The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team has secured its second commitment by a player from the Eau Claire area.
Sam Stange, a 17-year-old forward who’s playing for Team Wisconsin and Eau Claire North, announced Friday that he has given Badgers coaches a nonbinding oral pledge.
Honored and humbled to announce my commitment to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point! #OnWisconsin — Sam Stange (@sam_stange3) September 7, 2018
Stange joined Altoona’s Daniel Laatsch, a 16-year-old defenseman who’s joining the USA Hockey National Team Development Program this season, as UW recruits from the Eau Claire area.
Stange, listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, was a first-team all-state player last season for Eau Claire North, where he scored 39 goals in 27 games. Seven of those goals came in his first two games.
He’s planning on finishing his high school career this season and again supplementing his ice time by playing with Team Wisconsin before and after the prep season.
Stange could join the Badgers as early as the 2019-20 season, but he also could play junior hockey before matriculating.
Eau Claire has produced standout players for the Badgers before. Jake Dowell, Jake McCabe and Jefferson Dahl have gone on to pro careers after their time at UW, and Ty Emberson is a highly touted freshman defenseman on this year’s team.
Stange played two games last season with the Sioux City Musketeers, who hold his United States Hockey League rights. Sioux City is coached by Eau Claire native and former Badgers associate head coach Luke Strand.
Outside of hockey season, Stange helped Eau Claire North to state in baseball last June. He had a two-run triple in a loss to eventual champion Waunakee in the quarterfinals.
The Badgers have eight players from the 2001 birth year among their committed recruits, all of them forwards. That list includes Cole Caufield, Alex Turcotte, Owen Lindmark, TJ Koufis, Shane LaVelle, Ethan Leyh and Dylan Holloway.