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Former Powell River Minor Hockey product signs AHL contract

Keaton Mastrodonato joins Texas Stars for tryout after finishing college season
NEW ASSIGNMENT: Former Powell River Minor Hockey player Keaton Mastrodonato will be graduating from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, where he has played the last four years, and moving onto the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Powell River Minor Hockey product Keaton Mastrodonato has taken the next step in his career, having signed a tryout agreement with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL).

The two-time Hobey Baker Award nominee is now in Austin, Texas, working out with the Stars and hoping to get into action with the team. Mastrodonato played the past four seasons with Canisius College Golden Griffins, where he appeared in 123 games all told, recording 46 goals and 51 assists for 97 points, according to the Canisius College website.

Mastrodonato, reached in Austin, Texas, said he had signed an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of this hockey season, including the playoffs. The Stars are the AHL farm team for the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League.

“I’m hoping to get into some game action,” said Mastrodonato. “With that opportunity I’m hoping to turn it into a contract extension for next season.”

The right winger had been hoping to carry on his hockey career in the professional ranks, so he said he is super excited and super grateful for the opportunity.

“Making the AHL had been a goal of mine when starting college hockey and to get here now is one thing,” said Mastrodonato. “Now, the real work begins, trying to stay here, then jump to the next level.”

Mastrodonato, the Golden Griffins’ captain, was in his senior year at the college. He will be graduating in May, so he is currently working remotely on his classes in Texas, and he’ll be flying back to Buffalo to graduate. He has studied sports management, with a minor in psychology.

Mastrodonato said in terms of his new team, he has practiced with the Stars a couple of times now and has taken in workouts with the team.

“I’ve been around the rink the last couple of days, meeting the guys and the staff; it’s been really good,” said Mastrodonato. “The organization is run first class. They’ve been welcoming. Even though I’m coming in late in the season, I feel at home already.”

In terms of his on-ice endeavours, Mastrodonato said he feels like he fits right in.

“Any time you jump up a league, there’s going to be an adjustment to the speed of the game, and how fast the players think the game,” said Mastrodonato. “In terms of fitting in and being here, I can keep up. I’m right in the mix.

“The game has to be cleaner up here – not as many mistakes.”

Living a dream

Mastrodonato said it’s any kid’s dream to make the NHL and for him, that’s the ultimate goal.

“It’s about developing as a professional hockey player now that I’m at the AHL level. I’ll be doing what’s required to make the jump to the next level.”

The AHL Stars are having a good season, according to Mastrodonato. He said they are in first place right now in the central division.

“They are doing really well and they are looking to secure a playoff position,” said Mastrodonato. “We’re hoping to win the division in the regular season and have a long playoff run.”

On his new team, Mastrodonato said there are a number of young players like him, and they have made it welcoming and easy to fit in.

“I’m working on building relationships from day one,” said Mastrodonato. “I feel like I’ve already been here a few weeks now, which is great. I’m just doing whatever is required to make the jump in my hockey career. There is a great opportunity here in Texas to really develop as a professional and build all those little habits in my game.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity that the whole Dallas organization and the Texas Stars have given me. I’m trying to be a sponge, soaking everything in. I’m going to learn to be a professional and the day-to-day lifestyle. The coaching staff has been great so far, providing me with information and working through the systems. I’m learning how to develop myself into a player who meets with success at the AHL level.”

Mastrodonato said the Stars are hosting the San Jose Barracuda, the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate team, coming in for games March 31 and April 1, so he is hoping to see action and show what he has to give on-ice.

“My family is excited and everyone who has supported me is on board with me along this journey,” said Mastrodonato. “I just can’t wait for the future to come.”

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