Oklahoma defenseman Brenner makes NCAA DIII Commitment | North American Hockey League | NAHL
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Oklahoma defenseman Brenner makes NCAA DIII Commitment

March 13, 2024

Oklahoma Warriors defenseman Will Brenner has committed to play Division III hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The Oklahoma City native joined the Warriors in September 2022 and has spent two full seasons with the organization. After being a part of the 2023 Robertson Cup championship team, head coach Garrett Roth named Brenner an alternate captain of this year’s group.

Brenner, who played his rookie season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders before returning home, has taken the ice in 88 Warriors games.

“For the last two years, Will has brought extreme competitiveness to our group and a willingness to do whatever it takes to have team success,” Roth said. “Will’s character and work ethic will lead the way in the success he achieves as a student athlete at Eau Claire.”

Unlike other players whose relationships with schools have blossomed quickly, Brenner has had Eau Claire in his corner the whole season. He started talking with the program in September and liked what they offered.

“I did my research on the school and knew they had a really good winning history,” Brenner said. “It is awesome, they offer everything that I want academically and hockey-wise. It is a great area; I love the state of Wisconsin and I am excited to get up there.”

The Blugolds, Eau Claire’s hockey team, are two-time national champions, most recently in 2013. The team has enjoyed 14 consecutive winning seasons, including this current year. They battle rival Stevens Point in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championship game on Saturday.

Academically, Brenner plans on studying in Eau Claire’s acclaimed kinesiology program as he hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy or possibly PA school down the road.

“They just have a small-town feel,” Brenner said. “Everything revolves around the sports up there, and they have a really good academic history. It offers a bunch of things I am looking for and I am super excited about it.”

Brenner spent nearly all of his childhood and teenage years at Blazers Ice Centre. Jackie, Will’s mom, has taught skating lessons at both Oklahoma City-area rinks for more than 30 years. His hockey coaches included Larry Donovan, longtime Blazers Ice Centre rink manager. Brenner has seen the hockey community grow into the thriving program it is today.

A challenge for any new hockey team, particularly in a burgeoning yet non-traditional hockey market like Oklahoma City, is to connect the city with its team and build a strong support group. Brenner took on a special responsibility joining his hometown junior team in its inaugural season.

“Will has been a heart and soul player and person for us since the day he joined our group,” Roth said. “He has been a key part of what we have established on and off the ice here in Oklahoma City. Our focus as an organization has always been to make an impact on Oklahoma City and we could not have had a better ambassador than Will. The time he has spent helping within our community and being a role model for all the youth hockey players here has been really impressive.”

Brenner joins a growing list of local players who have gone on to compete in college, including Matt Donovan, Mick Berge, and Tanner Karty. His teammate, Edmond native Josh Belz, will play Division III hockey at Johnson & Wales University in the fall.

“It is unbelievable,” Brenner said. “When I was 12 or 13, I always looked up to the guys from here who played juniors and thought, ‘Wow, I want to be those guys one day.’ Now that I am actually making a college decision, it is really exciting, and I am pumped about it.”

via oklahomawarriors.com


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