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Wisconsin men’s hockey: Cruz Lucius signs with UW

The former Gophers commit switched his decision recently to the Badgers.

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Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics - Day 12
Cruz Lucius (No. 17) celebrates a goal with Team USA during the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.
Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images

While the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team didn’t have much success on the ice against Minnesota last season, UW did score a victory on the recruiting trail recently. Forward Cruz Lucius (Grant, Minn.) decommitted from the Gophers two months ago and was officially announced as a Badger on Tuesday.

“We are excited to add Cruz to our lineup,” UW head coach Tony Granato said. ”He’s an extremely skilled and smart playmaker who can score. He will be a fun player to work with because he has a huge desire to get better and be pushed.”

According to a release from UW:

Lucius joins the Badgers from the U.S. Under-18 Team in the U.S. National Team Development Program, where he scored nine goals and 18 points in an injury-shortened, 23-game campaign during the 2021-22 season. Playing alongside fellow incoming freshman Charlie Stramel, he helped Team USA win silver at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Championship with two goals and eight points in six games.

He also recorded 14 goals and 42 points in 42 contests with the U.S. Under-17 Team during the 2020-21 campaign.

Lucius was going to join his older brother, Chaz, in the Twin Cities, but after an injury-filled freshman season the 2021 NHL first round pick signed with the Winnipeg Jets and younger brother Cruz reopened his recruitment.

With the NHL Draft happening in Montreal on Thursday and Friday, and Lucius projected to go somewhere in the third round (The Athletic ($) pegs him as joining his brother in Winnipeg at pick No. 77), it should continue to be a big week for the talented winger.