The city of Bolanzo is the capital of the province South Tyrol, located in Northern Italy. It's 4,066 miles away from the city of Syracuse, but that's not stopping two Syracuse Orange women's ice hockey players from traveling there. Seniors Nicole Renault and Melissa Piacentini have signed contracts to play professionally with the Bolanzo Eagles.
Renault played defense for the Orange for four years. She played 145 games in a Syracuse uniform, netting 18 goals and 58 assists, which is second all-time.
Piacentini is arguably the best player to come out of the program in its brief history. She holds every single offense record for the Orange. Piacentini was also the first player ever to reach 100 career points, and she finished with 53 goals and 59 assists.
The Eagles play in the Elite Women's Hockey League. They currently sit second to last in the conference standings at 6th place.
But Bolanzo is incredibly talented. They are currently first in the Serie A, which are the playoff standings. Teams in the league play a double round robin before heading into playoff games. The playoffs are held by the Italian Ice Sports Federation (Federazione Italiana Sport Del Ghiaccio).
The winner is crowned "Champion of Italy" and the Eagles have won the last six titles (2010-2015).
While the majority of skaters are native Italians, Piacentini and Renault will not be the only Americans on the team. Forwards Chelsea Furlani (Burlington, VT) and Emily Snodgrass (St. Paul, MN) are currently playing for Bolanzo.
It's a special opportunity for Renault and Piacentini who after playing together for four years in the States, will get to continue to play together professionally overseas.
For more Syracuse women's ice hockey news, follow me on Twitter: @NickPetraccione.