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Raabe takes the fast lane to scholarship with Wolverines

 

dakota_raabe

Dakota Raabe has put in a lot of work on his wheels in junior, so it’s fitting the next stage of his hockey career is going to take him near the Motor City.

The Capistrano Beach native, a standout on the Wenatchee Wild of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) committed to the University of Michigan (Big Ten) in early November.

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“They’ve been watching me since I played 16U in California and they saw me in the BCHL Showcase,” Raabe said. “I went on a visit and fell in love with the campus. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Michigan campus is located in Ann Arbor, roughly 40 miles west of Detroit.

Raabe (a 1997 birth year) played in California through his second Midget 16U season with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Prior to that, he spent a year with the California Wave and his earlier years with the LA Selects.

“It was nice being able to live at home and to be able to play good hockey,” he said. “Overall, I had really good coaching.”

He cited Selects coaches Jeff Turcotte and Rick Kelly, Wave coach Mike Lewis and former Jr. Kings coach Louis Pacella with preparing well him for juniors.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Raabe’s calling card is his speed, and he uses it in a variety of ways.

“I want to play fast and use it as much as possible,” he said. “On the forecheck, disrupting things as much as possible, that’s my game.”

He has progressed steadily during his three years at Wenatchee, going from 21 points in 39 games in 2014-15 to 40 in 57 games last season. Just 18 games into the 2016-17 season, he’d already racked up 20 points as the Wild moved to the top of their division.

“Being on the ice every day has helped me so much,” Raabe said. “My shot has gotten harder and I’ve gotten faster. I’d say my hockey IQ has improved as well because I’m learning how to play the game at a faster level.”

He hasn’t had to look far to see familiar faces – he’s one of 10 players with ties to California on the Wild.

“Ever since Troy Loggins and Nicky Rivera went up there, we’ve had a lot,” he said. “It’s been a good place to play.”

That and his California experiences helped him gear up for his next destination.

— Chris Bayee