Shane LaVelle visited with University of Wisconsin men's hockey coaches in Madison on Saturday and decided their program was the right fit for him.
LaVelle, a 15-year-old forward from Chaska, Minnesota, who was MVP of an elite Bantam league in the Twin Cities late last summer, called Badgers coaches Sunday morning to give an oral commitment.
He said he had looked into Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth as potential destinations and was interested in Boston University.
"As soon as I got to Wisconsin and toured it and met all the coaches, it was an instant decision," LaVelle said. "I felt like it was a great fit there."
A right-handed winger who led Chaska High School in scoring as a freshman, LaVelle was selected earlier this month by the Madison Capitols in the fifth round of the under-17 portion of the USHL draft, 69th overall.
He said he's planning on attending the Capitols' prospect camp in June but isn't sure how his final three years of high school will play out.
LaVelle, who was born in St. Louis and has lived in Chaska since he was 3, is 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds.
He said conditioning work has improved his strength and speed, and he's always trying to improve his skating and shooting.
LaVelle was the MVP of the Minnesota Bantam Elite Hockey League last August and September, when he had 12 goals and 19 points in nine games.
He then led Chaska with 17 goals and 36 points in 26 games as a freshman.
"I'm familiar with the guys. My line just sort of clicked," LaVelle said. "We played together as a team, and my teammates helped me out."
LaVelle has three years of high school left, so the earliest he's projected to join the Badgers is the fall of 2020.
He's the sixth player from the 2001 birth year known to have committed to the Badgers, joining forwards Alex Turcotte, Owen Lindmark, TJ Koufis, Ethan Leyh and Dylan Holloway.
NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting on recruits until they've signed a National Letter of Intent before enrolling.
LaVelle, however, shared what made him think head coach Tony Granato and associate head coaches Don Granato and Mark Osiecki have a program that's best suited for him.
"They said their main focus is pushing guys into the NHL," LaVelle said. "That's what they do. That's what I love about them."
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!