The Blackfalds Bulldogs are proud to announce the commitment of Tanner Willick to American International College in NCAA Division 1. Willick (’03) has 3 goals and 30 points with the Bulldogs so far this season. Willick was acquired by Blackfalds in the offseason after posting 37 points in 52 games with the Drumheller Dragons last year.
Willick played in this year’s World Junior ‘A’ challenge, scoring two points in six games in Canada West’s fourth-place effort.
Willick says the NCAA commitment to AIC after the World Junior ‘A’ challenge is another dream come true.
“Obviously it was an honour and privilege being able to even be selected to try out for team Canada at the World Junior ‘A’ tournament, but getting the chance to put on a Maple Leaf for the first time was something special,” said Willick. “Now being able to fulfill another dream of one day playing in the NCAA has truly been surreal. These past few weeks… I’ve made memories that will last a lifetime.”
Bulldogs Head Coach Doug Quinn says that Willick worked hard this season to round out his game and become the complete player he needed to become to earn an NCAA commitment.
“Tanner has put in the extra time to round out his game, he has always been more of an offensive defenseman and has been great on the powerplay, but Tanner knew if he wanted to get to the next level he would have to improve the defensive side of his game,” said Quinn. “Tanner has put in the work and has grown as a player and now has the game to play in all situations.”
Quinn went on to commend Willick’s hockey IQ, saying that AIC is getting a smart, highly skilled player who has a great work ethic.
Willick credits his teammates and the Bulldogs organization for helping him take a big step in his game, saying that “I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything I’ve achieved without them. I think Doug, (Brady) Bakke, and (Ryan Tobler) have all played a huge part in developing my game and putting me in the best situations to allow me to be successful.”
Willick said a commitment to AIC has been something he’s been hoping for since the school made first contact at the beginning of last season. While in Ontario for the World Junior ‘A’ challenge, Willick said AIC approached with an offer, saying “They approached and said they had liked what they saw out of my game and decided to ask me if I would commit there for the 2024 season.”
Willick says that despite personal goals being accomplished this season, his focus remains on the success of the Bulldogs as a whole, saying “Not only myself but this team believes we can be one of the top teams in the league.”
Willick joins Brett Meerman, Jason Siedem, Connor Dick, and Layne Loomer now becoming the fifth member of the Blackfalds Bulldogs to earn an NCAA commitment already this season.
Head Coach Quinn says that the recent NCAA commitments of Loomer and Willick are indicative of the organization’s goals as a whole. “One of the goals for the Bulldogs organization is to create a culture and provide kids with the resources and opportunity to develop so they are prepared to play at the highest level both on and off the ice.”
The entire Bulldogs organization would like to congratulate Tanner and his family on his commitment and wish him the best of luck at American International College!