Hermantown's Max Plante commits to Minnesota Duluth, joining older brother Zam as a Bulldogs recruit

The Plante family tradition of playing athletic at UMD continues. Zam's and Max's parents, Derek and Kristi, were both standout athletes for the Bulldogs. Derek Plante is also a former UMD hockey coach.

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Hermantown forward Max Plante (26) passes in front of Warroad forward Daimon Gardner (13) during the third period Saturday, March 12, 2022, at the Minnesota Class A State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / File / The Rink Live

DULUTH — Former Minnesota Duluth captain and coach Derek Plante is on his way out of Amsoil Arena again, returning to the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL.

However, he and his wife — former UMD two-sport standout Kristi (Duncan) Plante — now have two sons who will be Bulldogs in the future.

Max Plante, the younger brother of fellow recruit Zam Plante, announced his verbal commitment to UMD on Tuesday morning via social media with a photo of his 5-year-old self decked out in Bulldogs gear, on the ice at Xcel Energy Center in 2011 celebrating the Bulldogs first men’s hockey national championship alongside fellow Hermantown native Kyle Schmidt.

The 2010-11 season was Derek Plante’s first of five as an assistant coach on the staff of Scott Sandelin. Derek Plante, who played four years at UMD from 1989-1993, was the associate head coach at UMD the past two years. He was hired last week by the Blackhawks as an assistant coach after working with the organization as a development coach from 2015-2020.

Max Plante’s commitment to the Bulldogs comes a year after his older brother, Zam, announced his verbal commitment to UMD (Aug. 1 is the first day rising high school juniors can be offered scholarships and commit to a school in hockey). The two helped lead Hermantown High School to a Minnesota Class A state championship in 2021-22, with Max Plante leading the Hawks in scoring as a sophomore via 71 points, totaling 18 goals and a team-high 53 assists in 31 games.


Zam Plante, who missed time due to injury as a junior in 2021-22, was second in scoring with a team-high 24 goals, plus 37 assists for 61 points over 22 games.

Max Plante is the third member of the 2021-22 state championship Hawks to commit to UMD in the past two years. Junior defenseman Ty Hanson — fourth in scoring with 15 goals and 32 assists as a junior last season — committed in August 2021 along with Zam Plante.

After Hawks’ center Zam Plante hurt his shoulder, younger brother Max has stepped into Zam’s shoes and has nine assists in six games since the injury.
Plante led the Hawks in scoring in 2021-22 as a sophomore, helping the program win the Class A state championship.
News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year and UMD recruit Zam Plante headlines the 2022 All-Area Team.
Derek Plante has stepped down as associate head coach of Minnesota Duluth to become an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks. He'll work with three coaches who he played with during his 15-year professional career.
Hermantown's Zam Plante, a future Bulldogs forward and standout scorer for the Hawks, will be joined by his brothers, mother and grandfather at the NHL Draft this week in Montreal. His father, a coach at UMD and NHL draft pick himself, will also be there in person after missing out on the 1989 event in Minnesota.

Max Plante is slated to play for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan, over the next two seasons, starting as a member of the U.S. National Under-17 Team in 2022-23. UMD is bringing in two alumni of the NTDP this fall in 2022 first-round Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Isaac Howard and 2022 Boston Bruins fourth-round pick Cole Spicer.

Zam Plante, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round this summer, has not made a decision whether he will return to Hermantown for his senior season in 2022-23, Derek Plante said Monday. Zam Plante split last season between the Hawks and Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League — totaling 10 goals and 11 assists in the Tier I junior league before a shoulder injury ended his season.

The youngest son of Derek and Kristi — who played basketball (1991-95) and softball (1993-95, 98) at UMD — Victor, is entering his freshman year of high school and second season of bantams. He will be eligible to receive scholarship offers and make an NCAA Division I commitment on Aug. 1, 2024.

Hermantown boys hockey faces Grand Rapids at the IRA Civic Center.
Max Plante (26) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, at IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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