Ben Plocar loves hockey and brats. The former Traverse City North Stars defenseman will get plenty of both - and a healthy dose of academics - as he heads off to the Milwaukee School of Engineering to play for the Raiders this fall.
Plocar, who hails from Elkhart Lake, Wis., signed with MSOE, a Division III school in the bratwurst capital of North America, where he’ll try to help the school to it’s fourth Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association title in five years.
But it isn’t just the icy returns that Plocar is looking forward to.
“It’s a great place for me to be, and I feel pretty fortunate,” said Plocar, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound blueliner. “I had pretty good grades in high school, so I wanted to use that to help me get into the best possible school. I’ll be in the International Business program, and there is a 98-100 percent placement for graduates, so I’m hoping to get a good job right out of school.”
Plocar scored four goals and assisted on 14 others last season with Traverse City, and levied 16 goals to go with 48 assists over a four-year, 146-game junior career that began in Springfield (Ill.). His ability to join the play yielded seven points over six games during one stretch last season.
“Ben has the ability come in and be a player for them right away,” said North Stars coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “He can provide support on both ends of the ice, and even more importantly, has a tremendous opportunity at a widely-respected school.”
The rigors of the North American Hockey League have had a positive impact on Plocar, both on and off the ice.
“I think over four years, I grew up a lot,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of things, met a lot of different people, and made a lot of friends along the way. On the ice, just working every day - whether it’s practice, games or getting in the weight room - I think that kind of regimen helps prepare you to play, study and succeed at the next level.”
There’ll also be a couple of North Stars reunion games this season, as fellow former Stars Matt Hughes, Jameson Raymond and Jonathan Sheridan will suit up for MCHA-rival Lawrence University against the Raiders twice during the regular season.
“That’ll be a lot of fun,” Plocar added. “It’s an exciting time. I’m going to a great school with a winning program that has an unbelievable new athletic facility right in downtown Milwaukee, I grew up playing with a couple of my new teammates, and I’m playing close to home. I’m looking forward to it.”