The Blackfalds Bulldogs are proud to announce that Otto Hanson has committed to playing NCAA division one hockey at Western Michigan University. The 16-year-old Hanson has scored five goals and 12 points with the Bulldogs through his 34 games this season.
Hanson is Blackfalds’ only 2006-born skater and has continued to excel as a youngster, scoring three points in his last three games. Of late, Hanson has played on a line with Jack Plandowski and Kody Willick, who Hanson credits with helping his game. “We have gotten really close throughout the year so we know when each other need help and what to do to lift each other up in a way,” said Hanson. “This has also translated on the ice where we have developed that chemistry and trust in each other.”
Bulldogs Head Coach Doug Quinn commended Hanson’s dedication following an injury that saw him miss nearly the entirety of October, saying he’s come out on the other side stronger.
“He lost four to six weeks of development… but in the last month, he’s picked up another step. He’s faster, more confident.”
“I had a lot of help with my recovery and rehab so that I was able to get back playing soon feeling strong and confident in my healing,” said Hanson about the early-season setback. “When I got back I was able to do a lot of on-ice work to make up for my missed time.”
Hanson says the commitment with Western Michigan University has been in the works since the end of September, saying he had been in touch with the coaching staff after the AJHL Showcase. “I was lucky enough to be able to visit their facilities and meet their staff recently and was impressed with their program,” said Hanson.
When asked about his teams’ efforts at cultivating both team and individual success, Quinn expressed that “Our goal as an organization is to identify the kids that have the skill and ability to move on to that NCAA level, we bring them in and give them the resources to have success.”
Hanson echoed that sentiment, crediting both the Bulldogs organization and the team around him for helping along the progression of his development.
“The team atmosphere has been awesome this year. With this being a new program I feel like we are all trying to build something special here and it has been exciting to be a part of that,” said Hanson. “The coaches have helped me so much with my development whether it be through extra video, skills work before practice or specific demonstrations and feedback on where my game needs work.”