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Prized North Dakota d-man Stecher goes pro, signs with Canucks

2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Keaton Thompson #4,Gage Ausmus #20,Christian Wolanin #24,Paul LaDue #6 and Troy Stecher #2 of the North Dakota Fighting Hawks pose with the championship trophy after the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Troy Stecher, the University of North Dakota junior that helped the Fighting Hawks capture this year’s NCAA title, has opted to forgo his senior year and turn pro by signing with the Vancouver Canucks.

Stecher, 22, was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament team following UND’s 5-1 win over Quinnipiac in the championship finale. That award came on the heels of a highly successful regular season, in which Stecher finished sixth among NCAA d-men in scoring, with 29 points in 43 games.

Stecher, who went undrafted largely because of his diminutive (5-foot-10, 190-pound) frame, was listed as one of USA Today’s NCAA’s top potential free agents last March, at the end of his sophomore campaign.

He opted to return to school for one more year, and the move looks to have paid off.

In addition to capturing the Frozen Four, Stecher also drew interest from the Canucks, his hometown team. A Richmond, B.C. native, he spent three years playing for BCHL Penticton before moving to North Dakota.