By Ryan Touhey
The Atlantic Hockey Conference named Sacred Heart University senior forward and assistant captain Justin Danforth to the All-Conference First Team.
The announcement was made on Thursday, March 9.
There are three All-Conference teams named by Atlantic Hockey. According to the Atlantic Hockey website, 18 players are chosen (six per team) from the Atlantic Hockey colleges.
Danforth is one of five upperclassmen to be named to the First Team and is also one of three seniors.
“It’s an honor,” said Danforth. “I think the ultimate goal would’ve been an Atlantic Hockey championship, but this is definitely a close second.”
According to the Sacred Heart website, Danforth was the team’s leader in points this season with 32 and in assists with 22. He finished his college career with 124 total points, which is seventh most in Sacred Heart’s hockey history. He also finished with a total of 147 games played, which is second most for a hockey player at the university.
On Wednesday, March 15 Danforth officially signed with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the New York Islanders.
“It’s a big milestone in my career and the start of a new chapter for me,” said Danforth. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m definitely ready for the work.”
Danforth was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year as a freshman. He was also named to the All-Conference Second Team as a junior.
He chose to play hockey at Sacred Heart because of the recruiting from head coach C.J. Marottolo and assistant coach Scott McDougall.
Danforth’s determination and love for the game were two things that Marottolo enjoyed about him while he coached him.
“There was no doubt that myself and our coaching staff felt that Justin had the potential to be a First Team All-Conference player,” said Marottolo. “His thirst for making himself better was a constant for four years and that made him a pleasure to coach.”
Danforth has been playing hockey since he was 3-years- old. His parents were the ones who got him hooked on to the sport.
“They’ve been supportive since I started,” said Danforth. “They’re my inspiration because they’ve pushed me along the way through my highs and lows.”
He has been an inspiration to his teammates with his character.
“Justin is indeed a prime example of what it means to be a hockey player,” said senior forward Jordan Minello. “His team-first mentality gives fellow players a reason to follow him, and players can always count on him to make a big time play late in the game.”
Danforth’s style of play has been another trait that has stood out to his teammates.
“His puck skills are amazing,” said senior defenseman Mitch Nylen. “I don’t think I’ve ever played with someone else who controls the puck in tight spaces like him.”
The close relationships that Danforth has had with teammates over the years has been his favorite aspect about playing hockey.