Hempfield's Bruno makes national dek hockey team
Small but combative, Hempfield seventh grader Nick Bruno has been dubbed “Pit bull” by his teammates on a Murrysville dek hockey team.
That attitude has landed him what promises to be a big role for the United States in the World Junior Ball, or dek, Hockey Championships next summer in Slovakia.
Bruno, 13, was one of 22 players, plus five alternates, named to the US DekHockey Federation U14 team Nov. 8.
Bill Almond, who will guide the squad, expects Bruno to be a team leader as a first-line winger.
Almond watched Bruno — who is under 5-foot — in two tournaments over the summer and was stunned by his ability to take on players much larger.
“Nick went through them like a hot knife through butter,” he said.
Dave Bigenho, who coaches Bruno at the Murrysville SportZone Arena and will serve as an assistant for the national team, said Bruno is one of his favorite players.
“He's fast, he's smart (and plays like a larger person),” Bigenho said.
Bruno said he has an advantage in speed.
“I don't let them catch me,” he said. “My shot isn't as strong as some of the bigger kids, but I focus on what I do well.”
Bruno is excited about his first international competition.
“I'm nervous but not enough to back down,” he said.
Former Penguins player Tyler Kennedy trains Bruno and believes he has a bright future.
“He's smart (and) really thinks the game,” Kennedy said.
Brad Posey, who mentored Bruno in ice hockey, said Bruno also shines in skates.
“He's such a great kid,” Posey said. “He works so hard with everything.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
Correction: Nov. 16, 2017
This story was modified to correct where Nick Bruno lives and the school district in which he is enrolled.