Norsemen forward Nik Hong commits to play for Dartmouth
19-year-old from Minneapolis is third on the team in points (49) and second in plus/minus (plus-21)
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Three of the top four scorers for the St. Cloud Norsemen had all previously committed to an NCAA Division I men's hockey school. Now the fourth has verbally committed.
Nik Hong, a 19-year-old forward from Minneapolis, has announced that he has verbally committed to play for Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school in Hanover, N.H.
"Education is very important to me. Having the opportunity to go to a world-class school while also being able to play high level Division I hockey made Dartmouth a no brainer for me,” Hong said in a news release. “I really liked the coaching staff. They have a clear vision for the future and I’m looking forward to being a part of that."
Dartmouth was 7-22-3 overall and finished tied for last in the ECAC under head coach Reid Cashman this season. It was the second season that Cashman has coached at Dartmouth after spending two seasons as an assistant coach of the NHL's Washington Capitals (2018-20), two seasons as an assistant coach for the AHL's Hershey Bears (2016-18) and five seasons as an assistant coach at Quinnipiac (2011-16).
Hong has shown vast improvement since his rookie season with the Norsemen. In 2020-21, Hong had 10 goals, 17 points, 69 penalty minutes and was a minus-16 in 56 games.
This season among the Norsemen, Hong is third in assists (32) and points (49) and he is second in plus/minus (plus-21). He has seven game-winning goals, three power-play goals, three short-handed goals and 64 penalty minutes in 51 games.
The other top top St. Cloud scorers who have verbally committed to Division I programs are forwards Ryan O'Neill (Roseville, University of St. Thomas, 74 points) , Blake Mesenburg (Orono, Miami University, 59 points) and Blake Perbix (Princeton, Northern Michigan, 48 points) .
Other Norsemen who have committed to Division I programs include defenseman Evan Murr (Stillwater, Minnesota State University-Mankato) , forward Brandon Lajoie (Eagle River, Alaska; Alaska-Anchorage), defenseman John Opilka (Effingham, Ill,; St. Cloud State) and forward Max Strand (Roseau, Vermont) .
The Norsemen (37-16-2-1) play the Minot Minotauros (28-25-2-1) at 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Minot. St. Cloud has clinched the Central Division title.