The Steinbach Pistons are excited to share that former defenceman Tucker Hodgson has committed to the Bentley University Falcons of NCAA Division I.
With his commitment, Hodgson joins elite company as the fourth ever Pistons d-man to commit to NCAA Division I school alongside Justin Baudry (Bemidji State), Tyler Anderson (St. Cloud State), and Darby Gula (Bemidji State).
“Tucker’s journey is one that should be inspiring to all young players,“ Pistons Head Coach/General Manager Paul Dyck said. “He has had to prove himself at every level and has earned his opportunities and greater minutes as each season goes on through an incredible desire to improve as a player. “
Bentley University is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, about 10 minutes away from the city of Boston. The Falcons currently play out of the Atlantic Hockey conference, the same conference that two former Pistons, Austin Heidemann (Mercyhurst) and Matt Radomsky (Holy Cross), currently play in.
The 19-year-old from Grand Forks, North Dakota received interest from multiple schools, but he says what attracted him to Bentley was a combination of education plus an opportunity to play next year. “I prioritized patience and gathered as much information I could about the schools involved to really know I was going to make the right decision,” Hodgson explained. “For starters, it is one of the premier finance schools (in the U.S.), which, as someone who wants to be a finance major, was really intriguing.
“There were also opportunities to make an immediate impact on the team, as well as a great scholarship,” he continued. “Bentley checked a lot of boxes for me in what I was looking for in a college experience, and I’m looking forward to living and playing in Boston.”
Hodgson was recruited by Dyck out of Grand Forks Central High School, where he won three North Dakota State championships from Grades 9-11. He chose to forgo his senior year at his home school to play for the Pistons, and worked his way into Steinbach’s regular lineup during the second half of the season.
In his lone season with the Pistons in the 2019-20 season, Hodgson dressed in 51 regular season games and recorded 9 assists. In the shortened 2020 playoffs, he assisted twice in three postseason contests. He took part in the 2020 MJHL/SJHL Showcase in Regina as one of the top under-18 players in Manitoba and was named the Pistons’ Most Improved Player after the conclusion of the year by the coaching staff.
“He has a very good understanding of who he is as a player and takes pride in doing it well,“ his former head coach in Steinbach said. “His practice habits have led him to this new opportunity with Bentley, as he practices as hard as he plays.”
Hodgson made the Fargo Force of the USHL for this 2020-21 season. He says he has enjoyed being back in his home state to play and be close to his family. “To be able to play at all this year is incredible, but to do so while so close to home is icing on the cake,“ he said. “They’re able to make it to a majority of our home games, and if there’s anything I need it’s only an hour away.
And just like in Steinbach, he has worked his way into a regular top-4 role after being on the outside looking in at the start of the year. He has played in all 48 games played for the current #2 team in the Western Conference standings, notched 4 assists this season. He is tied for 5th on his team with a +11 rating.
“Young players should take note here as they often put such a heavy focus on offence and offensive stats, and if they play the power play or not. Tucker’s stats won’t wow anyone, but when you watch him play, you want him on your team and you want him as a teammate,“ Dyck observed. “Plain and simple, you win with players like him.”
“We truly do have a solid group of guys who have been through a lot together, and have come out a tight-knit group who I’m proud to play with every night,“ Hodgson praised of his team in Fargo. “Our coaches care for us as players and people and want to see us succeed. They are there to help us on and off the ice, whether that be skills development in the mornings or college advice after practice.”
Even though he spent one season north of the border, Hodgson was quick to say that year was a memorable one. “It’s fair to say that I would not be in this position I am in today if not for my time in Steinbach,” he recalled. “It certainly was a risk for me to leave high school early and forgo my senior year, but Paul and the entire Pistons organization made that transition seamless. I had such a fun time in Steinbach: from the mornings at the SRSS, to my afternoons at the TG Smith Centre, to Bachelor Monday’s (a team-building event where they would gather at a billet home to watch every episode of the reality TV show The Bachelor).
“My teammates were great in helping me adjust to life in Canada, as well as my billets whom I’m still in contact with today and took great care of me,” Hodgson concluded. “I couldn’t thank Paul, Booj (assistant coach Calvin Bugyik), Graham (Pollock), Jeff (Eidse), and everyone else in the Pistons organization for the opportunity they gave and the chance to really develop and grow my game.”
The Pistons organization would like to congratulate Tucker and his family on his commitment to Bentley University!