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by Arch Ecker

The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), are proud to announce that forward Brian Williams has committed to play Division I college for Colorado College beginning in Fall 2017. The Colorado College Tigers play in the spacious 7,750 seat World Arena in Colorado Springs, and compete in the NCHC.

Growing up in San Diego, CA, Williams discovered his love for hockey initially on wheels at the age of 4, as do many youth in the sun-drenched Southland but he made transition to ice fairly quickly after. In his youth career, he had some memorable experiences, playing at times under the tutelage of Claude Lemieux, a veteran of over 1,200 NHL games and three-time Stanley Cup winner. When he was 8 years old, he met future Wild teammate Brendan Harris and they would play together and against each other occasionally for years. At age 10, he skated on a line with current NHL star Auston Matthews. When it came time to take his game to the next level after two solid seasons with the LA U16 Selects, Williams discovered that Wenatchee was a prime choice. “I first decided to go to Wenatchee because I knew that I would develop the most by playing junior hockey, and I knew that Wenatchee was a great spot to be in”, he said. “I knew they had a coaching staff that had the players best interest in mind.” The following season, Williams opted to broaden his horizons by joining the Omaha Lancers (USHL) where he played for three seasons. With one year of junior eligibility remaining, he elected to return to the Wild. “It was definitely nice to be back in Wenatchee”, Williams reflected. “Although I loved Omaha, I think it was the right move to end my Junior career in Wenatchee, and I also think it was really good for my development before college.” He had his most productive season this year, collecting 59 points in 49 games played.

Wild Head Coach / GM Bliss Littler coached Williams as a 16-year and then again as he hit 21 years of age this season. “We’re very happy for Brian. He’s had a very good junior career between the USHL and BCHL.” Littler went on to add, “It’s great to see him finish off a great season by finding a very good home in Colorado College where he can play his college hockey. Brian will bring outstanding character as well as the ability to play in many situations.”

Williams plans on pursuing a business major as he envisions an eventual career in real estate, though he acknowledges the future is a blank canvas. In his travels, he has encountered numerous people who he would like to thank for helping him reach this important milestone in his career. “First of all, my parents”, he said. “I couldn’t have done anything without them!” He continued, “As far as coaches go, I want to thank Randy Moy, Craig Sterling, James Gasseau, Sandy Gasseau, Shawn Pitcher, Ian Crockford, Louis Pacella, Bliss Littler, Tom Rudrud, Chris Clark, Brian Kaufman, Chris Michael, and John Faulkner.” Recalling his billets, he added, “I would also like to thank families who I have lived with including; Robin and Dave Lee, Ray and Cherie Fricks, Gene and Gay Milos, Barb and Mike Rice, and Ray and Michelle Coble.” Rounding out his list of thanks, he finishes by saying, “Also a thanks to everyone who has worked on staff at the rinks and my friends who have supported me.”

Williams becomes the fourteenth Wild player from the 2016-17 roster to secure a D1 school commitment, joining Tyler Rockwell (Michigan Tech), Logan Milliken (Holy Cross), Troy Conzo (Colorado College), Slava Demin (Denver), Dakota Raabe (Michigan), Charlie Combs (Bemidji State), Colin Burston (Brown), Matt Baker (Dartmouth), Brendan Harris (Bemidji State), Jacob Modry (Rensselaer Polytechnic), Jimmy O’Brien (Colorado College), Chad Sasaki (Colorado College), and Garrett Nieto (Lake Superior State).  He’s expected to join Wild alumni Trey Bradley who is currently playing at Colorado College, and Bryan Yoon who is committed for the 2017-18 season as well.