Grimaldi, Greene and WJC

UND recruit Rocco Grimaldi is featured in this week’s Sports Illustrated — the one with Stan Musial on the cover.

It is the annual (or bi-annual?) "Where Are They Now?" edition of SI. To go along with the stories about what former athletes are doing today, there is a section called "Where Will They Be?" That’s where you’ll find Grimaldi.

Grimaldi is probably the country’s top 2011 recruit. He dominated competition with the U.S. Under-17 team last season, got moved up to the U18 team, and still was a dominant player.

Grimaldi will come to UND next fall. After that, he hopes to move on to an NHL career. Grimaldi says he’d like to be a pastor after his playing career is finished.

You can read some of the copy here (I guess they didn’t chat with him after he made his commitment).

The hard copy of SI should have a photo of Grimaldi as well. SI spent two-and-a-half hours shooting photos of him earlier this summer.

UND has had several features in the past year in Sports Illustrated. Previous, there have been articles on the Lamoureux family, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, Phil Jackson and Ben Jacobson and his UNI Panthers.

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The Los Angeles Kings announced today that Matt Greene will be sidelined for three months because of shoulder surgery.

I believe Greene had planned on being back in Grand Forks to work out later this summer. He still might be back, but his workouts will probably be limited.

If he does, indeed, miss three months from the time of surgery, that means he’ll probably be out for one month of the regular season.

Greene is the alternate captain of the Kings. For more on this story, see the Kings’ site.

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The World Junior evaluation camp begins tomorrow in Lake Placid, N.Y.

UND goaltender recruit Zane Gothberg, freshman defenseman Derek Forbort and freshman forward Brock Nelson are attending.

USA Hockey sent out a release this afternoon saying that recently signed NHL players Cam Fowler and Nick Leddy will not participate.

For a full roster and schedule of events, see the USA Hockey site.

Random notes

Some random updates this evening:

  • Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux will throw out the first pitch at the Twins-Mariners game on Saturday. It’s UND Day at Target Field.
  • Brad Miller Time is now an award-winning show. It was recognized by the National Association of College Marketing Administrators. Read more about the award here. Brad Miller and Ryan Martens got it started. Mario Lamoureux and Brett Hextall kept it going. And Matt Schill films/edits the show.
  • Taylor Dickin says he won’t play until at least January. He’s planning on coming this fall, though. He’s hoping to make his impact in 2011-12 after a large senior class departs. I would post more on my conversation with Dickin, but the Selkirk paper did such a fine job covering his commitment that I’ll just link their story. Read it here.
  • I missed this earlier, but the South Carolina Sting Rays (ECHL) have re-signed former Sioux defenseman Zach Jones. Read the release here. Jones has been working out at The Ralph this summer.
  • The Colorado Avalanche did a story on Brad Malone. Read that here.
  • NHL.com listed its 10 stars of the shootouts. Both Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews made the list. They learned all they know from Cary Eades during the weekly Thursday Showdown.
  • Phil Lamoureux is the media star at camp with the Calgary Flames. There has been a lot written about him. You can start with the Calgary Herald, Toronto Sun and Abbotsford News.
  • Bemidji State says that forward Ben Kinne is recovering after Friday’s stroke. Here is the release. Let’s hope he can come back from it much like Michigan Tech’s Malcolm Gwilliam, who suffered a stroke in November 2008 and came back to lead the Huskies in scoring in 2009-10.
  • Want to know more about the Fighting Sioux Sports Network? Tom Miller wrote a good piece on FSSN in Sunday’s paper. Read it here.
  • With Mike Guentzel’s move to be the assistant coach at Omaha, Grand Forks Central grad Nick Fohr will move from assistant coach to director of hockey operations.
  • Former Minnesota forward Josh Birkholz said his impending suspension had little to do with him leaving school. Read the Star Trib story here.

Leddy signs with Chicago

Minnesota lost two players on Tuesday.

Just a couple hours after Minnesota announced that Josh Birkholz has left the team, Nick Leddy agreed to a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Leddy was probably Minnesota’s best defenseman last year, putting up 11 points in 30 games. The two-way player missed a handful of games because of a broken jaw, but still was a solid player for the Gophers.

He is the third player Minnesota has lost early this offseason, joining Birkholz and Jordan Schroeder.

Early signings/departures in the WCHA (18)

Alaska-Anchorage (2)
Lee Baldwin, Fr, D, New York Rangers
Bryce Christianson, Jr, G, Stockton (ECHL)

Denver (3)
Joe Colborne, So, F, Boston Bruins
Patrick Wiercioch, So, D, Ottawa Senators
Marc Cheverie, Jr, G, Florida Panthers

Minnesota (3)
Jordan Schroeder, So, F, Vancouver Canucks
Josh Birkholz, Fr, F, WHL
Nick Leddy, Fr, D, Chicago Blackhawks

Minnesota-Duluth (2)
Rob Bordson, Jr, F, Anaheim Ducks
Brady Hjelle, So, G, junior A

MSU-Mankato (2)
Kevin Murdock, Fr, G, junior A
Tyler Pitlick, Fr, F, WHL

UND (2)
Corey Fienhage, So, D, WHL
David Toews, So, F, WHL

Wisconsin (4)
Cody Goloubef, Jr, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Brendan Smith, Jr, D, Detroit Red Wings
Derek Stepan, So, F, New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh, Jr, D, New York Rangers

Birkholz leaves Minnesota

Minnesota has confirmed that sophomore forward Josh Birkholz has left the team. He is expected to go to the WHL.

Birkholz was facing a suspension for a violation of team rules, the school said.

The former Fargo Force player scored five goals and had one assist. Birkholz, a third-round pick of the Florida Panthers, has loads of talent but hasn’t been able to put it together.

Also, WCCO and INCH are reporting this afternoon that Minnesota defenseman Nick Leddy will sign with the Chicago Blackhawks. There has been no confirmation of that report yet, but we’ll probably know for sure soon.

Early signings/departures in the WCHA (17)

Alaska-Anchorage (2)
Lee Baldwin, Fr, D, New York Rangers
Bryce Christianson, Jr, G, Stockton (ECHL)

Denver (3)
Joe Colborne, So, F, Boston Bruins
Patrick Wiercioch, So, D, Ottawa Senators
Marc Cheverie, Jr, G, Florida Panthers

Minnesota (2)
Jordan Schroeder, So, F, Vancouver Canucks
Josh Birkholz, So, F, Everett Silvertips

Minnesota-Duluth (2)
Rob Bordson, Jr, F, Anaheim Ducks
Brady Hjelle, So, G, junior A

MSU-Mankato (2)
Kevin Murdock, Fr, G, junior A
Tyler Pitlick, Fr, F, WHL

UND (2)
Corey Fienhage, So, D, WHL
David Toews, So, F, WHL

Wisconsin (4)
Cody Goloubef, Jr, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Brendan Smith, Jr, D, Detroit Red Wings
Derek Stepan, So, F, New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh, Jr, D, New York Rangers

MJHL MVP commits to UND

The MVP of the MJHL has committed to play at UND this fall.

Taylor Dickin, 21, had 40 goals, 52 assists and 92 points with Selkirk last season. Dickin has good size at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He participated in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect camp as an undrafted player.

Dickin’s coach, Ryan Smith, couldn’t say enough good things about him.

The No. 1 thing that stood out? Dickin’s daily drive to become a better player. He went from 22 points to 69 points to 92 points in his three seasons in the MJHL.

Smith said that he had several conversations with UND’s coaching staff during the season, as well as staff members from Mankato and Anchorage. Dickin also was being recruited by Canadian schools.

For the full Herald story, go here.

Catching up

Sorry for the lack of updates. There have been newsworthy items going on both in WCHA country and in Sioux country:

  • Jordy Murray has told Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves that he’ll be back for his junior season. Murray reportedly thought about taking the same path that his brother, Brady, did at UND: Head to Europe after two college seasons.
  • Mike Guentzel will be an assistant coach with his third WCHA team in four years, Nebraska-Omaha. Guentzel previously was at Colorado College and Minnesota. Dean Blais now has two former Gopher assistants on his staff in Guentzel and Mike Hastings.
  • The Star Tribune reports that former Sioux defenseman Rick Wilson is a finalist for the assistant coach job with the Minnesota Wild. Wilson currently is with Tampa Bay.
  • Ryan Bayda is taking his game overseas. He has signed with Nuremburg in the German Elite League. Bayda most recently played with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ organization.
  • Former Sioux defenseman Rick Zombo has been named head coach at Lindenwood College. I have no idea what league Lindenwood plays in. Zombo lives in the St. Louis area and assisted on that same college team.
  • Riley Nash, the Cornell forward who played against UND the last two years (and was recruited by the Sioux), has signed with Carolina. He was drafted in the first round by Edmonton but traded during this summer. Of note: Chris VandeVelde ended up signing a better deal than Nash.
  • It will be interesting to watch the Ilya Kovalchuk saga play out. Zach Parise is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after this season and he should have a lot of dollars waiting for him. One website called Parise the biggest bargain player in the NHL right now (most bang for the buck).
  • Former UND women’s assistant coach Maria Lewis, whose contract was not renewed this summer, has landed a job as head coach of the Maine Blackbears. Erik Fabian replaced her on the staff.

Gleason, Hill listed as F-D

UND posted the team roster to the website today. There are no major surprises, but there are notable items.

At the top of the list: Joe Gleason and Ryan Hill are listed as forwards/defensemen. UND has great depth on the blue line and this could be a way to bolster the forward unit and get the sophomores in the lineup more frequent.

This is not to say it’s a definite move to forward for these guys. A couple of months ago when I asked coach Dave Hakstol about the possibility of moving a defenseman up front, he indicated that the team may have to adjust on the fly this season. But now we know the two guys who are most likely to move.

Other items:

  • Taylor Holst isn’t listed on the roster. It’s likely that he’s not through the Clearninghouse or admissions process yet. That process is sometimes more difficult for international players and Holst grew up in Austria. If he doesn’t get through, it will be interesting to see if the Sioux add a different recruited walk-on.
  • The freshmen have their number assignments: Derek Forbort will wear 4, Derek Rodwell will wear 11, Dillon Simpson will wear 18 and Brock Nelson will wear 29. Simpson’s father, Craig, wore No. 18 in the NHL. Numbers 6, 14 and 16 will remain vacant for a second straight year.
  • Tate Maris has earned a roster spot as the third goalie. This is not easy to do for an on-campus pickup. One player told me that the team really liked Maris. He has obviously put in the work as well.
  • Brent Davidson is back to forward, as expected.
  • Karl Goehring, who will run The Hockey Academy, is listed as the volunteer assistant coach instead of Scott Koberinski. Pierre-Paul Lamoureux’s title also has changed to assistant video coordinator.
  • The heights and weights should be official.

Hockey book on sale again

The Herald has some copies remaining from Virg Foss’ very-well-done book on Sioux hockey that he wrote in 2001.

The Powers That Be have decided to put them on sale again. If you would like a copy, click on the banner ad at the top of this page. If you live in Grand Forks, you can purchase a copy at the Herald building as well.

In addition to putting the book back on sale, the Herald has asked me to work on a project: Putting together a big piece on what has happened in the nine years since the book was published… in other words… the Ralph Engelstad Arena era.

I started it off with a 90-minute interview with coach Dave Hakstol on Friday. We discussed each team that has played in The Ralph, the personalities of each team, the high-profile NHL players that have come through, the weekend that The Ralph really became The Ralph, the Boston College losses, the 2006 West Regional and which Frozen Four loss was the toughest to swallow.

This project will appear in the paper in some form on the weekend of UND’s first home series against Denver (late October).

Single game tix on sale Sept. 11

One of the most often-asked questions of the summer is about single-game tickets. For those of you interested, they go on sale on Saturday, September 11. The time has not been posted, but for every year that I can remember, it’s 10 a.m. Central.

They can be purchased at Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Alerus Center, any Ticketmaster location or online at ticketmaster.com.

The schedule is on the sidebar (right of the page).

Cost depends on which series you want to see.

It’s $25 per adult and $15 per child for non-conference games.

It’s $40 per adult and $25 per child for the Denver series.

It’s $50 per adult and $30 per child for the Minnesota series.

It’s $35 per adult and $20 per child for all other WCHA games.

Holst commits to UND

BCHL forward Taylor Holst has committed to UND for this upcoming season. He will presumably round out the roster.

Holst was the second-leading scorer for Quesnel in the BCHL, tallying 57 points in 55 games. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound 21-year-old had 27 goals and 30 assists.

Holst, a Kelowna, B.C., product, played two years for Cowichan prior to Quesnel.