Former University of Minnesota-Duluth defense man and Hermantown Hawk standout Neil Pionk has been called up to the New York Rangers.

Pionk decided to leave UM-Duluth after his sophomore season and was signed by the Rangers last May.  The call up comes after the team placed Brendan Smith on waivers.

According to the DNT, Pionk becomes the fourth member of the 2016-17 Bulldogs, who won an NCHC postseason title, to get called up to the NHL this season as rookies. The others being Dominic Toninato (Colorado Avalanche) and Alex Iafallo (Los Angeles Kings). Earlier today, Rangers President Glen Sather and GM Jeff Gorton released a statement saying changes are coming to stay competitive:

We wish Pionk nothing but the best of luck!