Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



SCSU's Zach Okabe tells a good airport story, a good hockey camp story, discusses his college career

Senior forward from Okotoks, Alberta, talks about all this and more on the Huskies Hockey Insider podcast with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten.

SCSU vs Western Michigan_0383.jpg
St. Cloud State forward Zach Okabe (14) carries the puck against Western Michigan in the first period Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Zach Okabe is the reigning NCHC Forward of the Week after scoring a natural hat trick in a 6-3 win over North Dakota on Saturday. Okabe has already matched his career-best goal total for a season (11) and is third on the team in points (18) through 16 games.

Okabe, a senior from Okotoks, Alberta, discusses his development as a player through college. He also talks about the close relationships he has made with the team, his friendship with Jami Krannila, how he has gained strength, his family ties to the university and more on this episode of the Huskies Hockey Insider podcast with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten.

Listen or watch:


:25 Being named NCHC Forward of the Week

:50 The poor start of the game he ended up getting a hat trick in, controlling his frustration level, a slow start to his freshman season


5:04 Coming to SCSU after second season in the AJHL, being on a line with Jami Krannila and Chase Brand as a freshman

6:45 Getting to know Krannila as a freshman, becoming friends when Mike Gibbons picked them up from the airport, how one of them was nearly forgotten

8:40 The outgoing personality of Krannila, his sense of humor

10:00 Being on the International Exchange Line with Krannila and Veeti Miettinen , Miettinen's calm personality, playing against top lines this season

13:25 How he spent last summer, got prepared for his senior season, working at Spencer Meier 's hockey camp, Central Minnesota Development Program camp, what he gets out of working at camps, dropping an expletive during camp

18:15 Areas of improvement for him in his college career

20:30 Why his physical play has increased, his strength in board battles, a big hit against North Dakota on Saturday

23:50 The bond betwee the four Huskies from Alberta: Okabe, Kyler Kupka , Dylan Anhorn and Ethan AuCoin ; possibly meeting at the Calgary Stampede this summer


25:30 The impact of Anhorn since transferring

26:10 How he ended up not going to major junior hockey (WHL draft pick) and ended up playing college hockey

28:15 His dad played club hockey for SCSU and graduated from the university, his sweatshirt and a jersey from when he was growing up that hangs in his room

29:00 Originally committed to Vermont, de-committing, his parents' excitement when he was being recruited by SCSU

31:20 What has surprised him about his college experience

32:20 Finishing his economics degree

Graduate student defenseman passes Easton Brodzinski in games played. Senior moves up on several program lists
The teams split a nonconference series during the regular season, will meet with the season on the line on Saturday
Thursday's sellout crowd of 5,061 was the third-largest Day 1 attendance in five regionals held at Scheels Arena and the largest since 2017.
The Huskies have won four-straight games and are now a win away from a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Huskies get goals from Miettinen, Peart, Okabe, Cruikshank, kill three power plays to advance.
Sixth-seeded Huskies play 11th-seeded Mavericks in the region semifinals
Huskies will play the Mavericks for the third time this season and for the sixth time in three seasons.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
What to read next
The junior winger became the Fighting Hawks' first 20-goal scorer since 2016-17 this season.
Brett Larson shed some tears when he was asked about Jaxon Castor's playoff performance in championship game. Huskies' big players come up big in title game. Tigers come up short, but gain experience
Huskies beat Tigers 3-0 in the championship game to give SCSU its second NCHC playoff title
Tigers and Huskies play for the conference playoff title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament at 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Get Local