BISMARCK, N.D.–North Dakotans may not like Ian Engel’s favorite football team, but there is a good chance they will like the big defenseman next year. The Bismarck Bobcats have signed defenseman Ian Engel to a tender for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Engel grew up in Hortonville, Wisconsin, about 40 miles away from the hometown Green Bay Packers. Even with football and baseball being more popular sports, both of which Engel played up until high school, ultimately pursuing hockey was an easy choice.
“I had to make the decision to pick one,” Engel said. “Obviously, hockey was my one, and I am pretty happy I did it.”
Engel, a 6-foot-tall. However, he is not only focused on the defensive side of the puck. Engel leads his high school team in scoring with 15 points (5-10–15) in six games.
“I would describe myself as a three-zone defenseman,” Engel said. “I can do whatever coach needs me to do to help the boys win.”
The Bobcats’ head scout Niko Kapetanovic saw exactly that while watching him play for Team Wisconsin in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, where Engel led all defenseman in assists and points.
“His game has really come along,” Kapetanovic said. “He plays with a bit of an edge back there.”
Kapetanovic added that he sees the 17-year-old as someone with potential to quarterback a power play.
As a Bobcat tender, if Engel elects to play in the North American Hockey League next season, he would come to Bismarck. The Bobcats are looking forward to having him in the capital.