Life is good when you’re an All-Star, especially for Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings forward Benjamin Pizzimenti.
The forward was one of the driving forces in pushing the Riverkings to second place in a very competitive eight-team Midwest West Division.
After being named a USPHL Premier Midwest West All-Star following a 46-point campaign, Pizzimenti got the great news in mid-August that he’s headed for an NCAA hockey career with Concordia University in Mequon, Wis., about 150 miles from Wisconsin River.
“I started speaking with Concordia about a possible commitment at the beginning of May. I think the coaching staff liked my shot, and that I am a bigger body that might be able to get in front of the net and make plays,” said Pizzimenti. “I think they were looking for players that are really going to buy into the program this year, and I think I fit that.”
Excited about entering Concordia’s “excellent” School of Business, Pizzimenti (a 2001-born native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is also looking forward to joining a big class of incoming Falcons for 2022-23.
“I think the first thing that interested me on the hockey side, is that there is a large incoming class of players. That will allow us all to grow and develop together and potentially create something pretty special,” said Pizzimenti. “The school drew me in because it is not too big, or too small for me. I wanted to play in the Midwest, and it is a beautiful campus right on Lake Michigan.
“Our whole Riverkings team visited campus on a tour and exhibition game at the start of last season,” added Pizzimenti. “This allowed us all to see the rink as well as the whole campus. The location and size of school were perfect for me. After speaking to the coaching staff a handful of times, I thought that it would be a great fit for me and made it official.”
He’s not the only Riverking from 2022-23 heading to Concordia, as his frequent linemate and fellow USPHL Premier Midwest West All-Star Grant Newcomer also recently announced his commitment to the Falcons.
“Throughout the process I was in contact with Grant. We were able to play together on a line last season with the Riverkings and created some pretty good chemistry,” he said. “Whether we play together again or not, it will be nice to have a familiar face in the locker room and around campus right off the bat.”
Not only did he form great chemistry with the veteran Newcomer, but he felt he got the best anyone could get from a top organization like the Riverkings.
“I have nothing but great things to say about the Riverkings organization. The team was taken excellent care of and everything was top notch. After speaking with Coach [Marty] Quarters since prior to the 2019 season, I decided to sign last summer and am happy that I did,” said Pizzimenti. “The whole town supports the team and they fill the stands every game. I had an amazing billet family as well.
“Playing in the USPHL and the Midwest West division is fast, hard and physical hockey. I also felt like the showcases were well-organized and great scouting events,” he said. “As a Riverking, I think I was able to improve my speed, as well as my decision making speed. I also think that I added more physicality to my game.”
The coaches of the USPHL Premier Midwest West Division certainly agreed, voting in Pizzimenti and Newcomer as All-Stars. Both actually hit the exact same 46-point mark.
“Being named an All-Star was a really cool accomplishment. Coming to a new team with the Riverkings, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect,” said Pizzimenti, who came to the USPHL from another Tier III league. “I was able to play with some really good players, especially my linemates Reece McDonald [a New England College recruit] and Grant Newcomer, which really helped me achieve that accomplishment.”
And with this new accomplishment of committing to an NCAA school, Pizzimenti also faces new challenges that he can’t wait to take on.
“It’s going to be different playing against older and stronger guys this season and it’s going to be an adjustment,” he said. “So this off-season I worked on getting faster and stronger so I am able to make as much of an impact as I can.”
The USPHL congratulates Benjamin Pizzimenti, his family, the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings and Concordia University of Wisconsin for his commitment.