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Frank Vatrano of East Longmeadow lands with UMass hockey

Former Boston College forward Frank Vatrano, one of the most talented hockey players to come out of western Massachusetts in recent years, is transferring to the University of Massachusetts.

Vatrano, an East Longmeadow product, who played for the National Team Development Program, left Boston College in late September without playing a game.

“It was an admissions problem,” he said. “It was miscommunication between myself and BC,” said Vatrano, who added the academic problem wouldn’t affect his eligibility at UMass.

Vatrano, who announced his decision via Twitter, will enroll at UMass in January and practice with the Minutemen. He’s planning to file a waiver with the NCAA in an attempt to be eligible for the entire 2013-14 season. If he’s not successful, under NCAA transfer rules he’ll also sit out the first semester of the 2013-14 season. He’ll compete for the Boston Junior Bruins, for the remainder of the first semester.

Once he left BC, Vatrano said UMass was immediately his first choice.

“I was looking at UMass pretty quickly. It was something I was used to. I grew up going to games. It’s really close to home. It’s a great hockey program that I think is going to be even better in years to come. Most of my family lives out here in western Mass. They’ll be able to go to every game.” said Vatrano, who said Internet reports that he was considering forgoing college for the Quebec Major Junior League were inaccurate. “I never considered major junior as an option. I’ve always dreamed of playing college hockey since I was a little kid. Now I’ll be able to live that dream playing at UMass.”

He said he was quickly comfortable with new Minuteman coach John Micheletto and his staff.

“Coach Micheletto is a great guy. He’s definitely making UMass a better hockey program,” Vatrano said. “You can already tell by how they’re playing this year. They haven’t gotten the results, but they’re right there with the top teams in college hockey.”

NCAA rules prevent UMass coaches from commenting until Vatrano is officially enrolled.

Vatrano, who took part in the prestigious CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game, had 16 goals and 19 assists for the NTDP last season. He’s UMass’ first recruit from the NTDP since Stephen Werner.

He joins former Northeastern forward Ron Dongara, as ex-Hockey East players joining the Minutemen.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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