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Player Spotlight: Mason Peapenburg and Talan Blanck, NCAA D-1 Commits

By Matt Carey, Contributor, 02/14/24, 7:45AM CST

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Photo by Heidi Christopher

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Matt Carey and do not reflect the opinions of Wisconsin Prep Hockey or its partners.

It’s the dream of many high school players to receive an offer from an NCAA D-1 team. For two WIAA players that dream became a reality. Former Notre Dame Academy defenseman Mason Peapenburg recently committed to play for the Wisconsin Badgers, and former St. Mary’s Springs forward Talan Blanck committed to play for University of Alaska.

Mason Peapenburg and Talan Blanck were both exceptional high school players. Peapenburg was one of the leaders of the undefeated 2023 WIAA D-1 state championship Notre Dame team. Talan Blanck was a dynamic forward that helped St. Mary’s Springs advance to the 2022 WIAA D-2 state championship game.

The junior scouts took notice of their talents. Following his sophomore season, Peapenburg was drafted in the USHL by Des Moines. During the fall of his junior year, Blanck was tendered by the Chippewa Steel. They are both currently in 12th grade and play for Chippewa Steel in the NAHL.

“Mason’s growth as a player has been on a steady climb over the past two years. He is a long, rangy defenseman that is mobile and plays a tight gap, line stop game. Where his game has really progressed is the transitional component. Mason has big upside ahead. I am very proud of the success he has earned through his hard work. His commitment to Wisconsin is a testament to where his path has led him. Mason and I have a good relationship, and I am very happy for him as a person and as a player.” Cory McCracken, former head coach, Notre Dame.

“Talan is a special hockey player. He has a cannon for a shot, a superior hockey IQ, top-notch play making ability, and elite speed. Add those four ingredients to a compete level that is off the charts and a motor that is always running in high gear, and you have a hockey player that can make every player on the ice better. The ceiling is very high for Talan.” John Welsch, former head coach, St. Mary’s Springs.

“Mason is a great addition to the team. He has great length and skates well for a big guy and is poised with the puck and has a high hockey IQ. Mason’s commitment to Wisconsin Badgers is huge for him but also for us as a Wisconsin junior team. Talan has a great work ethic and a very good stick which allows for turnovers & offensive chances for him and his linemates. Talan’s time in the USHL with Sioux City allowed him to see a higher pace and that improved his game. Mason and Talan are outstanding people off ice also. It is a pleasure to coach them.” Chris Ratzloff, head coach, Chippewa Steel NAHL.

“I am not surprised the Badgers are interested in Mason. The first thing I noticed about Mason was how patient and poised he is with the puck. Very coachable and unselfish. Tall and lean with big upside. He has been well coached in youth & HS and does all the little things well. Mason knew when to turn it on and when to conserve, and he knew when he had to play with an edge.” Cal Roadhouse, head coach, Team Wisconsin HP-18.

“We had Talan on a line with Sam Kappell and Carsen Gause. They were very effective in all the zones. Talan’s speed, shot and vision stood out against elite teams, so we weren’t surprised when he committed NCAA D1 to Alaska.” Cal Roadhouse, head coach, Team Wisconsin HP-18.

Let’s meet Mason Peapenburg and Talan Blanck!

When did you start playing hockey? Mason: 4 years old Talan: 4 years old

Where did you play youth hockey? Mason: Oshkosh through squirts and then Jr. Gamblers and Jr. Admirals. As a sophomore I started playing for Notre Dame and Team Wisconsin.

Talan: Fond du Lac until second year pee wee, then Jr. Gamblers, and then played Team WI and HS (at St. Mary’s Springs).

What is your favorite high school hockey memory? Mason: Definitely winning state last year (2023 D-1 WIAA Notre Dame). The brotherhood and team culture were unreal. The bond our team had was special.

Talan: Winning sectional final my sophomore year.

Did anyone in your family play hockey? Mason: No.

Talan: Both my brothers and cousins.

You played together on Team Wisconsin HP-18 at the NIT…how was that experience? Mason: It was awesome! Great playing with guys from all over the state and meeting new teammates.

Talan: It was awesome! It was a great experience.

What was the process to get on the Chippewa Steel roster…drafted, tryout, etc.? Mason: I was not drafted. I joined the team in November. Steel contacted me and I accepted an opportunity because it was the best option for playing time, development and close to my family.

Talan: Playing in Elite League for Team Wisconsin opened the door to the Steel. Steel tendered me in November my junior year of HS.

What are some differences between HS and NAHL? Mason: The speed of the game, I need to know my landmarks and have my head on a swivel.

Talan: The speed. Everything happens faster, the players are bigger, and it is more physical.

Congratulations on your college commitment. What about Wisconsin and Alaska stood out? Mason: Thank you! The atmosphere of Madison and the Kohl Center, the coaching staff, and it has been my dream school…I have always been a Badger fan.

Talan: Thank you! I had a relationship with the coaching staff. The Alaska assistant coach was the Steel coach, so I knew him.

When do you plan to start playing for Badgers and Nanooks? Mason: Finish this season, then play two years in Des Moines (USHL) and join the Badgers in 2026/27.

Talan: I will play one more season of juniors then go to Alaska.

What does your typical day look like? Mason: We lift in the morning, practice, then go to Eau Claire for body recovery. I do schoolwork the rest of the day.

Talan: Lift in the morning, hockey mid-morning to lunch, and school in the afternoon.

Where do you attend high school while playing juniors? Mason: It is all online and I take 5 classes.

Talan: Online through St. Mary’s Springs, so I will go through graduation ceremony at St. Mary’s Springs. I went to St. Mary’s Springs starting in pre-school.

Is there an NHL player you model your game after? Mason: Alex Pietrangelo of Vegas Golden Knights. He plays the game simple but effective.

Talan: Mitchell Marner of Toronto Maple Leafs.

What do you enjoy doing in addition to sports? Mason: Golf. Hanging out with friends. In summer jet skiing.

Talan: I like hunting and fishing. I also like to play golf.

What is your favorite food? Mason: Steak at the Black Otter Supper Club. Talan: Steak.

What is your favorite music group and type of music? Mason: Country. Rod Wave.

Talan: Country. Dylan Scott

Where is your dream vacation? Mason: Turks & Caicos Islands. Talan: Hawaii.

Chocolate cake, brownie, or apple pie? Mason: Brownie. Talan: Chocolate cake.

Pickup truck or sports car? Mason: sports car. Ferrari. Talan: pickup truck. GMC Sierra.

Who is the most influential person in your life? Mason: Dad. He is always there for me. He has played a crucial role in my life.

Talan: My Dad. He gives good advice.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you want to meet? Mason: Jesus. Talan: Wayne Gretzky.

Final thoughts to share with players that want to play after high school? Mason: Put in the work every day. Pain is temporary, regret is forever.

Talan: When things don’t go your way or you get cut from a team, keep moving forward and don’t let the setback define you.

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