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Storm rookie commits to NCAA team

A Grande Prairie Storm rookie has committed to an NCAA school. 16 year old Zachary Okabe of Okotoks will be heading to Burlington, Vermont to play for the University of Vermont Catamounts.

Okabe was the first Australian to be drafted into the Western Hockey League in 2016. He moved from Australia to the U.S. and then Canada in 2011. Head coach Matt Keillor says he and general manager Mark Bomersback knew he was a special player the first time they watched him skate.

“He has made an impression already in the short amount of time he has been here. He makes plays at high speed and he’s exciting to watch. He’s one of those players that puts fans on the edge of their seat when he has the puck.”

Okabe has played one exhibition game with the Storm so far. He says he’s honoured to already have a scholarship.

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“It has been a dream to receive a scholarship from an NCAA school and I’m grateful Vermont was the school that will help me achieve another step in my career. I’m also really excited to spend the next couple years of my life playing for the Grande Prairie Storm and developing as a player every day.”

This is the first NCAA signing of the season for the Storm, but Keillor expects to see more soon.

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