A Top Tier Division I Hockey Player
It didn’t take long for Hank Crone to realize what he wanted to do with his life.
“I started playing hockey when I was 3 and I enjoyed it because it was different and no one really played hockey in Texas,” the former Cedar Hill resident recalled. “When I got older, I loved the speed and skill required to be good at it.”
He was – and still is – quite good at the sport. In fact, he was recently nominated for the 2021-22 Hobey Baker Award honoring top hockey player at the NCAA Division I level after 13 goals with 31 assists in 32 games for the University of Northern Michigan.
“Being nominated for the Hobey was special and it proved that I was a top tier player in Division I college hockey. I was very proud to be recognized in that conversation,” he said.
While high school hockey has had its peak moments in Texas, even including a state championship tournament, Crone’s skills far exceeded those of most all high school players in the state. So, he joined the Triple-A level and played for the Dallas Stars Elite hockey club. That led to him being scouted by the United States Hockey League, considered by most to be the top tier of junior league hockey, and leaving home at age 16 to play for the Omaha (Neb.) Lancers.
From Texas to Nebraska
Crone made an immediate impact in Omaha, helping the team to a record of 34 wins, 17 losses, 0 ties and nine overtime losses. He scored two goals and had nine assists.
He started the next season with Omaha, scoring two goals with two assists in a dozen games before moving to the Fargo Force. In 50 games there he registered 15 goals and 22 assists, helping the team to a record of 32-26-0-2.
He has since played two more seasons with Fargo. In 2016-17 he scored 24 goals and delivered 38 assists for a 36-19-0-5 squad, and in 2018-19 he scored 19 goals with 46 assists in helping them to a 34-23-0-5 record. Those are also his only two playoff seasons, having played five games and registering two assists.
His college career began at Boston University in 2017-18. He helped them to a 22-14-4 record by putting up two goals and 10 assists.
He transferred to the University of Denver and helped the team to a 21-9-6 record in 2019-20, scoring six goals with 10 assists. The next season he scored five goals and had four assists as the team went 10-13-1.
He graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in communications and a minor in marketing.
With one year of hockey eligibility left, he moved to Northern Michigan, where his team was 20-16-1 in the season just finished.
“I’ve played at three prestigious hockey schools. The reason for transferring was coaching changes and being able to graduate early at another,” he said.
In all, Crone has played in 333 games at the junior and college level combined. He has 88 goals and 172 assists.
Hey NHL, Crone Is Waiting On Your Call
Now, he awaits his next move. Hopefully, the National Hockey League will come calling. The closest he’s come was attending a development camp with the Nashville Predators a few summers ago.
“Playing overseas is another pro option that could very well happen,” he said, offering some advice for other young hopefuls with similar dreams.
“You have to love the game enough to sacrifice different parts of your life to succeed in it,” he said. “It is only worth it if you’re still having fun and enjoying it.”