(Editor's note: Great Falls Americans media release)
GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Americans, of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), are happy to announce that defenseman Luke Richesin has decided to continue his education and hockey career by signing with a ACHA Division I team in Michigan for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Richesin, who is from Clovis, California, will join the Saints of Aquinas College men’s hockey team located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aquinas College is a small (2,000 students) Roman Catholic liberal arts college that offers over 2,000 undergraduate degrees and has over 61 majors at its Michigan campus. Aquinas College men’s hockey squad is under the direction of Jordan Permoda and the Saints compete in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).
The 6-foot, 210-pound incoming freshman played in 118 regular-season games and appeared in nine playoff contests for the junior hockey team in Montana. Richesin played under two head coaches while suiting up for the Americans, including Jeff Heimel (2017-18) and Greg Sears (2018-20), and scored 11 goals and dished out 35 assists in three seasons.
Richesin earned two NA3HL Frontier Division Stars of the Week (Honorable Mention) honors and one NA3HL Star of the Month (Honorable Mention) for his play during his three-year junior hockey career with the Americans. All three league honors came during his final season (2019-20), where he earned Honorable Mention for his play during the week of Sept. 22, 2018 and the week ending Feb. 16, 2020. In September 2019, the California skater was awarded Honorable Mention as an NA3HL Defenseman Player of the Month.
Before landing in Great Falls, Richesin played with the San Jose Jr. Sharks, a Midget and Bantam AAA squad in California and spent two seasons (60 games) with the Western States Hockey League’s (WSHL) Fresno (CA) Monsters (2014-16).
Richesin cited how he developed as a player and a member of the community while in Great Falls the past three years as accomplishments that have made him who he is now.
Richesin was enthusiastic about both Heimel and Sears, the head coaches he played under for the Americans.
“The coaching staff at Great Falls as always done a really good job," Richesin said. "They support the community, and playing in front of the fans at the Great Falls Ice Plex was an awesome atmosphere to play in.”
“I am very excited to move on and make that next step and further my education and play college hockey in Michigan,” said Richesin during his phone interview. “I am ready to showcase my skills after playing five years of junior hockey.”
He looks forward to being a rookie for the Saints as the “low man on the totem pole.” He is excited to learn a new system under a new coach and playing with a more experienced group where he can develop into a better hockey player.
The California native plans on majoring in Business while minoring in Theology at Aquinas College.
Richesin wanted to thank his two host families that made him feel welcome, Bob and Wendy Dick and Dave and Vicki Bertelsen. These families made his time in Great Falls memorable.
“Luke was a solid defenseman for us the last two years,” said Great Falls Americans head coach and general manager Greg Sears. “He was a big part of our success both seasons and was playing his best hockey in the playoffs this year. He will be missed, but we look forward to following his college career.”
Richesin joins former Great Falls American and California product Michael Fary, who played forward for Great Falls during the 2017-18 season, at Aquinas College next season.