As he saw his teammates and friends commit to college hockey teams, Liam Malmquist told himself patience was going to be his best trait in the recruiting game.

Three of the players he grew up playing with in the Edina youth hockey program made their pledges to college programs as juniors in the 2017-18 season: defenseman Mike Vorlicky to the University of Wisconsin, forward Mason Nevers to Minnesota and forward Jett Jungels to Northern Michigan.

Malmquist, an 18-year-old forward, didn't have that level of attention until last fall, when he led the Upper Midwest High School Elite League with 23 assists and 32 points in 21 games.

Then in his last year at Edina High School, he scored 30 goals and had 31 assists in 30 games, culminating with a state championship.

Last week, he committed to the Badgers, rewarding his patience.

"I feel like my recruiting process is definitely different," Malmquist said. "I grew up with all off my best buddies, most of them committing early. And then seeing all the younger kids commit, it kind of just pushed me even more, in a way, of just being, OK, that's going to be me one day. After my senior year, I just tried to take in everything and make sure I did it right."

Malmquist said he ended up having interest from nine schools but said UW "checked off all the boxes."

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He was drafted by the United States Hockey League's Madison Capitols earlier this month but instead will play next season in the British Columbia Hockey League with Penticton, where former Badgers defenseman Patrick Sexton recently was hired as an assistant coach.

Malmquist's brother, Dylan, just finished a four-year career at Notre Dame that left an impression on Liam on what he'll have to do to be ready to play NCAA hockey.

"Something I can take away from his experience was how hard everybody in college hockey works and how talented of a league it is," Malmquist said. "It's really special to be a part of, and all the traditions and all the cultures that come from a school like Wisconsin and the Big Ten, it's really, really special to be a part of."

Malmquist, listed at 5-foot-8 and 146 pounds, scored three goals in last season's Minnesota Class AA state semifinals against St. Thomas Academy, his fourth hat trick of the season. The Hornets then won the championship in overtime against Eden Prairie, when Malmquist was plus-3 in a 3-2 victory.

"Coming back senior year, we had a lot of seniors who I've been playing with for over 10 years now, just going up through the Edina hockey system," he said. "It was a really special year, just being a part of a championship run and just being with the guys you grew up with and then raising that trophy.

"It really put it into perspective, just how hard you need to work and how many things need to go right to have a season like that."


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