In Play with Tom Markowski

Escanaba's Levi Wunder finds success on the ice despite family's wrestling background

Hockey   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

Escanaba – Levi Wunder is sort of an oddball.

His father, Tim Wunder, was a two-time state champion wrestler at Escanaba. His brother, Scout, is a freshman at Escanaba and he, too, is a wrestler. Scout Wunder was ousted in the individual regional championships last weekend.

Wunder tried wrestling. But that didn’t last long. Instead he gravitated to hockey, the sport he’d been playing since before his third birthday.

“There’s a picture of me with a hockey stick wearing a diaper,” Wunder said. “It’s one of those (diapers) that goes around your waist.”

Looking back, its clear Wunder knew all along what he was doing, diaper or no diaper. Wunder is a senior forward at Escanaba and one of the top candidates for the Warrior Sports Player of the Year award. Wunder is the leader in the on-line voting and if that holds up he will automatically be one of the final four.

Escanaba finished the regular season at 14-10-1 and will host Negaunee on Tuesday in the first game of a Division 2 regional.

The teams split their two meetings during the season.

Wunder is one of the state’s top scorers as he enters the state tournament with 38 goals and 41 assists.

“He’s a scoring threat every time he’s on the ice,” Escanaba coach Matt Hughes said. “Over this season I’ve seen him mature, seen him develop. He’s sees the ice well and he makes the other guys around him better.

“He’s competitive. He’s very fast and you can see the balance in his game just looking at his statistics. That shows maturity. He’s a hard worker and is very passionate about the game.”

Wunder doesn’t play hockey every day but it’s not for a lack of effort. During the season, which begins in late October with preseason practice, it’s easy for Wunder to find ice time. But once the high school season is over he has to drive an hour to Marquette to practice or make the trip to Sault Ste. Marie.

“He does a lot of off-ice training,” Hughes said. “He always wants to better himself. Whatever level he’s playing at he wants to get to the next level.”

Of the 21 players Hughes has, Wunder is the only senior. Wunder said it is a bit odd that none of his classmates play.

“I’m the only one that laces them up,” he said. “We lost some kids to basketball and wrestling. It’s tough but we do have a lot of juniors, nine or 10 on the team, and I’ve played a lot with them.”

Wunder played travel hockey his freshman year in Marquette before deciding to play for his high school. He said he likes the community aspect of play in front of the student body and representing your school.”