After shattering fitness records at Shattuck-St. Mary's, 15-year-old Will Belle commits to Notre Dame
The 15-year-old power forward grew up in China before moving to Massachusetts, and now to Minnesota where he plays for Shattuck-St. Mary's.
FARIBAULT, Minn. — Shattuck-St. Mary's junior forward Will Belle has a story unlike many others in the sport of hockey.
Although the 15-year-old has resided in Minnesota for the past few years, Belle actually grew up in China until around age 7.
"When I started playing hockey it was in a public mall in South China in figure skates," said the junior forward.
Will's father was working in China at the time until the family moved to Massachusetts.
"I had a skating coach in Mass, where I lived for a few years, that was a figure skater, and she still had connections here (in Minnesota). When quarantine hit, we were trying to find a place to skate and Minnesota had one rink open and she had ice with another Shattuck alum."
Belle and his family ended up moving to Minnetonka so that he could enroll at Shattuck-St. Mary's for high school, just in time for his freshman year.
At first glance, the 6-foot-2 skater looks like he should be a sophomore with his 2007 birth year, but is actually a junior in high school.
2007 birth years typically wouldn't be eligible to commit to collegiate programs until August of 2023, but Belle skipped the second grade back in China so he has always been a year younger than most of the peers in his grade.
Since the 15-year-old will graduate in the year 2024, Belle recently became the first 2007-born player to commit to a Division-I collegiate program.
On Oct. 25, the power forward announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame.
"The main reason was balance between student life, school and hockey," said Belle on his decision. "Along with being a top-tier program they offer basically an Ivy League education."
Notre Dame receives a commitment from a big power forward, as Belle stands at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds at only 15-years-old.
Not only is the forward skilled in his play out on the ice, netting 63 points in 43 games last season for Shattuck, he's also the most accomplished one on his team in the weight room.
This spring, Belle shattered weightlifting records for his age group at SSM.
Belle broke fitness testing records for bench press, hex bar deadlift, safety bar one leg squat, pullups, and vertical jump. Scouts and coaches have noted his strength out on the ice and his ability to out-muscle opponents.
The 15-year-old had a busy offseason this summer competing in the USA Select-15's camp in Buffalo, New York.
In his final two years of high school, Belle hopes to compete for another national championship with Shattuck-St. Mary's, and has hopes of making the National Team Development Program, which will invite players to their tryout camp in the spring.