Photo by Rena Laverty
From Minnesota to Michigan, forward Charlie Stramel’s path to the NTDP has been beyond unique. At just the young age of 15 years old, he packed up everything for Plymouth to begin his junior hockey career.
With only one season left in the program he always hoped to play for, Stramel has his sights set on achieving all his goals both on the ice and in the classroom.
“Obviously being offered the opportunity to play for the NTDP was an unreal moment and a dream come true for me,” said Stramel. “I will be graduating early, which was the goal, and a lot of that is thanks to everything the program has to offer. I’ve been taking extra classes and Lisa Vollmers has been a huge help along the way for me to make this possible.”
When thinking about his future and all the new challenges that will come with it, Stramel is forever grateful to the NTDP for all it has taught him. The program has given him the tools he’ll need to easily balance hockey and his studies as well as his social life.
“I’ve really had to juggle a lot while playing in the program which has helped me prepare for what I’ll have to balance during my college career.”
The extraordinary opportunities this program has offered to Stramel has not only opened his eyes but has also reassured the confidence he has in himself for everything he is capable of down the road.
“Everyone at the NTDP treats you like a pro and that’s one of the things I love about it. It just proves that anyone that comes through this program has a real shot at success afterwards.”
Between all that is on his plate, he still remains entirely focused on the goals set for himself.
Just like all of us, Stramel seeks to find support and motivation from those around him to help stay focused, in addition to leaning on his appreciation and respect for the game.
“Just skating every day and being surrounded by great people. My teammates and coaches continue to push me and keep me dialed in,” stated Stramel. “I think it stems from my love for the game and the passion I have for it.”
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Although he may hail from Minnesota, Stramel will join the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the Fall of 2022. With the same feeling of brotherhood as the NTDP, he is more excited for his journey to Wisconsin than words can express.
Beyond the culture that the Badgers' program can provide, for Stramel, it was the closeness to his family that really sealed the deal.
“It’s such an incredible feeling knowing my family is only 3 or 4 hours away and can come watch all my games, it's amazing. The culture there is similar to the one here. It’s just a blessing and I am really looking forward to it.”
Adding to the new challenges that lie ahead, there is an excitement within Stramel for the transition between his junior and collegiate career and the new level of intensity that will be put on his game.
“I’m looking forward to how the game is played at that level from the change of pace to the skill sets. It’s just better hockey overall as you move to a higher standard of competition. It’s going to be a really good challenge for me.”
Stramel knows that before he moves on to the next phase in his life, there is still much work to do in his farewell season in Plymouth. With under a month before the team’s arrival back to the arena, he has already begun to set his goals for this season.
“It’s been weird not being around the atmosphere of it the past three or so months. I’ve definitely been missing the boys and our coaches a ton. I just can’t wait to get back to the rink and back to work. Hopefully we can make a run at the end of the year and finish off my career at the NTDP strong.”
Photo by Rena Laverty