OKLAHOMA CITY — William Lawson-Body has seen the Oklahoma Warriors from the ground up. From their inaugural season in Wichita Falls to the move to Oklahoma City, Lawson-Body has been along for the ride and seen every up and down along the way.
However, he quite literally went out on top last week — hoisting the Robertson Cup to cap off an incredible 2022-23 season and his junior hockey career.
“I’ve learned so much and my game has grown so much here,” Lawson-Body told The Rink Live. “Being with an expansion team my first year and being a part of that was interesting, and then just seeing it grow over the last couple years has been great. And then to win the (Robertson Cup) this season was so rewarding.
“The credit goes to so many people around the organization and even though I won’t be here, I know this is just the start.”
Lawson-Body, 21, led the Warriors with 13 playoff points and put together a solid regular season with 16 goals and 48 points. More importantly, he was the heart and soul of the Warriors on and off the ice.
However, as he alluded to, the Oklahoma captain won’t be back next season.
Instead, Lawson-Body will head north and begin his college career in the Last Frontier. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound forward announced his commitment to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks earlier this week.
“Just looking at the program they have and considering where they’re at right now, it just felt like a great fit,” he said. “They were so close to making the NCAA Tournament last year and have developed a winning culture there, and that’s something that I really want to be a part of.
“It’s been an up-and-coming program the last few years and I know they had some struggles in the past. But recently, they’ve really stepped it up and they won a lot of games last year. So I think we’re really going to be poised for success going forward.”
Lawson-Body said the opportunity came up recently with the Nanooks. Once the initial contact was made and he realized there was a potential fit, he knew he’d found his future home.
He’ll major in accounting and hope to lead an Alaska team — which finished the 2022-23 season with a 22-10-2 record — back to the NCAA Tournament. Alaska fell just short this past spring but Erik Largen’s group looks to be trending in the right direction.
As for the type of player the Nanooks will add in the fall, Lawson-Body has been a consistent point-producer over the last three years and the Grand Forks native is also simply a natural leader.
“He’s the guy that’s been here from day one,” Oklahoma head coach Garrett Roth told The Rink Live earlier this season. “He’s been here from our expansion year until now and he’s our captain and the catalyst of our three years. He’s a great human being, a great player and a great leader, and he’s wearing the C because everyone in our locker room respects him and we know that he’s the right guy to lead a group.
“Every single day he brings it and we’re really lucky to have a guy like Will on our team.”
Make no mistake, moving on will be bittersweet. The Warriors are the lone organization Lawson-Body has known over the last three years and he played 161 career games with the franchise.
At the same time, he’s excited for what’s ahead and he wants to hit the ground running in Fairbanks.
“I’m excited for the opportunity and I just want to continue developing my game,” he said. “There’s really no area of your game that you can let slack and I just want to get better at everything heading into next season. I want to make sure I have an identity as a player and help the team win however I can.”