Michigan Native Hunter Wendt spent two years playing for Bell Tire before heading west for the NAHL and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Wendt, a 3.5-star prospect, will return home soon, as the ’97 committed to Ferris State for the 2018 season. He was Neutral Zone’s No. 146 1997-born NCAA-eligible prospect.
Neutral Zone chatted with Wendt about his youth hockey career, the NAHL and how he chose Ferris State.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Hunter Wendt: I started playing hockey at the age of four and what got me into hockey was my dad.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory from playing hockey?
HW: My earliest hockey memory is winning international Silver Sticks.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
HW: My youth hockey experience was great, I grew up five minutes away from the rink and spent a majority of my childhood there. I also had my dad coach me for a few years, which was great for my development.
NZ: How did you end up in the NAHL?
HW: I was playing for Belle Tire U18 and had the opportunity to tender with Fairbanks so I took it.
NZ: How did playing there help your development?
HW: Playing here has been great for my development from being a rookie last year to now. My game has increased a great amount.
NZ: Take us through the NCAA recruitment process. What other schools were you talking to and where did you visit?
HW: I talked to a few schools like Western Michigan, Michigan Tech, Niagara, And Army. Ferris was always number one for me and they consistently recruited me for about two years.
NZ: What made you decide to commit to Ferris State? What went into that decision for you and your family to know it was the right place?
HW: I chose Ferris State because it seemed like the right fit for me. The coaching staff is Grade A. Also my dad played for Ferris State and he has endless good things to say about it.
NZ: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen while playing hockey?
HW: The strangest thing I’ve seen while playing hockey was when the opposing coach started launching anything he could find on the bench to the ice.
NZ: What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you in hockey?
HW: The best advice I’ve gotten was that never give up on your dreams.
NZ: What are your best on-ice skills?
HW: I think my best on-ice skills are my vision and my ability to play a 200-foot game.
NZ: What aspect of your game are you working on improving the most?
HW: I’m working on driving the net from the corner and creating a scoring chance.
NZ: Is there a professional player you model your game after?
HW: Mats Zuccarello.
NZ: Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
HW: My parents.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?
HW: The toughest challenge I have faced in hockey is one time we were playing at New Hampshire and I left my shoulder pads in my hotel room so I had to use a UNH player’s extra pair.