Glendale native, former SoCal youth standout Ghantous chooses NCAA D-I Northern Michigan
After years of helping others, Andre Ghantous drew a big assist in early November.
The longtime Southern California youth hockey player committed to Northern Michigan University (WCHA) in his final season of junior hockey.
“I’m super excited to finally get an offer,” said Ghantous, who is from Glendale and played for the LA Hockey Club, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings and the Anaheim Jr. Ducks until 2016. “I had been talking with Northern for a couple of weeks, and I had a good feel about the school.
“They’re a puck-possession team, and that fits my game.”
Ghantous, who is in his third season of juniors and a 1998 birth year, switched teams in the offseason, going from the Trail Smoke Eaters to their British Columbia Hockey League rivals Penticton Vees. He had 12 points through his first 17 games this season. That came on the heels of consecutive 44-point seasons for Trail. He had 35 assists in 2016-17 and 19 goals last season.
“I’m having a good time in Penticton,” he said. “Everyone has welcomed me in.”
Some of that undoubtedly has to do with Ghantous’ generous playing style.
“I’m a small (5-foot-9, 175-pound), skilled, playmaking forward,” he said. “I look for my teammates first.”
Ghantous was quick to credit Igor Nikulin, his longtime coach at both LA Hockey and the Jr. Kings, and Jr. Ducks 16U AAA coach Alex Kim for helping prepare him for his next steps in the game.
“Coach Igor gave me a great foundation, and Coach Alex built on that,” Ghantous added.
Ghantous played on Kim’s 16U AAA team that reached the USA Hockey Youth Nationals in 2015, a group that has six Division I college commitments.
“Andre is so creative offensively,” Kim said. “I’m happy he stuck with it because it’s nerve-wracking when you’re turning 20 and you’re not sure where you’re going to play in college.
“He worked hard and always was a great teammate.”
Those are attributes Northern Michigan’s program no doubt will find out first-hand when Ghantous starts school next fall.
— Chris Bayee
(Dec. 4, 2018)