2009-10: Grant Besse participated in USA Hockey’s Select 15 Camp and competed for Team Northwest in the Minnesota-based Upper Midwest Elite High School league in the fall before skating for Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Minnesota as a freshman. Besse was the third-leading scorer for B-SM with 30 goals with 20 assists in 27 games, including 3 goals and 1 assist in two section playoff games, and was +21 with 12 penalty minutes. Benilde-St. Margaret’s fell to Minnetonka in the Section 6AA playoffs. Besse was selected by Muskegon in the fourth round (59th overall) of the USHL Futures Draft.
2010-11: Besse had 20 points in 22 games for Team Northwest in the UMWHSEL in the fall before returning to Benilde-St. Margaret’s for his sophomore season. He scored 9 goals with 11 assists in 22 games for Team Northwest. In 27 games with B-SM he scored 33 goals with 20 assists and was +30 with 18 penalty minutes. Benilde-St. Margaret’s was 20-4 during the regular season before falling to Wayzata in the Section 6AA playoffs.
2011-12: Besse again participated in the UMWEHSL and averaged three points per game for Minnesota Class AA champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s as a junior. He scored 17 goals with 18 assists in 24 games for Team Northwest in the fall. Besse was the leading scorer in Minnesota high school hockey, finishing with 52 goals and 41 assists in 31 games for B-SM and was +31 with 22 penalty minutes. Benilde-St. Margaret’s defeated Minnetonka to capture the Section 6AA title and Besse scored all five goals for B-SM in the Red Knights’ 5-1 win over Hill-Murray in the Class AA state championship game. In January he committed to playing college hockey at Wisconsin in 2014-15. In May the Omaha Lancers’ obtained Besse’s USHL rights in a trade with Muskegon.
2012-13: Besse made his USHL debut, skating in seven games for Omaha following his senior season at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. He had 4 goals and was -3 in his stint with the Lancers. Besse was named Minnesota high school hockey’s Mr. Hockey, scoring 48 goals with 28 assists in 28 games while finishing +51 with 18 penalty minutes in 28 games for Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The Red Knights reached the Section 6AA championship game – falling to Wayzata, 5-2. Besse was ranked 124th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and was selected by Anaheim in the fifth round (147th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Besse skated in 36 of 37 games for the University of Wisconsin in his freshman season. Playing both left and right wing for the Badgers, he led Wisconsin freshman with 8 goals and 6 assists and was +3 with 12 penalty minutes. The Badgers earned an NCAA Tournament berth, defeating Ohio State, 5-4 in overtime, in the championship game of the inaugural Big Ten tournament after finishing second in the regular season. Wisconsin lost 5-2 to North Dakota in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.
2014-15: Besse was the University of Wisconsin’s leading scorer as a sophomore in what was a forgettable season for the Badgers. Skating in 32 of 35 games, he scored 11 goals with 11 assists and was -14 with 6 penalty minutes. After losing 11 players to either graduation or early departures, Wisconsin won just four games all season and was eliminated by Michigan, 5-1, in the Big Ten quarterfinals; the worst season since the program returned to the varsity level in 1963.
Besse made the jump directly from high school to college hockey. A prolific scorer in Minnesota high school hockey, he provided a glimpse of that ability. A highly skilled offensive player and a very good skater, his lack of size and bulk will be a challenge as he moves up to compete against bigger and stronger opponents. He should continue to develop a well-rounded game while playing at Wisconsin.
Besse is in his junior season at the University of Wisconsin in 2015-16. A prolific scorer in Minnesota high school hockey, he is the Badgers' top forward for a team that is once again struggling in the Big Ten. A skilled offensive player and a very good skater, his lack of size and bulk will be a concern in pro hockey. His development at Wisconsin suggests he has the potential to be a Tyler Johnson-type forward in the NHL. It is equally likely is a player better suited to playing in Europe.