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NCAA rules UMass hockey recruit Frank Vatrano ineligible for 2013-14 regular season

The University of Massachusetts will have to wait a little longer to get highly recruited forward Frank Vatrano into the lineup.

The East Longmeadow native will not be eligible until the 2014 Hockey East tournament following an NCAA ruling.

Vatrano, who played in the prestigious United States National Team Development Program, initially committed to Boston College, but left the program in late September, 2012. He announced his intention to attend UMass in late October.

“It was an admissions problem,” he said. “It was miscommunication between myself and BC.”

Vatrano enrolled at UMass in January and will sit out the first semester under NCAA transfer rules. He’ll sit out the remainder of the regular season under the NCAA’s ruling because of what the school’s press release called “an admissions documentation discrepancy at his previous institution.” According to UMass spokesperson Jillian Jakuba, the school is prohibited from discussing the decision because of family privacy rules. NCAA officials have not responded to requests for clarification.

Vatrano will be allowed to practice with the Minutemen. He can also play in UMass’ exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Jan. 12.

UMass coach John Micheletto and Vatrano each released a statement through the UMass athletic department and declined to speak further.

“Adding Frank Vatrano to the UMass family has been unbelievably beneficial up to this point,” Micheletto said. “Frank has positively impacted our team and culture with his work ethic and determination since joining us last January. We are looking forward to the day he pulls a UMass game jersey over his head for the first time; it will be a great day for Frank as well as for the program.”

Vatrano elected to stay in school rather than head to junior hockey.

“I am very excited to be here at Massachusetts and to be a part of the hockey program,” Vatrano said. “Growing up just down the road from here makes this experience even more special. I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to this year’s team in any way possible.”

Vatrano be a redshirt freshman during his brief stint in 2014 and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Vatrano, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound forward, had 16 goals and 19 assists for the NTDP in 2011-12 and was part of the program’s gold medal winning team in 2011 in the Czech Republic. He’s UMass’ first recruit from the NTDP since Stephen Werner.

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

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