UND received a verbal commitment Monday night from 1996-born defenseman Ryan Mantha, who is 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds.
Mantha, who played for Belle Tire in Michigan last season and will play for Sioux City in the USHL this season, visited UND a couple of weeks ago and came away impressed.
“When I got there, everything clicked right away and I knew this was the place I wanted to be,” he said.
Mantha also visited Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin. He was picked in the fifth round by the Soo Greyhounds in the OHL. When asked if the window to the OHL is still open or if that has now closed, Mantha said “It’s closed. Very closed.”
Mantha said he knew about UND and Ralph Engelstad Arena because his brother played in the Little Caesars midget major tournament in the Ralph and returned to Michigan raving about it.
The earliest Mantha could come to UND would be 2014. His arrival date will depend on his development.
Sioux City used a tender to sign Mantha for the upcoming season. Sioux City’s assistant coach told the team website after signing Mantha to the tender: “We’re thrilled to have Ryan on board for next season. He is a big, mobile, puck-moving defenseman who we watched closely throughout the entire season. Ryan’s a player we felt was both physically ready while also having the maturity and mental makeup to make the next step in our league as a 1996-born player.”
Mantha’s uncle, Moe, played 12 years in the NHL for the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota North Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. Moe also coached in the AHL, ECHL, OHL and NAHL.