BISMARCK, N.D. — Six seasons ago, Dallas’ Solag Bakich roamed the halls, and the ice, of the VFW Sports Center as a Bobcat. Now a solid contributor with the University of Notre Dame, many aspiring hockey players in the Metroplex look up to him. Sam Blanton is one of them.
The Bobcats have signed the 17-year-old forward from Carrollton, Texas to a tender for the 2022-23 season.
“There was nothing I did not like (about Bismarck),” Blanton said. “It was pretty much the perfect opportunity, and I for sure could not pass it up.”
Blanton is currently playing in the Dallas Stars Elite program, and was the team’s leading scorer (16-18–34 in 20 games) last year. He is set to become the first Texan turned Bobcat in five seasons, when Joey Sardina and Nick Alexander competed in 2016-17.
“He is a proven goal scorer who plays with an insane amount of confidence and swagger,” head scout Niko Kapetanovic, who recruited Blanton to the Bobcats, said. “He is a threat every shift to score.”
Blanton’s hockey background spans his entire life, from his father passing on Dallas Stars fandom to billeting Wyatte Wylie six years ago, now a defenseman for the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“We are getting more and more rinks every year,” Blanton said. “The Stars do a great job of implementing new programs to get young kids involved.”
Blanton signed his tender on the first day of eligibility, November 1 of this year. If Blanton opts to go to the North American Hockey League next season, he will travel north to Bismarck.