UND hockey commit roundup: Massimo Rizzo starts season injured

Massimo Rizzo skates for the Penticton Vees between two defenders in a game last season. Jack Murray/Courtesy of Penticton Vees

By Brad Schlossman

For the second-straight year, Massimo Rizzo will be getting a late start to his hockey season.

When the Coquitlam Express opened up their British Columbia Hockey League regular season over the weekend, the University of North Dakota commit was not in the lineup.

Rizzo, who didn’t play his first game until Oct. 27 of last season, had hip surgery during this offseason.

Coquitlam coach Jason Fortier said Rizzo is targeting a mid-October return.

“We want to make sure he’s healthy, first and foremost,” Fortier said. “Adding a talented player like him back in the lineup will be great.”

The offseason operation was a big part of the reason why Rizzo opted to return to junior hockey instead of come to UND this fall. Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson also said that one of the reasons Rizzo was traded from Penticton to Coquitlam in June was for Rizzo to be able to rehab closer to home.

Rizzo was picked in the seventh round by the Carolina Hurricanes in June’s draft in Vancouver.

“We like the skill with Rizzo,” Hurricanes director of player personnel Darren Yorke said. “It’s a little unfortunate that he had the injury, but we felt that sort of was a benefit for us for him to be able to still be on the board in the seventh round. So, we feel that he can get healthy, he’s going to a great college, and that can really help his development.”

Rizzo tallied 40 points in 37 games last season.

Budy playing for Langley

UND commit Brendan Budy has opted to play in his hometown of Langley, B.C., this season.

Budy spent one semester at the University of Denver last season before returning to junior hockey to play for the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League. He committed to UND in June.

When word circulated recently that Budy was looking to return home to British Columbia, there was a battle for his services.

The Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants made a trade for the winger’s rights in Canadian major juniors. But instead of playing for the Giants, Budy reported to the Langley Rivermen in the British Columbia Hockey League, keeping his college eligibility open. WHL players are ineligible for college.

Budy played for Langley from 2016-18, serving as the team’s captain in his second year there. He had an assist in Langley’s season-opening weekend.

He is expected to come to UND next fall with three years of college eligibility remaining.

Goals in Chilliwack

UND has two commits on the Chilliwack Chiefs in the BCHL and both scored goals in their season-opening game.

Forward Ethan Bowen, who is from Chilliwack, tallied his first of the season, while defenseman commit Cooper Moore, of Cos Cob, Conn., also scored in his BCHL regular-season debut.

Bowen is draft eligible in June. Moore was picked by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round in June.

Costello on the board

Grand Forks native Braden Costello made his BCHL debut for the Trail Smoke Eaters and got on the board with a highlight-reel assist.

Costello danced around a Penticton defender and made a backdoor feed for Denver commit Owen Ozar, who tapped it in.

Costello played in the United States Hockey League last season.

Brad Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) can be reached at BSchlossman@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1129.
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