UND lands recruit from Illinois

UND has received a commitment from 1994-born forward Jack Rowe of Cary, Ill.

Rowe just returned from the Five Nations tournament in Europe where he was the top scorer for first-place USA. He was the tournament’s third-leading overall scorer.

Rowe has strong ties to Grand Forks. His father, Jack Sr., graduated from Grand Forks Red River. His grandparents, Cleo and Neil Rowe, still live in Grand Forks.

Rowe said he received recruiting calls from about 20 college programs, but his top choices were UND, Michigan State and Michigan. He will graduate from high school in 2012.

“I’m just really excited to play for the coaches and be a part of the program, because it’s the best in the country in the opinion of a lot of people,” Rowe said.

He’ll play for Team Illinois midget major this season and the plan is to go to Cedar Rapids in the USHL in 2011. Cedar Rapids drafted Rowe in the second round.

I’ll have more on Rowe later on.

New Sioux hockey TV show set

UND athletics announced today that there will be a weekly TV show called “Inside Fighting Sioux hockey” that will debut this season.

The show is set to run at 7 p.m. on Fridays and 6:30 p.m. Saturdays on the Midcon Sports Network – so it will run a half hour before UND’s games begin.

The program will feature game highlights, interviews with players and coaches and a look back at great moments and players in the program’s history. Tim Hennessy will be the host of the show, which will debut the week of Oct. 4.

The show will run through March 21 with a week break for the holidays. It also will air on Fox College Sports on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., Fridays at 1:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 a.m.

All commitments under Hakstol

One interesting note about the 2010-11 team is that this will be the first UND squad made up entirely of players who committed when Dave Hakstol was the head coach. It comes in his seventh season.

Chris VandeVelde was the final commitment when Dean Blaiswas head coach. He committed about a month before Blais left for Columbus. VandeVelde then played two years in the USHL before coming to UND.

The first commitment after Hakstol took the reins was Zach Jones. He was followed by Matt Watkins, Andrew Kozek and a guy named Jonathan Toews.

Of course, Hakstol was a major player in landing all of the guys he’s had early in his tenure. He was the top assistant under Blais and was a big part of recruiting all of those players. But it’s probably worth noting that — for the first time – every player on this year’s roster committed with Hakstol as head coach and Cary Eades as an assistant.

Hockey News: Toews, Parise top 15

Every year, The Hockey News ranks the top 50 players in the world.

This year, the magazine says that UND’s Jonathan Toews is one of the five best hockey players in the world and that UND’s Zach Parise is top 15.

Toews is coming off of a historical season, one in which he won an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup. He was named the best forward in the Olympics and the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He is ranked No. 5. Parise is widely considered the best all-around American skater. He is ranked No. 15. Only one other former WCHA player cracked the top 50. Wisconsin’s Dany Heatley is at No. 38.

The Hockey News top five:

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Alexander Ovechkin
3. Ryan Miller
4. Pavel Datsyuk
5. Jonathan Toews

Top college hockey players:

3. Ryan Miller, Michigan State
5. Jonathan Toews, UND
7. Duncan Keith, Michigan State (also played major juniors)
15. Zach Parise, UND
31. Ryan Kesler, Ohio State
34. Dan Boyle, Miami
38. Dany Heatley, Wisconsin
49. Mike Cammalleri, Michigan

In addition, The Hockey News also listed T.J. Oshie as one of the five players to watch this season. Oshie will be entering his third professional season and will be a restricted free agent next summer if the Blues don’t lock up him before then.

Random notes

In trying to take some time off over the last few days, I’ve been forgetting to post several newsy items. So, here they are:

  • Grand Forks native and former UND defenseman Andy Schneider has been hired as an assistant coach for the Lincoln Stars. That also means his pro playing career has come to an end. Schneider most recently played in the German Elite League. He was hired by a fellow Grand Forks native and former Sioux player, Chad Johnson, who is the first-year head coach in Lincoln.
  • Former UND defenseman and forward Brad Miller has signed with Elmira in the ECHL. Miller was injured for most of last season. It appears that Miller will continue to play defense with the Jackals. Read the release here.
  • I’m not sure what took so long for this to become official, but David Toews has signed with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. Here’s the release. This move was reported several months ago.
  • Zach Parise,Jordan Parise and Drew Stafford took batting practice with the Minnesota Twins this week at Target Field. Zach also held a Q&A with fans on the Devils’ website this week. He answered a question about UND and said that Travis Zajac is one of the funniest players on the Devils. Read it here.
  • One website did a profile of UND recruit Mike Parks. Read it here.
  • And in the world of the WCHA, St. Cloud State forward David Eddy will be ineligible for the first half of the season, KVSC radio reported. Eddy is a smooth-skating player who led SCSU in freshman scoring. He also was the team’s fourth-leading goal scorer.
  • The CHL says, in other words, it would like to call a truce in its war of words with the NCAA and College Hockey Inc.’s Paul Kelly. The quotes from CHL leaders are rather ridiculous and Chris Dilks sums it up here.
  • On the women’s hockey side, the U22 festival is going on in Toronto right now and the Lamoureux twins have been dominating. It’s definitely a good sign for the Sioux.

Bobbleheads

The Sioux Shop in Ralph Engelstad Arena has some good timing for its next available bobblehead doll. The shop is expecting that an order of Ed Belfourbobbleheads will arrive in mid-September, in plenty of time for his UND Hall of Fame induction.

The Sioux Shop also has Mike Commodore, Zach Parise and Jonathan Toewsbobbleheads currently for sale. It sold out of T.J. Oshie ones.

In late September, the Sioux Shop is expecting to get a new Oshie bobblehead with him in a green jersey, as well as a Parise bobblehead in green.

Belfour’s legacy

Ed Belfour, who will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in October, has a legacy of posting shutouts, winning games and winning championships.

He does not get the credit he deserves for being an innovator, though, UND coach Dave Hakstol says.

“He was such an innovator of the position,” Hakstol said. “Look at the evolution of goaltending over the last 20 years. I think he was a big part of that evolution of the position. I don’t think he gets a lot of the credit he deserves for that.

“Look at how the style of play has changed. Pull out some old NHL tapes and watch. Look at the position 20 years ago compared with how it is played now. I think his innovations, as focused and concentrated on improving as Eddie was, were a big part in evolving the way the position is played.

“I don’t think the athleticism has changed – just the way in which it is played now. A lot of it mirrors what Eddie did.”

Hakstol said that Belfour keeps in close contact with the program, often calling someone associated with the program. He also was seen at the 2005 Frozen Four when the NHL was locked out and he practiced with the team before the 2007 season. Belfour went and played in Sweden that year.

His Hall of Fame induction will come the weekend of Oct. 29-30 when the Sioux host Denver. Belfour also figures to be the first former Sioux player to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

Roseau’s big day

The kid who left town about 10 years ago, having never been able to play for the legendary Roseau Rams, returned with hockey’s greatest prize. It was clear that Sunday was a very special day for both Dustin Byfuglien and the town of Roseau.

The parade went well. His intro at Memorial Arena was great. Then, everyone in the building realized exactly how special this was for Big Buff. His speech to those gathered at Memorial Arena didn’t last long — Byfuglien was too choked up. He couldn’t even say 10 words without having to compose himself.

After he was done, I walked around and talked to several former Roseau players. They all thought Byfuglien’s reaction was great.

Byfuglien signed autographs and posed for pictures for about 3.5 hours. Then, the building had finally cleared out. That’s when I went to interview Big Buff. Again, he had a lot of difficultly talking about the afternoon without choking up. It obviously had deep meaning for Byfuglien.

Same for the town. Roseau celebrated like it just won the state championship. Perhaps more.

I think just about everyone in Roseau was invited to the not-so-private party on the Byfuglien Ranch on Highway 11. There were hundreds of people there. They even posted signs telling people not to park on the highway. Word was that they had 20 kegs and even more cases for people to enjoy the night. And that they did.

Byfuglien let people pose with the Cup, touch it, pick it up and even drink from it.

On Monday, Byfuglien had some more private time with the Cup. But on Sunday, he made sure it was all about the town of Roseau.

GF Herald story and photos
Star Tribune story
Chicago Tribune photos

Women’s updates

UND women’s coach Brian Idalski is starting to move in the direction of the men’s game by getting early commitments. It appears he’s already done recruiting for 2011-12 (with seven verbals) and last week he got a start on 2013-14 by getting a verbal from what might be the youngest recruit in women’s college hockey ever.

Warroad’s Lisa Marvin, who turns 16 today, has committed to UND. Her sister, Layla, who will be a senior this year, previously committed to the Sioux.

The early commitment seems like little risk for both parties. Marvin has deep ties to UND. Her grandfather, Cal, is a founder of the men’s program. Her father, Izzy, played for UND in the late 80s/early 90s. So, she had her heart set on UND all along.

Marvin piled up 74 points in 29 games as a freshman and is clearly one of the best in the country for her age group (another one of the best is uncommitted Warroad forward Kayla Gardner).

In other Sioux women’s news, the roster was released last week. Of note:

  • The Lamoureux twins will wear numbers 17 and 18. Jocelyne will wear 17, Monique 18. Of note, Monique will go with the last name Lamoureux-Kolls, as she was married last month. The back of her jersey will likely still say just Lamoureux, though.
  • Monique’s sister-in-law, Madison Kolls, will wear No. 3. She’s a defenseman from Shattuck. Haven’t heard if she will redshirt yet or not.
  • Stephanie Roy and Ashley Furia are both listed as F-D. They both played forward last season, but if the Sioux need to generate some more offense from the blue line, those are the two who could help do it.
  • Holly Perkins and Alanna Moir are no longer on the roster.

The last moves

We’re all set for the 2010-11 season with the roster now that we know what’s happening with the two summer commits.

Taylor Holst will not play for the Fighting Sioux. Taylor Dickin is expected to arrive in January. He should be eligible to practice and play with the team at that time. Dickin has not yet been added to the official roster and my guess is that it won’t happen until the second semester. We’ll likely find out what number he’ll be wearing at that time.

Incase you didn’t see earlier, Derek Forbort will wear No. 4; Derek Rodwell will wear No. 11; Dillon Simpson will wear No. 18; and Brock Nelson will wear No. 29.