HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Ethen Frank leads the team in goals scored, was named an AHL All-Star and earned a two-way contract with the Washington Capitals in just his first full season with the Hershey Bears.

It’s a stunning rise in professional hockey for a player who just 11 months ago was an undrafted free agent coming out of Western Michigan.

Frank was scouted by Capitals Director of Player Recruitment Danny Brooks and signed to a AHL contract in April 2022.

In 47 games played this season with the Hershey Bears, Frank is third on the Bears in points with 41, first in goals with 24.

Frank is fourth among all AHL rookies with 41 points through 47 games. His 24 goals are tied for league lead among rookies with Iowa Wild’s Sammy Walker (who has played 50 games so far).

On March 2, the Capitals locked Frank up for 2023-24 season on a two-way contract.

“We signed him as a college free agent, looking to see how we could develop him or how he would play in the American [Hockey] League,” said Capitals GM Brian MacLellan. “Obviously, he’s had a great year scoring goals, an All-Star. It was a no brainer to sign him to an NHL deal and then go from there for next year.”

Western Michigan Career

Frank played at Western Michigan from 2017-22 across five seasons. In 158 games played, he scored 70 goals and 48 assists.

Before attending Western Michigan, Frank played two full seasons in the USHL for the Lincoln Stars. There he scored 28 goals and 34 assists in 106 games.

Early years in Nebraska

Frank was born in Denver, Colorado and his family moved to Nebraska. Frank’s father owned two roller skating rinks, where the Bears rookie was introduced to skating and roller hockey.

Frank says around age 9 or 10 a friend convinced him to try ice hockey.

The Hershey Bears 2022-23 regular season continues through the final home game on April 15 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.