North Iowa forward Braccini makes NCAA commitment
The North Iowa Bulls, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Tyler Braccini has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at Bethel University, a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). He is the second Bulls player this season, following forward Brett Morich, to commit to play for the Royals.
“For me, Bethel stood out in many ways,” said Braccini. “It’s a school that pursues excellence not only in hockey, but in faith, school, and life after school. The coaches at Bethel really believe in me and in my future.”
Braccini closed a two-year junior career this season, making his junior debut with the St. Cloud Norsemen early last year. After spending the bulk of last season playing in the Twin Cities, the Anchorage Wolverines used their first-ever NAHL draft pick on him, taking him over the summer with the second overall selection in the draft. He posted four points in seven games with Anchorage and spent six more games with the Minnesota Magicians before joining the North Iowa roster two weeks before Christmas.
He immediately made an impact as a Bull, posting an assist against the Springfield Jr. Blues in his very first period with the team on December 10. He earned his first North Iowa goal a week later, scoring against the Bismarck Bobcats. In all, Braccini closed out his final junior season with 13 points, eight of those coming in a North Iowa uniform.
“Tyler is a hard-working, honest player who brings a committed effort every day,” said North Iowa head coach and general manager Todd Sanden. “He was a good second-half addition to our team, and Bethel is getting a solid player and a grounded person.”
Braccini’s commitment continues a solid connection between the North Iowa organization and the Bethel University program. Four North Iowa players moved on to play for the Royals during the team’s decade as a North American 3 Hockey League member, including three who committed to Bethel while in the Bulls organization. Current Bethel forward Carter Wagner played two seasons for the Bulls during his stint in the NA3HL.
Head coach Chris McKelvie has Bethel positioned as a program on the rise, posting a 15-11-1 record in 2021-22. The former NAHL and American Hockey League forward finished his fourth season behind the Royals’ bench by leading the team to its best record, and first MIAC tournament, since 2008.
Braccini says he is considering pursuing a business degree at Bethel, but has not yet determined an emphasis.