Cranbrook Bucks

Bucks at a glance: Connor Sullivan


On March 25, the Cranbrook Bucks announced a commitment from defenseman Connor Sullivan. The 19-year-old from Plymouth, Massachusetts was the fourth player, and the third blueliner, to commit to the Bucks. He has spent the bulk of his hockey career to this point with the Bridgewater Junior Bandits program.

After enjoying some recent success with the Bandits, Sullivan has committed to play junior A in the BCHL in 2020-21, as well as to play NCAA Division I hockey in 2021-22. He has also been selected in this year’s North American Hockey League entry draft. Let’s take a closer look at some of the accomplishments of his young career so far.

Sullivan’s Bridgewater Jr Bandits career

According to his Elite Prospects profile, Sullivan spent the 2015-16 season playing U16 AAA with the Junior Bandits, appearing in a couple of different leagues that season. He played 18 games in the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League, scoring one goal and adding one assist. Sullivan also played 10 games in the East Coast Elite League, scoring two goals.

The following season as a 16-year-old, Sullivan once again played Junior Bandits U16 AAA, splitting time between the same two leagues. He seemed to take a big step forward that season, scoring two goals and adding 15 assists for 17 points in 19 EJEPL games. Sullivan also added an assist in another eight ECEL games played.

In 2017-18, Sullivan played 18 games with the Junior Bandits U18 AAA team. He scored once and assisted four times for five points in those 18 games. Sullivan also began playing in the National Collegiate Development Conference of the USPHL that same season. In 18 games in the NCDC, Sullivan contributed two assists for the Junior Bandits.

The defenseman would go on to spend the next two seasons in the NCDC with the Junior Bandits. In 2018-19, Sullivan scored once and added 17 helpers for 18 points in 47 games and also accumulated 48 penalty minutes. Last season, while wearing the “C” for the Bandits, he tallied seven goals and 38 assists for 45 points in 50 games, along with another 46 penalty minutes. Sullivan led the NCDC in assists and points by defensemen and was also named an all-star.

Sullivan sees the results of his hard work

In addition to his accomplishments in the NCDC last season, Sullivan has been recognized in a few other ways. This past winter, Sullivan committed to play NCAA Division I hockey with the Yale University Bulldogs for the 2021-22 season.

In an article on the USPHL website, Sullivan expressed how he felt about committing to the prestigious Ivy League school. “I am very proud to have committed to Yale University because of how hard I worked not only on the ice throughout my playing time with the Bandits, but also how hard I worked in the classroom. This has allowed me to have a once in a lifetime opportunity, and to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine.”

Sullivan also acknowledged the impact that the Bandits program had on his development.

“I owe much of this opportunity to the Bandits organization,” he said. “Their ownership gave me a place to play my whole hockey career, starting in mites, which made it even more special that I was able to commit to a dream school of mine while still in the organization.”

His commitment to Yale for the 2021-22 season means he will join the Bucks for just one season after spending three seasons in the NCDC. That one season in the BCHL will be paramount to his development prior to playing NCAA Division I.

Sullivan was also recognized by another league on July 22 at the annual NAHL entry draft. With the 60th overall pick in the third round, Sullivan was selected by the Corpus Christi IceRays.

Sullivan commits to the Bucks

Back in March, the Bucks also recognized Sullivan’s strong play when they committed to the former Bandits captain. The expansion team made sure they got their hands on the steady blueliner for his last season of junior hockey.

In the team’s official news release, Bucks’ head coach and general manager Ryan Donald had high praise for the defenseman.

”We are thrilled to add Connor to our hockey club for the 2020-21 season. Connor is a terrific defenseman that will be able to play in all situations right away. His mobility, decision making, and work ethics stood out to our staff immediately, and we are excited to help him prepare for his NCAA career. Beyond his on-ice ability, Connor is an exceptional young man that will fit into Cranbrook and the Bucks organization extremely well.”

Sullivan joined forward Noah Leibl, and fellow rearguards Rhys Bentham and Owen Forfellow on the Bucks growing roster ahead of their inaugural season.