Frank, Passolt, Washe returning to Western Michigan for fifth college hockey season; Attard also back for junior campaign in ’21-22

Western Michigan blueliner Ronnie Attard was tabbed the NCHC offensive defenseman of the year for the 2020-21 season (photo: Ashley Huss).

Western Michigan announced Wednesday that senior forwards Ethen Frank, Josh Passolt and Paul Washe, along with sophomore defenseman Ronnie Attard, will all be returning for the 2021-22 season.

Frank, Passolt and Washe are all using their extra year of eligibility granted to them by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic while Attard, a Philadelphia Flyers’ draft pick, has chosen to return for his junior season.

“We are excited and appreciative of the fact that seniors Paul Washe, Josh Passolt, Ethen Frank and sophomore Ronnie Attard have decided to return next season despite contract opportunities with NHL organizations,” said Broncos coach Andy Murray in a statement. “It is a strong testament to their commitment to WMU and their ability to get better in our program. Like the rest of us, they cannot wait for the start of next season.”

With the returners, the Broncos get back four of their top five scorers and the group combined tallied 83 points on 36 goals and 47 assists.

Attard had a career season despite the shortened schedule, recording personal best marks in points with 22 (eight goals, 14 assists). He went on to be named the NCHC offensive defenseman of the year and recently was named a CCM/AHCA West First Team All-American.

“With the way this year was with COVID and how it ended in the playoffs, it didn’t feel right leaving,” said Attard. “This group has the opportunity to accomplish something very special.”

Frank led the team with 13 goals, also adding eight assists for 21 points. Through his four seasons, he has amassed 79 points on 44 goals and 35 assists in 120 career games.

“I’ve decided to come back because the culture we have been building in the past four years means a lot to us,” said Frank. “We feel that we have some unfinished business left from last season and I am more than happy to come back and spend another year at WMU.”

Passolt finished fifth on the team in scoring with 19 points on seven goals and 12 assists and was second on the team in shots on goal with 70. In his career he has racked up 80 points on 36 goals and 44 assists in 128 games.

“After much thought and consideration, I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to play another year at Western Michigan,” added Passolt.

With Washe returning the Broncos get back one of the best faceoff takers in the NCAA. This past season, he won 323 draws and last season led the nation with a winning percentage of .642. He also tied his career-best for points with 21 on eight goals and a career-high 13 assists during the 2020-21 season and also led the team in plus/minus at plus-7.