KEARNEY,Neb. – Stormaffiliate player Jake Wahlin has announced his commitment to play collegehockey at St. Cloud State in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Wahlin,who played in the Storm's final 10 games last season, is expected to be withTri-City full-time during the 2014-15 campaign.
Theforward said he is excited to be able to play at the collegiate level close tohome.
"Iwanted to play closer to home and the campus is like an hour and 15 minutesfrom my house which is perfect," Wahlin said. "My family will be able to see meplay and I have a lot of friends that go to St. Cloud."
Whileplaying for White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota last season, Wahlin put up70 points in 25 regular season games.
St.Cloud State plays in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, an eight-teamleague which began play last season. The Huskies finished at the top of thestandings in 2013-14, finishing with a conference record of 15-6-3 along withan overall record of 22-11-5.
"WhenI met coach [Bob] Motzko at St. Cloud and we had a long visit," Wahlin said. Heshowed me around campus, the rink, and offered me the scholarship. I felt itwas an offer I couldn't pass up."
Wahlinalso said the school has renovated their facilities, which also made adifference when he was making his decision.
"Idefinitely like how they updated the dorms and the campus," Wahlin said. "Iremember going out there when I was with the advanced 15s and it was definitelykind of an older campus but they've done a lot of things to improve it."
Asan affiliate in the USHL, the St. Paul, Minn. native had two goals and anassist in 10 games, while getting acclimated to the league and buildingchemistry with some of the team's veterans.
Acquiredin a trade with Sioux City in January, Storm head coach Jim Hulton is hopingWahlin will be an integral part of the team's future.
Wahlinis planning on attending Kearney High School for his senior year in the falland is excited to be back on the roster full-time.
"Ithink what excites me the most is that I've gotten the chance to know the otherguys on the team," Wahlin said. "We were pretty young but I think next yearwe'll have a really strong team. It was a great group of guys that took me inand accepted me as well as the coaching staff and the fans in the community."
The17-year-old said it was really important to include his family in the processof choosing a school.
"Iwould definitely say I talked to my parents a lot," Wahlin said. "We'd havefamily dinners to discuss what we felt was going to be the best fit for me. Italked to my brother, family members, and some of my old coaches from thepast."
Tri-Cityis preparing for the two annual USHL Entry Drafts, which will take place May5-6. The Storm will have the No. 3 overall pick in both drafts.
ThePhase I Draft will include eligible players with a 1998 birth year and thePhase II Draft will include multiple birth years from 1994-1997.
Courtesy of Tri-City Storm Media Relations