Shane Pinto made big news in Canada on Saturday.
There was a report in a Canadian publication that the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League attempted to get the UND standout rookie to leave school this week to play major junior hockey instead. The report also said that Pierre Dorion, the general manager of the Ottawa Senators -- who drafted Pinto with the No. 32 overall pick in the summer -- flew to Grand Forks on Thursday to talk about the decision with Pinto.
"None of this is true," Pinto said after scoring a goal to help UND beat Omaha 4-1 on Saturday night. "I swear to God."
Pinto said Dorion wasn't in Grand Forks and the last time he heard about the option of going to play in the OHL instead of at UND was during Ottawa's development camp in July.
"The only interaction I had with Pierre about that was at development camp," Pinto said. "He kind of just mentioned it to me. He was just asking me, like, 'That's a good option, maybe.' But he's like, 'I'm not going to pressure you either way. Wherever you go, it's a good spot at North Dakota.' That was the only time it ever came up. It hasn't come up recently."
That includes at the World Junior Championship earlier this month.
Pinto spent a week and a half in the Czech Republic with Team USA, tallying seven points in five games for the Americans at the prestigious under-20 event. While he was there, he said nobody brought up the OHL and the 67s to him.
"No," Pinto said. "Not one person."
Did Pinto talk to Dorion at all at the World Juniors?
"No," Pinto said. "I just talked to our development guys at Ottawa. They just text me. That's it.
"I swear to God, not one person has brought up anything. They (the Senators) are happy that I'm here. They love that I'm here. So, yeah. It's been weird. I don't know what's going on."
Pinto, a freshman from Franklin Square, N.Y., is off to a great start to his college career. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 20 games. Wisconsin's Cole Caufield, a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, is the only rookie in the nation with more goals than Pinto, who is centering UND's second line.
The Senators also haven't been shy about loading up with UND players.
Former UND star Christian Wolanin is with their organization after three years at UND, and three of Ottawa's highest draft picks are on campus right now: Pinto, first-round pick Jacob Bernard-Docker and second-round pick Jonny Tychonick.
Things also have been going well for the team. UND is ranked No. 1 nationally with a 17-2-2 record.
But for good measure, Pinto wanted to emphasize that he's not going anywhere.
"Absolutely not," Pinto said. "I love it here. I will never leave this place. There's no need to speculate on that. I'm staying here, for sure. Nothing's going on. I'm a Sioux. I'm a Sioux forever. I'm not leaving."