Dylan Holloway was looking at a future in the Canadian major junior hockey system until his dad suggested that he hold off on signing.
That's the first step that led to Holloway, a 15-year-old forward from Calgary, giving University of Wisconsin men's hockey coaches an oral commitment on Monday.
Holloway's father, Bruce, had a three-year pro career after four seasons in the major junior Western Hockey League. But he told his son that, in hindsight, he wishes he would have played college hockey.
"He told me to keep my options open and it's too soon to do anything with any of the teams," said Dylan Holloway, who was a sixth-round pick of the Everett Silvertips in this year's WHL bantam draft. "He said just hold off, keep playing hockey and it'll all fall in place. Also, my adviser was telling me to wait a bit. I'm happy I did."
Holloway, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound skilled power forward who said he doesn't shy away from finishing a check, can join the Badgers as early as the 2019-20 season, although the exact timing is uncertain.
He said he started communicating with Badgers coaches after associate head coach Mark Osiecki saw him play for Team Alberta at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in October.
That led to a visit to campus last week. "I loved what I saw," Holloway said.
The team's facilities at the Kohl Center and LaBahn Arena stood out, he said, and Badgers strength and conditioning coach Jim Snider made a good impression.
"He's unbelievable, the work he's doing," Holloway said.
Badgers staff members are prohibited by NCAA rules from discussing recruits that haven't signed a National Letter of Intent.
In 18 games this season for the Calgary Northwest Flames in the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League, Holloway has five goals and three assists.
He's the second player from western Canada to commit to the Badgers in as many months. Forward Ethan Leyh of British Columbia also played in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup before committing in November.
Besides Holloway and Leyh, the Badgers have three 2001-born players committed, all forwards: Alex Turcotte, Owen Lindmark and TJ Koufis.