Lawrence's King, Frank ink pro hockey deals with French teams

APPLETON, Wis. -- Lawrence University standouts Lane King and Austin Frank will continue their hockey careers in France.

Both players have signed professional contracts to play in France's Division 1, which is the top league in the country. King has inked a deal with HC Neuilly-sur-Marne and Frank has signed with HC Mont-Blanc.

"As the head coach, it is always great to see players earn opportunities after their playing days at Lawrence," Vikings coach Mike Szkodzinski said. "It just goes to show how great the talent in the NCHA is right now. It is one of the toughest leagues in the country, and we will continue to move players to the professional level in years to come."

King and Frank are the 12th and 13th players to sign pro contracts, and all have come during Szkodzinski's 12-year tenure.

A Waunakee, Wisconsin, native, King capped a stellar 2017-18 season by being named to the CCM Hockey/American Hockey Coaches Association All-America team. The forward was the first Lawrence player to earn All-America honors. An All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association selection, King piled up 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points this season, and he led the NCHA at 1.37 points per game. King, the first Lawrence player to lead the NCHA in scoring, ranked 22nd in the nation in points per game. He was 34th in the nation at 0.78 assists per game and 36th at 0.59 goals per game.

"Lane grew both on and off the ice each year he was in our program," Szkodzinski said. "Becoming the program's first All-American speaks for itself, but his growth away from the rink is something that will serve him well beyond his playing years. We couldn't be more proud of Lane and the opportunity that lies ahead."

King was very effective on the power play and picked up 43 percent of his points during the season on the man-advantage. King had eight power-play goals to go with eight assists for 16 points. King was eighth in the country and led the NCHA at 0.30 power-play goals per game. He also led the NCHA at 0.59 power-play points per game.

"I'm blessed to get to further my hockey career at the professional level," King said. "I wouldn't have had this opportunity without my teammates, coach Mike, and the rest of the coaching staff. I'm grateful for the opportunity."

King had one of the finest offensive seasons in Lawrence history as his 37 points is second on the season list. The 21 assists ranks third, and the 16 goals is sixth on the Lawrence season list. King finished his Lawrence career with 24 goals and 48 assists for 72 points. King, who played his freshman season at Finlandia University, had 30 goals and 51 assists for 81 points for his collegiate career.

Frank, a defenseman and Lawrence's captain, was a key contributor for the Vikings during all four seasons.

"As a captain, Austin was a strong, strong leader, one of the best we have had over the past 12 years," Szkodzinski said. "Both his teammates and coaches always knew that Austin would give his best, most honest effort. His on-ice play from an offensive standpoint was his biggest area of growth over the past four years, and we are confident he will continue to grow with his new team."

A DeForest, Wisconsin, native, Frank collected career highs with 18 assists and 19 points this past season. Frank, an incredibly durable player who appeared in 105 games for the Vikings, finished his career with eight goals and 36 assists for 44 points.

"I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity," Frank said. "I'm lucky to have it and plan to make the most of it. It will be exciting for me to continue my personal growth on and off the ice. Coach Szkodzinski and the Lawrence hockey program have more than prepared me to attack new challenges head on and I'm looking forward to doing just that this coming season."

Frank, who was named the all-tournament team at the prestigious PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut this past season, picked up a career-high three assists in a game and had five multi-point games in 2017-18.

Lawrence finished its 2017-18 season with a 10-15-2 record, qualified for the NCHA playoffs, knocked off a pair of ranked opponents and topped traditional college hockey powers Middlebury College and UW-River Falls.

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