St. Cloud forward Hanson makes NCAA commitment
The St. Cloud Norsemen of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that forward Hunter Hanson has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for the College of St. Scholastica.
“I think they’re an up and coming program that has a lot of potential to be very good next year,” Hanson said. St. Scholastica’s 13-1-2 conference record was the best record in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2022-23 as they are 17-7-3 overall. “The coaching staff was very helpful and kind so I think it’ll be a good fit next year.”
Hanson wrapped up a three-year NAHL career this spring, all while wearing the St. Cloud Norsemen sweater. In his three seasons with the Norsemen he finished his NAHL career with a stat line of 26-36-62 in 154 regular season games played and 8 points in 15 Robertson Cup playoff contests.
During the 2022-23 season, Hanson recorded 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 59 games played.
Hanson’s contributions to the team were more than just on the scoresheet, as he logged a lot of minutes on special teams. “Hunter Hanson is an elite skater with a good sense for the game of hockey. He was huge in the success of our penalty kill,” compliments St. Cloud Norsmen Assistant Coach Brock Kautz. The Norsemen penalty kill percentage was 2nd of the 29 NAHL teams during the 2022-23 regular season, killing off 87.5% of opponents’ power play chances, just a tenth of a point behind the Oklahoma Warrior’s 87.6%. “He also logged minutes on our power play.”
Hunter hails from Blaine, MN and played for the Blaine High School Bengals. Hanson blossomed late in his high school career as in his sophomore and junior seasons he scored 2-6-8 in 48 regular season games and was pointless in his lone playoff game in 10th grade. But he burst out for three goals in five playoff games his junior year and then racked up the points his senior season, going 16-17-33 in 28 games with the regular and postseason combined.
Hanson admits that geography and having a few other ties to the Duluth area, where St. Scholastica is located, factored into his decision. “Actually a lot of my childhood friends go to school up north in Duluth. One of my good friends I played hockey with most of my life in Blaine plays at Scholastica too so those were both very persuasive as far as selecting this program,” Hanson admits. “It’s a little far from home but I wanted a change of scenery.”
Outside of the numbers and skillset, Hunter is bringing even more to his next program and Coach Kautz is convinced St. Scholastica is getting the better end of the deal. “I think the best part about Hunter is he is an outstanding person and a great teammate,” boasts Kautz. “St. Scholastica is lucky to have him and his family a part of their program.”
While hockey is certainly a huge factor for Hunter, he certainly is thinking about his studies as well and feels the college is just as good of a fit as the hockey program is. “I really liked the campus and the facilities, they both caught my eye right away,” Hanson confides. “As far as a career, Scholastica has great science programs and a good PA program, which I may try and pursue. Hard to say right now, but definitely something in the sciences.”
The College of St. Scholastica Saints Men’s Hockey Team competes in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference or MIAC and their history includes two National Championships with the National Association of International Athletics in 1975 and 1977 (NAIA).