UMass national champ Del Gaizo leaves Minutemen blue line after junior season, signs NHL contract with Nashville

Marc Del Gaizo was an effective player on the back end for UMass during his three seasons with the Minutemen (photo: Rich Gagnon).

Massachusetts junior defenseman Marc Del Gaizo has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Nashville Predators that will begin in the 2021-22 season, forgoing his final season of NCAA eligibility.

The Basking Ridge, N.J., native was originally selected by Nashville in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft.

“We are very excited for Marc and wish him well as he moves to professional hockey,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel in a statement. “Marc’s impact on our hockey program cannot be expressed strongly enough. In three years, he led our team to two national championship games and one national title. The leadership he provided for this team and his development as a hockey player were both spectacular to witness. Marc’s value to our team was second to none. We are so proud of him and so excited to watch him play in the NHL.”

“I am so grateful for my time at UMass,” added Del Gaizo. “Thank you to my teammates and the entire staff for an amazing three years that I will never forget. The friendships and relationships will last a lifetime! I’m going to miss my team and this culture.”

Del Gaizo, who leaves UMass as the career leader in plus-minus at plus-61, appeared in 90 career games over three seasons and totaled 58 points on 20 goals and 38 assists.

The two-time Third Team Hockey East All-Star finished the 2020-21 campaign with 14 points on three goals and 11 assists and was plus-21.