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Wausau West forward Kevin Conley commits to Denver

'97-born Kevin Conley from Wausau chooses the Pioneers over the Badgers and Bemidji State.

Wausau West forward Kevin Conley has made his decision: He'll be playing college hockey at the University of Denver.

The junior-to-be announced his decision via Twitter Monday, saying, "Very honored and proud to announce my commitment to play my college hockey career at Denver University #Pioneers."

A 6-foot, 185-pound forward, Conley registered 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points in 28 games last season for Wausau West. Conley was also a star for Team Wisconsin U-16 last fall, oddly enough also notching 17 goals and 31 points.

Conley told Bucky's 5th Quarter that he also talked with Bemidji State and Wisconsin, but felt a better fit with Denver's style.

"I chose Denver because it was really the best fit for me," Conley said. "Also, I liked the coaches a lot, and the type of hockey they played was the type I played."

Conley said he didn't yet have an offer from the Badgers, but had been scheduled for a visit Tuesday. He noted he already had his mind made up, and chose to announce his decision.

While he was only a sophomore last season, Conley stood out immediately as one of the top goal-scoring threats in the state. USA Hockey liked Conley enough to invite him to the NTDP Evaluation Camp along with 51 of the other top 1997-born players in the U.S.

Conley also heard his name called in the USHL draft this past spring, when the Youngstown Phantoms nabbed the Wausau native in the 2nd round of the Phase I draft. Phantom's assistant general manager and director of player personnel Jason Koehler is excited about Conley's potential.

"Kevin Conley is one of the top players in Wisconsin high school hockey - in the entire state, period," Koehler said in a release after the draft. "You're getting a good two-way forward. He's somebody who can skate, make plays, score goals and has a high compete level and some feistiness."

While Wisconsin could have used Conley, they've hit on some high end 97-born targets already. The Badgers already hold verbal commitments from Brock Boeser, Matthew Freytag and Luke Kunin, who are all considered big-time talents.

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