Bochenski Won’t Return to North Dakota

Brandon Bochenski, a 2004 Hobey Baker Award finalist, made it official yesterday, telling his coaches he is leaving school with the intention of soon signing with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. USCHO reported in late July that Bochenski was planning to leave school.

Bochenski, who would have been a senior at UND next season, was a member of the All-WCHA first team and a first team All American during the 2003-04 season. As a freshman, the Blaine, Minn., native was the WCHA Rookie of the Year. He is tied for 19th in all-time scoring at UND with 79 goals and 75 assists in 120 games.

Last season, Bochenski finished second in scoring nationally to Hobey Baker winner Junior Lessard of Minnesota-Duluth. In the 2002-03 season, he was second nationally in goal scoring behind Hobey Baker winner Peter Sejna of Colorado College.

Before joining UND, he played with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars where he was the league’s rookie of the year and a first team All Star. He was a member of Blaine high school’s [nl]Minnesota state championship team in 2000.

In the 2001 NHL entry draft, Bochenski was selected ninth by Ottawa (223rd overall). He will be the second high-profile player to leave UND early. Zach Parise, a first-round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils who usually centered a line with Bochenski at right wing the past two seasons, signed with the Devils last April.