Onalaska, Wisc. (WXOW)- When Onalaska’s Carson Bantle is home, you can find him at Cross Fit Acceleration perfecting his craft.
However, it is rare for the high school junior to be in town. Bantle made hockey a priority at a young age.
In middle school, he spent his summers playing in Minnesota and in high school, spent his first two years at Shattuck St. Marys, playing his junior year for the Madison Capitals.
“I was the youngest on the team, and I learned a lot from every one,” Bantle said. “It just pushed me a lot to always get better and keep going. My parents sacrifice a lot. I appreciate it a lot. I just want to give back to them.”
That started with striving to make the U.S. Men’s Select hockey team for the second straight year. But, this year’s Under-18 team comes with the biggest stage.
Carson was one of 22 players that made the roster, and the only one from Wisconsin. He will head to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
“Last year was pretty cool, but this year it is a bigger tournament and everybody is watching,” Bantle said. Once the U.S.A jersey is on, you know it is just go time.”
Now, his dreams are right in front of him.
“I am just hoping to get drafted, and one day everything just works out,” Bantle said.
He will be eligible for next year’s draft, and the numbers are in his favor. In the 2019 NHL draft, 59 Americans were drafted, and 18 of them played on the U.S Under-18 Men’s Select team.
“Those are the numbers you want to hear,” Bantle said. “Obviously you have to put in the work, but nothing is given to you, and you just need to go out there and prove yourself.”
A mindset he has followed his whole life, and will continue to follow as he not only represents the country, but also the town of Onalaska.
Bantle looks forward to attending Michigan Tech to further his hockey career in college.