Brendan Budy first tried college hockey last fall as one of the youngest players in the country, just a couple of months removed from his 18th birthday.
It didn't work out. He was in-and-out of the lineup at Denver, playing just six games in the first semester. At Christmastime, he decided to go back to junior hockey and develop in the United States Hockey League.
When Budy gives college hockey a second shot, he will be a 20-year-old veteran -- and just the type of player UND wants to infuse into its lineup.
Budy gave a verbal commitment to UND on Wednesday, one day before his 19th birthday.
The 5-foot-10, 179-pound centerman from Langley, B.C., will play next season with the Tri-City Storm in the USHL, then join UND in the fall of 2020 with three years of college eligibility remaining.
Budy is a skilled, playmaking forward who lit up the USHL during the second half of the season for 31 points in 31 games. That drew several recruiters his way. He chose UND over Penn State and St. Cloud State.
"Obviously, their rink is unbelievable," said Budy, who made a visit to campus in late May. "They have really good facilities. The coaches seemed like awesome people. They were super nice and honest with me. I just loved the coaches and everything about the campus."
UND has been trying to get a little bit older and will do that with its forward class in 2020. Budy will come in along with proven USHL 1999-born forwards Riese Gaber and Griffin Ness.
"I came in pretty young as a true freshman," Budy said. "I just felt I could go back to juniors and develop my game a little more, so I would be a better player when I went back to college.
"I already played a couple games at Denver, so I know what the speed is like in the NCHC. Getting older, bigger and stronger, I should be able to come in and play my game at the same level."
Budy is an outside candidate to get picked in the upcoming NHL Draft, which is set for June 21-22 in Vancouver. He went undrafted last year -- his first year of draft eligibility -- but is still eligible to be picked this summer.
When he arrives at UND, Budy will re-join his Tri-City teammate, Shane Pinto. Budy and Pinto sometimes played on the same line with the Storm and on the same power-play unit.
UND's committed players
Westin Michaud, Colorado College (NCHC), '95 (CC transfer, eligible for one year, 2019-20)
Carson Albrecht, Melfort (SJHL), '98 (expected arrival: 2019)
Shane Pinto, Tri-City (USHL), '00 (expected arrival: 2019)
Brendan Budy, Tri-City (USHL), '00 (DU transfer, three years of eligibility left)
Harrison Blaisdell, Chilliwack (BCHL), '01 (expected arrival: 2019)
Judd Caulfield, U.S. Under-18 Team, '01 (expected arrival: 2019)
Ethan Frisch, Fargo (USHL), '00 (expected arrival: 2019)