DUBUQUE, Iowa — Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi (Pietarsaari, Finland) has announced his commitment to play college hockey at Miami University of Ohio. Tiuraniemi, whose 18 points rank tied for fourth in scoring among defensemen in the USHL, is the fourth Fighting Saints player to announce his college commitment during the 2016–17 season.
Tiuraniemi was originally selected by Dubuque in the eighth round of the 2016 Phase II Draft as a highly touted defensive prospect. He was named a Jr. A SM-Liiga First Team All-Star, and he posted the most points by a defenseman in the league (38).
“I felt really comfortable at Miami, and I thought this decision was the best thing for me,” Tiuraniemi said. “It’s a big change from European hockey to the North American game, and I think being here in Dubuque made me get used to it and made me play a lot better, and that’s a big thing for me.”
Tiuraniemi joins a RedHawks hockey team that includes former Fighting Saints Willie Knierim and Gordie Green, and is led behind the bench by Enrico Blasi, who has served as the team’s head coach for 17 seasons. He also joins what has been known as “The Brotherhood,” which has been to the NCAA Tournament nine times under Blasi’s tenure.