Kolye Bankauskas’ long journey to finalizing his move to the next level is now over. The Worcester Railers Junior Hockey Club forward has announced he has committed to the University of Massachusetts-Boston for the Fall of 2021.
UMass-Boston plays in the New England Hockey Conference, a top NCAA Division 3 League.
“It feels great, a long time coming,” said Bankauskas. “It has been a long juniors journey and I am glad to be able to close it out. I am extremely happy to commit to UMass-Boston.
A native of Coventry, RI, Bankauskas started this season playing in the NAHL with the Northeast Generals, that after putting up an eye-popping 138 points for the Generals NA3HL club during the 2019-2020 season. He joined the Railers in early January and has been a huge part of the team’s offensive success since he has been in the lineup.
He put up 23 points in 17 regular season games, and had a goal and four assists in Worcester’s first round playoff series win over the East Coast Wizards.
“Kolye has been a tremendous addition,” said Worcester head coach Sean Bertoni. “His explosive speed and quickness as well as his ice awareness make him an elite player in the Eastern Hockey League. A special talent that puts the team first.”
When he arrives at the UMass-Boston campus in Dorchester, Bankauskas will be playing for head coach Peter Belisle, who, like Kolye, is from Rhode Island. Belisle’s dad is the legendary Bill Belisle, the former coach at Mt. St. Charles for over 50 years.
“I have trained with Coach Belisle in the past,” said Kolye, who played four years of varsity hockey for Coventry HS before heading to juniors. “I know him very well. He’s a Rhode Island guy. I’m a Rhode Island guy. We come from the same place and I look forward to keep playing for him.”
Although he has been a member of the Railers organization for just a few months, Bankauskas credits the coaching staff as playing a big part in his commitment to UMass-Boston.
“Coach Bertoni and Coach Addesa have been very helpful,” he said. “They kept me up to date on what colleges they were contacting for me, and gave me their opinions on what I should look for when I visited schools. I could focus on playing. They really came through for me.”
“Coach Belisle will be happy with Kolye’s commitment to be the best,” Bertoni said. “I am very excited for Kolye’s commitment to UMass-Boston.”