The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the BCHL, are proud to announce that forward Murphy Stratton has committed to play for the University of North Dakota beginning in the Fall of 2019.
A native of Southern California, his attraction to the game was sparked by watching his father, a St. Paul, MN transplant skating in men’s leagues. He began to play at a young age and showed an affinity for the sport. As he progressed, he became aware his hockey future may lay beyond the Southland. “I think it’s every kid’s dream to move on to the next level”, he muses. “After playing 16AA with the Jr. Kings the opportunity presented itself to move on, and I had to take it. My first year away from home as a 16-17 year old had a lot of adversity in it, but not only did it make me a better hockey player, but a stronger person as well.”
From the asphalt jungle of Los Angeles to the Wenatchee Valley, the adjustment for Stratton was a welcome one. “The population was a lot less than Los Angeles and I wasn’t too sure how I would fit into a smaller town”, he recalls. “But after spending a few days in the Apple Capital of the World I quickly knew it was my home.” He went on to add, “Playing for this city has been one of the biggest honors of my career thus far.” Looking back on the team’s success this past season, he notes, “The city really rallies around the team. It was extra special to win a championship in front of all of our loyal fans.”
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a college, and Stratton shared some of his thought process. “So many things brought me to choosing North Dakota. They are an NCAA power house every year, and they have the best facilities in college hockey to help young players like myself really grow and develop their game so you can get better each and every day. But the main thing that led me to North Dakota was the professionalism and principles that are North Dakota hockey. You are there every day to grow both as a hockey player and as a student. Every day is focused on making you a better all-around person and that to me meant a lot.” His course of study is not yet clearly defined, but he has a general idea, leaning toward a business major as his father did.
The road to Division I hockey is loaded with support from all angles along the way. He quickly notes the sacrifices his parents made, saying, “Driving me to 6 am practices four times a week as a kid and letting me leave home at such a young age to pursue my dreams is something I will always be thankful for. They have never pushed me into a decision or made me do something hockey wise I didn’t want to.” Aside from his parents, he credits his teammates and coaches in Wenatchee. “They were a huge well of support that really helped me find my game and helped me be the best player I can be. The group that won the Fred Page Cup in April is a group that is bonded for life.”
Stratton becomes the 14th player from the 2017-18 Wild roster with a Division I commitment, joining Zak Galambos (Minnesota State – Mankato), Lucas Sowder (Minnesota State – Mankato), Jasper Weatherby (North Dakota), August Von Ungern-Sternberg (Merrimack), Sam Morton (Union), AJ Vanderbeck (Ohio State), Josh Arnold (Northern Michigan), Slava Demin (Denver), Chad Sasaki (Colorado College), Brady Bjork (Notre Dame), Sam Hesler (Dartmouth), Nicholas Kent (Quinnipiac), and Cooper Zech (Ferris State).