The summer is here and that means one thing, incoming players are making up their mind on where they’re going to play next season. This is also the time of year that many college hockey coaches and fans dread. It’s the old, will he stay or will he go.
For top college hockey programs that recruit top players, coaches and fans alike hold their breath and hope their top recruits will honor their commitments and come to campus in the fall.
Recently, the NCAA has had trouble keeping its top blue-chip recruits. NCAA Hockey teams recruit them and the CHL comes in and snatches them up. One team, the University of North Dakota has had four players in two seasons decommit and go the CHL route instead, (J.T. Miller, Miles Koules, Steafan Matteau, Brendan Lemiuex).
Currently, UND has two recruits that have been drafted by the OHL clubs. Nick Schmaltz brother of current defenseman Jordan Schmaltz was drafted by the Windsor Spitfires last spring. Nick has not ruled out going to the Spitfires. Also, this past spring, UND recruit Christian Evers was drafted in the 5th round by the London Knights in the OHL Draft. Let’s just say, UND fans are a little worried, based on past experience. The question many UND fans are asking, will Evers ever make it to UND? Evers is an impressive kid who is 6’4” and 200 pounds who will turn 16 on May 25, 2013. So you have to think, that the London Knights, will be hard after Christian Evers, to sign with them.
Yesterday, Denver recruit Connor Chatham decommitted from the University and signed a Ontario Hockey League Players Agreement with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, ending his college eligibility. Chatham, a forward, was a part of the 2011-12 U-17 National Development team in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Also, from the developing news department, the Montreal Canadiens have signed their first round draft choice Michael McCarron to a three year entry level deal, meaning he will forgo his college eligibility and play with the London Knights of the OHL. So, the NCAA vs. CHL debate will heat up even more with this defection. This also means that there were no college hockey recruits selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Entry Level Draft.
The University of Massachusetts from Hockey East, also suffered a setback of their own, earlier this week, when they found out that one of their incoming recruits Willy Smith had signed a contract with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
While it’s disheartening to see all of these decommitments, according to Nate Ewell of College Hockey Inc., “the number of decommitments is actually down slightly.”
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.