College hockey in the United States is still up in the air after an official announcement. However, one of its top conferences has a target date in mind for the start of their 2020-21 season. Meanwhile, in Europe, two members of the 2018 NHL draft class had big games.
NCAA Season Delayed
Though it seemed inevitable, fans of the college hockey in the United States got some disappointing news on Thursday. The start of the 2020-21 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey seasons will be delayed.
“The 11 Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey conferences, represented by the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA), are committed to providing memorable experiences for our student-athletes during the upcoming season,” was said in an official statement. “The conferences have been working together on plans to return to play with a focus on the health and safety of everyone associated within our campus communities. Due to the impact COVID-19 continues to have across the country and within higher education, the start of competition for the Division I college hockey season will be delayed. Each conference will announce plans for the season individually.”
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) released their own statement in which they name Nov. 20 as the target date to start their season.
“The health and safety of all involved across the campus communities, particularly our student-athletes, is the top priority,” said NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton. “We fully expect NCHC hockey to be back this season. As COVID-19 continues to have an impact on higher education, we have an obligation to host athletic competitions in a safe and responsible manner. We are committed to doing everything we conceivably can to provide competitive experiences that our student-athletes deserve. This delay affords us valuable time to continue formulating plans to start the season successfully.”
The NCHC is one of the top conferences in NCAA hockey with powerhouse programs like Denver, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and 2019 National Champion Minnesota Duluth.
Drury Scores Twice in Sweden
Jack Drury, who is no stranger to success in the NCAA, had a big day for Växjö Lakers HC in the Swedish Hockey League. The former Harvard University standout and 2018 second-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes scored twice in a preseason game on Thursday.
Drury’s first goal of the contest versus Rögle BK tied the game and forced overtime. He showed off his hands by going upstairs, on the short side, for his first goal of the preseason.
In overtime, Drury found some empty space just above the goal line and fired home this beauty of a one-timer for the game-winning goal.
Drury was taken by the Hurricanes with the 42nd overall pick in the same draft they snagged budding superstar Andrei Svechnikov. He scored 20 goals in 28 games for Harvard during the 2019-20 shortened season.
Lauko Also Nets a Pair
Drury wasn’t the only member of the 2018 NHL draft class to score twice on Thursday. Jakub Lauko, drafted by the Boston Bruins in the third round (77th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, netted a pair of goals for HC Energie Karlovy Vary during Czech Extraliga preseason action.
Lauko played 22 American Hockey League (AHL) games last season for the Providence Bruins. He scored five goals and nine points in his first professional season. He scored 21 goals and 41 points in his 44 games during the 2018-19 season for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Prospect of the Day – Sam Colangelo
We will head back to the United States for the Prospect of the Day and look at one of the players affected by the NCAA news. Heading into next month’s NHL Entry Draft, Colangelo is ranked as the 31st North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He checks in at 44th overall in the final rankings by THW’s Larry Fisher.
Related – THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Colangelo spent the 2019-20 season playing for the Chicago Steel, one of the top programs in the United States Hockey League (USHL). He was one of the top stars on a loaded team by scoring 28 goals and 58 points in 44 games. When the season was officially called off, his 58 points had him tied for third in USHL scoring.
He has the size that NHL scouts love to see at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds. His skill set is just as attractive as his big frame. His biggest asset is his strength. He is tough to knock off the puck and he wins a lot of battles for space on the ice. His game has drawn comparisons to players like Blake Wheeler and even Auston Matthews.
Colangelo has a very heavy shot, but he does need to work on his footwork if he wants to take the next step in his career. He needs to improve on his skating and overall speed, along with his defensive awareness. These are things most young players need to get better at and can be ironed out with more playing time and development.
Our own Peter Baracchini feels his combination of size and skill can lead to long-term success.
With Colangelo’s skill set, he has the makings to be an impact player at the NHL level. His weaknesses are ones that can be worked on over time. He has the potential to be a second or third-line winger with the ability to play be a threat on the power play with his strong shot. Despite having a bigger frame than most players, he’s still able to be a consistent offensive producer.
Colangelo is committed to Northeastern University whenever NCAA hockey returns to the ice. Playing for one of the top college programs in the country will go a long way in his improvement and development. He will likely be chosen somewhere in the second round and will be a prospect worth keeping tabs on over the next few seasons.