects in last spring’s Bowman Cup, and this Saturday night he’ll pull on the jersey of Team Housley in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
Despite getting ready to play at his hometown rink for the second time in six months, Malone says this game will be every bit as special as the first one was.
“I can’t wait. I’ve been thinking about this game for about a month and half now. I think the entire weekend will be a great experience,” said Malone, who is from nearby West Seneca, NY. “When coach Granato informed me in the summer that I was going to be playing in the Prospects Game, I was so excited. It’s basically in my backyard because the rink is 15 minutes from my house. My parents immediately started making a list of everyone that wants to come, and I think it’ll end up being a whole section of my family and friends, and other people that I’ve been associated with over the years.”
Coach Granato refers to Don Granato, the head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Team in Ann Arbor where Malone is now playing. The 17-year-old center moved to the National Team program after spending the last two seasons at Nichols School in Buffalo. Malone, who also skated for the Buffalo Saints U18 team last season, topped all CISAA scorers as a junior with 36 points (17+19) in 16 games.
Nichols head coach Jamie Printz spoke in glowing terms about Malone’s work ethic and leadership qualities.
“There are so many things I can say about Sean. I could talk about him all day with anyone who would be willing to listen,” said Printz. “Sean outcompetes and outworks everyone around him. But his greatest talent is that whether on or off the ice, he makes everyone around him better. To add to it, he has great character, great values and great parents.”
The 5-foot-11 Malone already has three points (1+2) in four games with Team USA, including a two-point (1+1) performance in a 5-4 win over Sioux City last Friday in the USHL’s Fall Classic event. Malone is relishing the opportunity to wear a national team jersey every night, and he’s quickly realized that other teams tend to play harder against them.
“The guys in the USHL definitely act differently when they’re playing Team USA because we’re usually younger. We’re all 16 or 17, and we’re playing games in a league that has 19 and 20-year-old guys in it,” explains Malone. “You can tell that it ticks them off to lose a battle against us, but we definitely have some strong guys on our team.”
Malone has made a verbal commitment to attend Harvard, and is planning to start classes there next fall.
“I had originally considered staying at Nichols this year, or going to the USHL and playing with the Lincoln (Neb.) Stars, the team that drafted me in the Futures Draft a couple of years ago,” Malone said by phone on Tuesday night. “But once the National Team program came around, I figured it was better development for me because it would make the step to college easier. The National Team does a very good job of preparing kids for D1 programs. The coaches at Harvard have already said they are pleased with my progress, and believe that I can step right in next season.”
Height: 5-11 (180)
Weight: 185 (84)
2012-13 Team: U.S. National Under-18 Team
Date of Birth: 4/30/95
Hometown: West Seneca, N.Y.
Verbal College Commit: Harvard University (ECACH)
- Member of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia
- Tallied one assist in four games
HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY:
- Skated in 16 games for Nichols School (N.Y.)
- Scored 17 goals and collected 19 assists
- Played in 18 games for Nichols School (N.Y.)
- Son of Kevin and Janice Malone
- Has verbally committed to attend Harvard University of ECAC Hockey
- Named to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 Team for the 2012-13 season
|GP ||G ||A |
|PTS ||PIM |
|2011-12 ||Nichols School (N.Y.) ||16 ||17 ||19 ||36 ||6 |
|2010-11 ||Nichols School (N.Y.) ||18 ||6 ||12 ||18 ||4 |
| ||Prep Totals ||34 ||23 ||31 ||54 ||10 |