Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Stars AAA Hockey Club of the Tier 1 Hockey Federation have announced that Esmark Stars 18U AAA Hockey forward Nathan Burlando has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Minnesota Mallards.

“Nathan is a great addition for the Mallards,” said Star’s U18 head coach, Dave Kosick.

“He is a gifted player who can fill several roles. An outstanding face-off man who wins a majority of his face-offs; a gifted offensive player who is creative with the puck and scores goals; and an outstanding penalty killer, from face-off to reading an opponent’s power play and understanding how to disrupt it.”

The 18-year-old forward from Canonsburg, PA, recorded 22 points (10 goals and 12 assists), in 25 Tier 1 Hockey Federation (T1HF) regular season games and playoff games, in helping lead the U18 Stars to the THF Playoff Championship game.

Overall the 5’10” / 170 lbs. forward tallied 49 points (24 goals, 25 assists), including one power-play goal, in 65 games played for the Star’s U18 AAA Midget Major squad.

The 2023-24 season was Burlando’s fourth season with the Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program.

During the 2022-23 season, Burlando recorded 6 points (1 goal and 5 assists), in 11 THF regular season and playoff games for Esmark’s U18 squad and helped lead them to the THF’s inaugural  season Playoff Championship.

Overall during the 2022-23 season, Burlando tallied 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists), including five power-play goals and one shorthanded goal, in 49 games played for Esmark’s U18 AAA Midget Major squad.

During the 2021-22 season, Burlando tallied 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists), including one power-play goal and two shorthanded goals, in 67 games played for Esmark’s U16 AAA Midget Minor squad.

And during the 2020-21 season, Burlando tallied 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists), including five power-play goals and two shorthanded goals, in 65 games played for Esmark’s U15 AAA Midget Minor squad.

“Joining a new franchise in the NAHL should afford Nathan a great opportunity to establish himself from the start,” Kosick added.

Burlando becomes the 12th member of the 2023-2024 Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program to sign a tender or come to an agreement with a Junior A club for the upcoming season.

Burlando joins 18U teammates Mark Trischler (Kenai River Brown Bears), Aiden Petroff (New Hampshire Mountain Kings), Alex Thomas (Colorado Grit), Timur Naletov (Danbury Hat Tricks), Max Rutkowski (Oklahoma Warriors) and Mykyta Yalovyi (Lone Star Brahmas), as well as 16U Esmark forwards Emmet McClaine and Vitaliy Ulianov, who both signed with the Johnstown Tomahawks, who all signed tender agreements with NAHL teams; Hunter Furman, who signed a tender agreement with the Northern Cyclones National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL); Hudson Howard, who signed a tender agreement with the New Jersey 87s in the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EHL); and Carmen D’Ambrosio who signed a player agreement with the Florida Eels of the USPHL, in committing to a junior team for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

The Mallards will join the NAHL’s eight-team Central Division along with the Aberdeen Wings (SD), Austin Bruins (MN), Bismarck Bobcats (ND), Minot Minotauros (ND), North Iowa Bulls (IA), St. Cloud Norseman (MN) and Watertown Shamrocks (SD).

The 2024-25 season will be the inaugural season in the NAHL for the Mallards, along with their fellow Central Division opponent Watertown Shamrocks. The Mallards will play in the Forest Lake Sports Center in Forest Lake, MN, and are led by Head Coach Terry Watt.

As always, the Tier 1 Hockey Federation is committed to celebrating and supporting the success of talented young athletes. If you have a player whose achievements you would like to see featured in our announcements, please fill out the form here. We are eager to share the stories of these rising stars as they advance in their hockey careers.