The Topeka RoadRunners, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce first year forward Ben Bahe has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey next season for Merrimack College.
In his rookie season at the Junior A level, Bahe ranked third on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 24 assists. His 13 power play points was second on the team, and he played in every game but one. He was also selected to participate in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament on the NAHL 18U Selects Team in February.
Like many native Minnesotans, the 5'10", 180 lb. Bahe was introduced to the game at a young age. "I was two when my Dad first took me to the rink and ever since that moment, I just loved hockey", he recalled. "I had knee hockey set up in my basement and I would play down there for hours." He would eventually play high school hockey for Hill-Murray High School where he had the opportunity to skate in the Minnesota State Tournament in both his sophomore and junior years. "The feeling is unbelievable", Bahe said. "You walk out of the tunnel (at Xcel Energy Center) and there are 18,000 fans there to watch you. The atmosphere is amazing and I'll remember that feeling the rest of my life."
The speedy forward caught the attention of the RoadRunners, prompting a phone call from Head Coach Scott Langer. "Coach Langer called me a few days before the draft and expressed his interest in drafting me and asked if I had any tender offers on the table. I told him the options I had, and he called back the next day to offer a tender with Topeka." Bahe knew it was the right choice. "I'd always heard great things about Topeka, that it was an excellent place to play with great coaching so I accepted the offer."
Moving away from home for the first time can be unnerving, but Bahe found the transition to be smooth. "My billet family (the Essary's) were very welcoming and made me feel at home, and my teammates helped a lot as well." He made a visit to Merrimack about a week ago, and was impressed. "Everything just felt right. They have a great coaching staff and the program as a whole is headed in the right direction. And the atmosphere on campus was excellent. I just felt comfortable that I would enjoy being a student there." He added, "I get to play hockey AND get a solid education. It's perfect!" While he is still undecided as to his major, he admits he's leaning toward a business degree.
Bahe acknowledges a lot of help along the way. "My family has given so much time, energy and support. I could never have come this far without their help. Coach Scott Langer and Coach Harry Mahood have helped me improve my game immensely this season and I'm grateful for the belief they have shown in me. I'd like to thank Coach Bill Lechner at Hill-Murray HS for three years of development, and preparing me for life past high school. And also FHIT (Flexx Hockey Institute of Training) in Mendota Heights, MN for allowing me to train for the last few summers." He further added, "And I need to thank my teammates for making my junior hockey experience even better than I could have dreamed."
When Bahe arrives in the Merrimack locker room in North Andover, MA, he'll see some friendly faces, as three other RoadRunner players are slated to play there next season. Current teammate Brian Christie along with alumni Justin Hussar and Rasmus Tirronen will wear the blue and gold of the Merrimack Warriors, who compete in the Hockey East Association.