Former Gentry Academy state champion makes college commitment after refining his game in the BCHL
Isaiah Norlin, a Farmington native, was a part of Gentry Academy's undefeated season in 2020-21. After graduating from high school, Norlin followed in the footsteps of his older brother to the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL, where his play and development on the ice has earned him a Division I commitment to Clarkson.
WEST KELOWNA, British Columbia — Farmington native Isaiah Norlin accomplished something that all young Minnesotan hockey players dream of — winning the state tournament.
Not only did his Gentry Academy team win the Class A state championship in 2020-21, he and his teammates went a perfect 19-0 that season.
"All my years there were pretty special," said Norlin on his time with the Stars. "I think I was on the first ever high school team there and we weren't expected to do much as a first year team."
Gentry Academy's undefeated season came during the defenseman's senior year, when he posted 27 points in 19 games for the Stars.
After graduation, Norlin wasn't exactly sure where hockey was going to take him.
"It was the end of summer, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do yet. One day I just got a call, and [the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL] wanted me to come play there, so I signed."
Many Minnesotans will go on to play for American junior hockey leagues such as the USHL, the NAHL or the NA3HL, but the BCHL was a league that Norlin was already familiar with. Isaiah's older brother, Bennett , is currently a senior forward playing Division I hockey at the Air Force Academy. Bennett, 24, also played juniors for West Kelowna.
It's these kinds of familial ties that the 19-year-old defender has long held with the sport of hockey.
"It's kind of in our family. My dad used to play, my brother plays, he plays DI, so I watched him growing up and I think that kind of led me to start playing."
Going from high school to junior hockey is no easy task. Norlin noted that adjusting to the size and speed of the other players was something to get used to in the BCHL. Last season, the 6-foot-4 defender posted 13 points in 38 games for the Warriors. This season the big, two-way defenseman that can lead the rush currently leads his team in assists (12) and has already surpassed last season's total output with 14 points in just 17 games.
"This summer I was training with a lot of good people who definitely helped me ... Having a year of experience and being able to play more with bigger opportunities has been huge for me."
Norlin was casually talking with about 10 or 11 NCAA programs last year, but recruiting started to become more serious this fall. Clarkson University reached out to the defenseman after watching him play in the 2022 BCHL Showcase. The Golden Knights scheduled a Zoom call to chat, gave Norlin a virtual tour and then officially reached out with an offer that he accepted.
"I think the spot is sweet. Obviously they have a great program, a nice school and the coaches seemed like super good guys. It just seemed like the perfect fit for me."
Clarkson is located close to the Canadian border in Potsdam, New York, just under a two-hour drive to Ottawa.
Isaiah is planning on joining the Golden Knights in the fall of 2023, but will still have one more season of junior eligibility left if needed.