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Luke Gramer of the Bobcats led all NAHL defenseman in points in being named to the All-NAHL Rookie Team.

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It didn’t take Luke Gramer long to prove he had game.

Freshly out of Moorhead High, Gramer quickly found himself as a key member of the Bismarck Bobcats defensive corps early in the season before ascending to the top-line pairing. The Northern Michigan commit came to town with confidence and quickly proved he belonged.

“Coming into the season I had some pretty high expectations for myself and I knew the team would be pretty good,” he said. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy to get into the lineup, but that was my goal, to play and help our team win.”

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Gramer has not only played, he’s excelled. He was one of only six players named to the All-NAHL Rookie First Team. In 41 regular season games, Gramer ranked first in the NAHL among defenseman in points per game at 0.76. He scored seven goals and added 24 assists. He has maintained that pace in the Bobcats’ run to the Central Division finals. In five posteason games, the 5-foot-10, 181-pounder has two goals and two assists.

Gramer, a strong skater with good hockey sense and puck poise, is a true rink rat. His dad Rob Gramer, who played one season at the University of North Dakota, would build an outdoor rink in their backyard as far back as Luke can remember.

“Every year from when I was 2 or 3 years old he would build that rink and my buddies and brothers would play pick-up hockey,” Luke said.

Coming up through the successful Moorhead programs also was key to his development.

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“In Moorhead we’re very fortunate to have a lot of great hockey people in our association,” he said. “Coming from that program certainly helped in the transition to juniors. It was still a big jump but that atmosphere (in Moorhead) really helped prepare for making the next step.”

Gramer has more steps to come, where the next one will be remains to be seen. He was drafted in the second round by the Fargo Force in the USHL Draft Phase II. He plans to play one more season of juniors before heading to play D-I hockey at Northern Michigan. He committed to the Wildcats as a junior in high school.

This season, Gramer has lived with Brad and Nicole Feldman with teammate Ben Troumbly, a St. Cloud State commit. Ice time with the Bobcats has been earned this season with the team rostering nearly 20 D-I commits.

“It’s unbelievable every day in practice you have so many Division I committed players on the ice you definitely have to earn your way onto the ice,” he said. “It’s been a great experience for me personally. I feel like I’ve grown as a player and a big part of that is my teammates and the coaches also do a great job pushing us.”

The Bobcats will need to summon all that talent if they hope to keep their season alive.

After sweeping the Minnesota Wildnerness in the first round of the playoffs, the Bobcats are one loss away from having their season end. The Aberdeen Wings will be in town Friday night for Game 3 of their series. The Wings, who led the NAHL in wins and points by a wide margin during the regular season, took a 2-0 series last weekend in South Dakota, winning 5-3 and 4-1 Saturday.

“Aberdeen’s been a really tough team all year, but I thought we put up a pretty good fight against them last weekend,” Gramer said. “All we can do is come out Friday with a really strong effort in Game 3. We definitely have belief as a team we can do it. We just have to come out and play our best game for 60 minutes.”

This article originally ran on bismarcktribune.com.

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