The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team has gone outside its traditional recruiting territory to add a talented defenseman.
Tristan Luneau, a 15-year-old from Victoriaville, Quebec, announced his oral commitment to the Badgers on Twitter on Monday.
I am proud and honored to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey at University of Wisconsin @BadgerMHockey . I want to thank my coaches, friends and most importantly, my family for helping and supporting me along the way. #OnWisconsin #Badgers pic.twitter.com/eGOrD8HgBW— Tristan Luneau (@TristanLuneau) April 29, 2019
Luneau has been mentioned by scouts as a potential high-first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for his exceptional puck skill and skating ability.
It's likely he'll join the Badgers in 2022, when he's 18.
The Badgers have had only two players from Quebec play for the team, both for one season: Gilles Hudon in 1978-79 and Jacques Auger in 1990-91. Recruit Sam Stevens, a 19-year-old who's playing with Sioux Falls in the United States Hockey League, lived in Montreal but has participated in USA Hockey camps.
Luneau likely would have been a first-round pick in next year's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft, but his commitment signaled that he's headed to college instead.
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He's the second 2022-born player to give the Badgers coaches a nonbinding commitment, joining Minnesota forward Nick Pierre.
And on Wednesday, the Badgers have to temporarily go quiet with Luneau and Pierre. That's the start date of new NCAA rules that prohibit coaches from having recruiting conversations with prospects before Jan. 1 of their 10th-grade year and delay oral scholarship offers until Aug. 1 before their 11th-grade year.
The changes were made in an attempt to slow the recruiting process. In the interim, however, there has been a steady flow of 15-year-olds committing to college programs ahead of the deadline.
Luneau, listed as 6-foot and 171 pounds, was one of a handful of 15-year-olds who played in February at the Canada games, which is primarily for 16-year-olds. He scored one goal in five games for Quebec.
He also gained exceptional status from Hockey Quebec to play the 2018-19 season as an underager at the Midget AAA level with the Trois-Rivières Estacades.
In 67 games for the team, including preseason and postseason, Luneau had eight goals and 30 assists and was plus-8.
In February, he received a scholarship from the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence; a part recipient of the award was former Badgers women's hockey goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens.