GRAND FORKS, N.D. — When word leaked out that University of North Dakota men’s hockey commit Brendan Budy wasn’t going to play for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League this fall, there was a battle to get him.

The Langley Rivermen of the British Columbia Hockey, Budy’s team from 2016-18, wanted him to come back.

The Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League made a trade with the Red Deer Rebels to get his rights. Playing in the WHL would have ended Budy’s college eligibility and Vancouver Giants general manager Barclay Parneta even told the Vancouver Sun that he expected Budy to join his team.

But through the commotion, Budy stayed the course with his commitment to UND.

“It was a pretty busy couple of weeks there,” Budy said. “Obviously, last year was a weird year for me, playing at Denver, making a decision to leave there and consider a couple of different options. This year, I wanted to play closer to home for a few personal reasons and obviously (Vancouver) traded for my rights. They play in Langley close to my house, so there was a little bit of consideration there.

“But with the help of Brad (Berry) and Dane (Jackson) and my coach in Langley, Bobby Henderson, everything worked out. The year has gone really well so far. I couldn’t be any happier with my decision to play here (for Langley Rivermen) and still go to North Dakota. I’m super thankful for everything Brad, Dane and Bobby have done for me.”

On Wednesday, when the signing period opened up, the dynamic forward from Langley, B.C., inked his National Letter of Intent, bringing him one step closer to UND.

Budy is expected to play for the Fighting Hawks beginning next fall.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound left-handed forward will have three years of college eligibility after spending a semester at Denver last season.

“I’m really excited,” Budy said. “I built a really good relationship with Brad and Dane. A couple of my buddies play there. Shane Pinto and I played together at Tri-City last year and we were pretty close. I played with Jonny Tychonick and Jacob Bernard-Docker for Team Canada West a couple years ago. So, I know a couple guys there. The history of the program speaks for itself. The facilities are unbelievable. I couldn’t be more excited.

“Taking a step closer to next year (by signing) was really exciting and I’m happy to be a part of North Dakota hockey.”

Budy has been dominant in the BCHL this season.

He has 33 points in 23 games for Langley, ranking fourth in the BCHL in scoring. He has 25 points in the last 14 games.

But it’s Budy’s defensive play that has changed the most over the last year.

“Obviously, you want to be really good offensively,” Budy said. “I feel that in the past, I put defensive play aside to try to be offensive. Being a complete player is the most important thing to help you get to the next level. I learned more about that last year. I’ve always had the offensive tools. Becoming a more complete player was huge for me and that’s what I’ve been trying to do is work on my all-around game.”

NTDP duo signs

A pair highly touted recruits, who are expected to go in the top two rounds of June’s NHL Draft, signed their National Letters of Intent together Wednesday. Defensemen Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven, a Fargo native, are teammates with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 Team. Both of them inked their letters together and posed for a photo.

Thief River Falls’ Aaron Myers signs with BSU

Former Thief River Falls standout Aaron Myers has signed his National Letter of Intent with Bemidji State.

Myers started the year with the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League but has since returned to the Minnesota Wilderness in the North American Hockey League, where Myers starred last season.

Brad Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) can be reached at BSchlossman@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1129.