Badger Defenseman Tanabe Turns Pro

Following a freshman season in which he was named to the WCHA’s all-rookie team, Wisconsin defenseman Dave Tanabe has opted to sign with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, the school announced.

In doing so, Tanabe becomes the first true freshman to leave the Wisconsin program and the second to leave after one year of play. The other was current NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph, who left in 1989.

Tanabe, who scored 10 goals last season, was picked with the 16th selection of the June draft.

“Dave feels this is the best situation for him and the quickest way to get to the next level,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said. “This has been an extremely difficult decision for both Dave and his parents.

“We are disappointed he isn’t returning because we felt he had the ability to be one of college hockey’s outstanding defensemen.”

Wisconsin was apparently prepared for Tanabe’s decision, however. According to an earlier report in the Madison Capital Times, the Badgers recruited Canadian defenseman Mark Jackson to fill Tanabe’s vacated scholarship. Jackson had turned down a scholarship from UMass-Lowell to wait for Wisconsin’s offer.

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