The what was clear for Corson Ceulemans: He knew he wanted to play NCAA hockey.
The where was the next assignment, so he started doing research.
The 14-year-old offensive defenseman's studies on programs that have been successful in producing NHL players brought him for a visit with the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team last week.
And on Monday that prompted the first oral commitment to the Badgers from a recruit born in 2003.
Ceulemans, from the Edmonton suburb of Beaumont, Alberta, joined a lengthy list of defensemen who have given Badgers coaches a nonbinding commitment.
He's the 12th defenseman committed to the Badgers for future seasons — the earliest he'd come to UW appears to be the fall of 2021 — but only the second Canadian. The other, Anthony Kehrer of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has dual citizenship with the U.S. and recently tried out for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
In all, 27 players are known to have given UW coaches nonbinding oral commitments. Eight others have signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Badgers next season.
Ceulemans said his research made him favor UW, North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, and he accepted an offer from the Badgers not long after it was tendered.
Asked what attracted him to the Badgers and Madison, Ceulemans ticked off a list of highlights.
"They win. They send players to the NHL," he said. "They develop players. They develop people. The campus is great."
Ceulemans, listed at 6-foot and 170 pounds and a student in Grade 9, had eight goals and 31 points in 30 games for the Okanagan Hockey Academy's Edmonton Bantam Prep team in 2017-18.
He has been ranked as a candidate for a high selection in the Western Hockey League Bantam draft, but his early commitment to the Badgers signaled that he's on track for college instead.
Ceulemans said vision, decision-making and skating are highlights of his game. He's working on positioning in the defensive zone.
He's planning on playing his Midget year with Okanagan next season and said he will "see where it goes from there" on potential for playing junior hockey.