Yahoo Sports is covering the decision of 1996-born standout Ryan Gropp, who picked UND over the WHL about two weeks ago.
Read the story here. It has quotes from both Gropp and Seattle Thunderbirds general manager Russ Farwell.
One quote that struck me was Farwell saying that he wishes Gropp would have informed the team before the bantam draft two years ago that he was going the NCAA route. Two years ago, Gropp was 14 years old. Perhaps, some 14-year-olds aren’t ready to make the NCAA-CHL decision yet?
Farwell also says they are moving on from Gropp, though I’m putting the chances at 0 to 5 percent that Gropp never hears from anyone in the WHL before coming to campus.
One other note about Gropp and his commitment: I’ve heard several people throw out the Jonathan Toews comparison (in large part because Gropp is the first WHL first-rounder to come to UND since Toews), but everyone might want to pump the brakes on that. Comparing any 16-year-old to a guy with Toews’ resume is a bit ridiculous.
Speaking of college hockey, one guy who is very happy to have a degree right now is Blake Geoffrion, the former Hobey Baker winner for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Geoffrion is being forced to retire at age 25 due to injuries. ESPN’s John Buccigross wrote a wonderful piece on Geoffrion. You can read it here.
Free agent Carter Rowney attended development camp with the New York Rangers earlier this summer. Now, he’s at another one. Rowney is working out with the Pittsburgh Penguins at their camp this week.
Rowney participated in Calgary’s development camp last summer and he signed an amateur tryout deal with their AHL team, the Abbotsford Heat, after UND’s season ended. He’s currently a free agent.
Ron Hextall, the father of former UND standout Brett Hextall, is moving from the Los Angeles Kings to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ron was the assistant GM with the Kings, helping them to a Stanley Cup last year. He will hold the same position with the Flyers. No word yet if the Flyers want Ron to play goalie for them, too.
The Herald story on the early signing of Omaha defenseman-turned-forward Tony Turgeon is here. Turgeon is on a one-way AHL deal.
Via Twitter, I learned an interesting note about the 2002 Grand Forks Wheat Kings PeeWee state championship team. It also included former Princeton defenseman Eric Meland and former UND women’s standouts Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux. All of them played different positions in college.
Jocelyne was the goalie for that team and played forward in college. Monique was a forward and played defense in college. Meland was a forward who played defense in college. And Turgeon was a forward who played defense in college.
UND prof Frank White is holding his annual scholarship fundraiser golf tournament in Walhalla, N.D., at 10 a.m. Saturday (social Friday night at Chizzy’s). It’s a four-person scramble with a $150 entry fee. Former UND standouts scheduled to play include former/current NHLers Mike Commodore, Matt Greene, Matt Watkins and Chay Genoway, as well as others such as Jake Marto, Robbie Bina, Andy Schneider, Andy Kollar, Jake Brandt, Nick Fuher and Lee Marvin.
Warroad’s Jared Bethune, a 1997-born forward who was recently picked to represent Team USA at the Under-17 Five Nations tournament, found out that he will not be able to join the team because of citizenship issues, he posted on Twitter.
Lastly, Rocco Grimaldi created a bit of buzz at Florida’s camp with this goal he scored at the :25 mark.