Benji Eckerle, Tri-City Storm (courtesy Hickling Images)
Tri-City Storm forward Benji Eckerle has announced a commitment to play college hockey at Arizona State University. Eckerle is currently in his first season with the Storm and has skated in 40 of the team’s 42 games during the 2018-19 regular season. With the announcement, Eckerle becomes the 23rd player on the Storm’s roster to announce a college commitment.
Benji Eckerle, 19, of Northville, MI was drafted by the Storm in the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft on May 8, 2018. He scored the first two goals of his career in the Storm’s opening game of the season on Sept. 27 in a 5-4 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms at the 2018 USHL Fall Classic. Eckerle has a total of five goals and 10 assists through 40 games played during the 2018-19 regular season. Prior to his time with the Storm, Eckerle spent the 2017-18 season with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Eckerle scored seven goals and registered 15 assists during the regular season, and also provide the Jets offense with one goal and six assists during the postseason. Eckerle is set to become the first Storm player to skate for the Sun Devils.
“I felt like it was a weight off my shoulders to finally announce my commitment to Arizona State. Playing college hockey has been a goal of mine my whole, and something I’ve worked hard to achieve. Arizona State has a great coaching staff, and a similar culture to what we have here now. They’ve been on a huge run lately; the program is definitely on an upward swing. My first year with the Storm has been great, we’re a team who likes to have fun, we’ve got a lot of talent, and I think we’ve got what it’s going to take to make a run.”– Benji Eckerle
“Benji has been as integral a part of the success to the team as anyone this season. He is a player who doesn’t always get the most recognition on the scoresheet, but what he does makes us win. He knows nothing but hard work, is selfless, and a great teammate. This is a great opportunity for Benji, Arizona State is a program on the rise with a great coaching staff. It will be a good fit for him as he continues to grow as a player.” Head Coach Anthony Noreen
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 17th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2018-19. The USHL had a record 45 players selected at the 2018 NHL Draft, more than any junior league in the world, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.