Freshman forward Ethan DeStefani is leaving Merrimack and will report to the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL according to sources. The Phantoms added DeStefani to their roster on Monday and the transaction appeared on the USHL waiver list on Thursday afternoon.
DeStefani, 19, is a New Hampshire native who appeared in four games this season; he didn’t register a point and had four shots on goal. DeStefani last played on Nov. 23 against Holy Cross, and also appeared in games at Bemidji State (Nov. 10) as well as home games against Boston College (Nov. 2) and Massachusetts (Oct. 27).
DeStefani appeared in five USHL games for the Waterloo Blackhawks in 2016 before suffering a major knee injury that required surgery. He returned to action last season in the NAHL with the Minnesota Magicians, posting 31 points (14g-17a) in 53 games. He was reselected by Youngstown in the USHL Draft this past summer in the ninth round after originally being a ninth-round pick of Waterloo in the 2015 draft.
By returning to the USHL, DeStefani leaves his NCAA options open and could transfer to another program. Under NCAA rules, he’ll have to sit out a transfer year if he transfers to another Division I program.
DeStefani is the second Warrior to leave the program in the last three weeks, following the departure of Simon Loof, a sophomore defenseman who returned to Sweden and signed a professional contract.