St. Cloud forward Benz makes NCAA DI commitment
The St. Cloud Norsemen of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that Top Prospects forward Ethan Benz has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Union College in the ECAC.
Benz marks the second commitment to the Dutchmen this week, joining Norsemen captain and defender Nick Young on next season’s Union College squad.
“I am very thankful for the support and guidance from family, coaches, teammates, friends, and billet families throughout my life and hockey career. I am excited to continue the journey and honored to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey and further my education at Union College,” said Benz.
Benz, 21, played 156 career regular season games in the North American Hockey League, scoring 92 points on 40 goals and 52 assists.
The 6’1/185 lbs. native of Shakopee, MN, joined the Norsemen roster at the trade deadline, after beginning the 2021-22 season with the Chippewa Steel.
Benz played in 75 games this season including each of St. Cloud’s playoff games en route to the team’s Robertson Cup appearance. Benz posted 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points this season.
He was also selected to and played in both the 2022 and 2021 NAHL Top Prospects Tournaments for the Midwest Division teams.
Benz made his NAHL debut with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs during the 2018-19 season after a standout career as Chaska High in Minnesota. During the 2019-20 season, Benz played for both the Ice Dogs and Corpus Christi IceRays, recording 15 points in 39 games played. During the 2020-21 season, he put up 26 points in 46 games with the Steel.
The Norsemen have 11 NCAA commits on the season ending roster and a 12th was called up by his NCAA team at the semester break (Sam Duerr, Maine). NCAA Division I commitments are: Benz (Union), Nik Hong (Dartmouth), Brandon Lajoie (Alaska-Anchorage), Blake Mesenburg (Miami), Evan Murr (Minnesota State – Mankato), Ryan O’Neill (St. Thomas), John Opilka (St. Cloud State), Blake Perbix (Northern Michigan), Max Strand (Vermont), Young (Union) — along with Gunnar Johnson who will play Division III at St. Olaf.