One of the lone bright spots on a dreadful season for Wisconsin Badgers menâ€™s hockey was the play of forward Joseph LaBate. The senior was a leader on and off the ice and that leadership, along with his overall play has paid off.
According to a release from the Badgers athletic department, LaBate has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL. The contract came on the heels of LaBate playing just two games under a Professional Tryout contract with the Utica Comets of the AHL.
The Comets are the AHL affilate of the Vancouver Canucks, who drafted Joseph LaBate in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL entry draft.
He made his professional debut on April 11, as Utica lost to Binghamton in a shootout. He suited up for the Cometsâ€™ next game, too, this time helping his team to a 2-1 victory over Syracuse.
LaBate finished his UW career with 150 games played, missing just one contest his sophomore season. He accumulated 31 goals, 52 assists and 83 points during his four seasons, adding in 10 power-play tallies and five game-winning scores. He also took 62 penalty for 143 minutes and fired 369 shots.
This past season, LaBate was an associate captain and has 18 points in his final season in the Cardinal and White sweater. He started his career off with 20 points as a freshman and upped his tally to 23 points and then 22 in the middle portion of his career at UW.
Should LaBate make the NHL level and play in a game next season, heâ€™ll be the 78th player (possibly 79th along with Nic Kerdiles) to have played for Wisconsin and make an appearance in the NHL as well.
This past season 18 former Badgers made an appearance in at least one NHL game.