KEARNEY, Neb. – Storm affiliate player Jake Wahlin has announced his commitment to play college hockey 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 with Tri-City full-time during the 2014-15 campaign.
The forward said he is excited to be able to play at the collegiate level close to home.
"I wanted to play closer to home and the campus is like an hour and 15 minutes from my house which is perfect," Wahlin said. "My family will be able to see me play and I have a lot of friends that go to St. Cloud."
While playing for White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota last season, Wahlin put up 70 points in 25 regular season games.
St. Cloud State plays in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, an eight-team league which began play last season. The Huskies finished at the top of the standings in 2013-14, finishing with a conference record of 15-6-3 along with an overall record of 22-11-5.
"When I met coach [Bob] Motzko at St. Cloud and we had a long visit," Wahlin said. He showed me around campus, the rink, and offered me the scholarship. I felt it was an offer I couldn't pass up."
Wahlin also said the school has renovated their facilities, which also made a difference when he was making his decision.
"I definitely like how they updated the dorms and the campus," Wahlin said. "I remember going out there when I was with the advanced 15s and it was definitely kind of an older campus but they've done a lot of things to improve it."
As an affiliate in the USHL, the St. Paul, Minn. native had two goals and an assist in 10 games, while getting acclimated to the league and building chemistry with some of the team's veterans.
Acquired in a trade with Sioux City in January, Storm head coach Jim Hulton is hoping Wahlin will be an integral part of the team's future.
Wahlin is planning on attending Kearney High School for his senior year in the fall and is excited to be back on the roster full-time.
"I think what excites me the most is that I've gotten the chance to know the other guys on the team," Wahlin said. "We were pretty young but I think next year we'll have a really strong team. It was a great group of guys that took me in and accepted me as well as the coaching staff and the fans in the community."
The 17-year-old said it was really important to include his family in the process of choosing a school.
"I would definitely say I talked to my parents a lot," Wahlin said. "We'd have family dinners to discuss what we felt was going to be the best fit for me. I talked to my brother, family members, and some of my old coaches from the past."
Tri-City is preparing for the two annual USHL Entry Drafts, which will take place May 5-6. The Storm will have the No. 3 overall pick in both drafts.
The Phase I Draft will include eligible players with a 1998 birth year and the Phase II Draft will include multiple birth years from 1994-1997.
Courtesy of Tri-City Storm Media Relations