By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
Ben Tarlton is perfectly fine with being a pioneer. He’ll be moving south on the Mississippi River to help build the foundations of a new NCAA Division III program at the University of Dubuque, being part of their inaugural team in 2023-24.
“I think it would be awesome to be able to make history and play a part for the school’s first NCAA hockey program. Plus they share an awesome facility with the Dubuque Saints (USHL). It’s arguably the best Division III rink in the nation,” said Tarlton, a defenseman this past season for the Hudson Havoc. “I started talking with Coach Seamus [Gregory] at the beginning of May. He said what he liked about my game was being a strong defender and that I take care of my zone first.”
Tarlton, an ‘02-born native of St. Paul, Minn., could practically float down to his new college home along America’s first Midwestern highway, the mighty Mississippi River.
“The University of Dubuque has a beautiful campus on the Mississippi with a good town population. It’s a smaller campus with smaller class sizes, so I can have a personal connection with my professors. It’s also not too far from my home in St.Paul,” added Tarlton, who will pursue a major in either Business or Business Marketing.
This past season was Tarlton’s sole campaign with Hudson and in the USPHL Premier, but he came in with three seasons of Tier III experience and was also a go-to defenseman for all four years at his home Woodbury (Minn.) High School. Even with that experience, Hudson made a huge impression on him as the perfect place to close out his junior career.
“The Havoc are a great organization! Growing up in the Twin Cities, it’s close to home and has a competitive conference. The coaches and staff are amazing. Having an ex-NHL player, Dean Talafous, as a head coach was amazing,” said Tarlton. “We were always learning something from him and he was always pushing us to be the best player and person we could possibly be. He was always trying to develop us so we can compete at the NCAA level.
“The coaches, Dean Talafous and Marty Dyke, played a big role helping me improve my game. [They] helped me try to be more consistent and show up to work everyday and get the best results everyday,” Tarlton added, about the Havoc’s defenseman development model.”
In addition to a 3-5-8 scoring line in 38 regular season games, Tarlton put up two more points in seven postseason games, including a trip to the USPHL Nationals. He’ll bring his 6-foot, 183-pound frame and defense-first mindset to Dubuque with every intention of becoming a lineup regular and helping them make a big impression in Year 1 in the ever-competitive Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.
“I’ll be working on trying to take care of the defensive zone first and moving the puck up the ice as much and fast as possible,” added Tarlton.
The USPHL congratulates Ben Tarlton, his family, the Hudson Havoc and the University of Dubuque for his commitment.