UND loses Gropp to WHL

Ryan Gropp will no longer be coming to UND.

The top recruit has signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, making him ineligible for college hockey.

“I am really excited to be joining the T-Birds,” Gropp said in a statement. “I have been having this feeling of joining the T-Birds for a while and it is better to make this decision sooner rather than later. The team is off to a good start and it is good to come and be a part of that. I am looking forward to getting started and joining the team.”

Gropp had eight points in 10 games to start the season with the Penticton Vees. According to Penticton coach and general manager Fred Harbinson, that wasn’t the start that Gropp expected.

“Ryan’s mindset last summer when he committed to UND (University of North Dakota) and decided to return to Penticton, was that he would enter the NCAA as a true freshman which coincides with his draft year,” Harbinson said. “Unfortunately Ryan did not get off to the start everyone expected this season, hence possibly affecting his long term goals. After a few discussions with Ryan and his family, we came to the conclusion it would be best for Ryan to change directions and move on to the WHL.

“Ryan was a great teammate during his time in Penticton, and our organization wishes him nothing but the best in his future hockey endeavors.”

In the last two-plus years, UND has lost four recruits to major juniors: first-round pick J.T. Miller, first-round pick Stefan Matteau, undrafted Miles Koules and now Gropp, who is eligible for the 2015 NHL draft.

UND still has a very good class of 1996-born forwards with Nick Schmaltz, Shane Gersich, Chris Wilkie, Austin Poganski and Rhett Gardner.

23 thoughts on “UND loses Gropp to WHL

  1. A shame that no one stands by their decisions anymore. If you commit to a school or team, you should follow through. Sure, I could where someone might change their mind because of a scandal or firing at the school, but those are not common.

  2. What kind of start did he expect to get off to? I don’t see anything wrong with 8 points in 10 games, but maybe that’s too low of expectations for a player of that caliber.

    • It sounds like they were thinking 8 points in 10 games was too low and he needed some kind of attention that the NCAA wouldn’t have offered — not an outstanding achievement that merited a change in future plans.

  3. What’s the point of a verbal commitment anyway? How often do kids, for perfectly legitimate reasons, change their minds. Blame the system when its at fault, but its a little unfair to blame a fifteen or sixteen year old kid just for changing their mind on where they want to play hockey.

  4. I do at least understand his reasoning, look what happened to a very good Luke Johnson after a bad year in the USHL. He was once considered a potential 1st round pick. That said, there are plenty of examples of lower draft picks like Corban Knight becoming hot commodities after UND.

  5. another reason to stop posting anything about anyone until they pull on the sweater. don’t know the kid. don’t care until he is here. a waste of ink… bandwidth.

    • Good point! It is so commonplace now to vacate a commitment. No reason anymore to rely on who is coming until they hit the ice.

  6. Corban Knight was not a “hot commodity” and never will be. I bet Knight will never play in an actual NHL game. The team he is with now said he is worthless and doesnt work or grind very hard and was sent down to the farm team. He was never really good with UND either. He was lazy and was just in the right spot at the right time.

    • You should get that swollen lump above your shoulder looked at by a specialist…… :-)

      ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Corban Knight scored in overtime and assisted on another goal as the Abbotsford Heat beat the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 in American Hockey League action Friday.

      With his team on the power play, Knight rushed up the right wing and centred the puck towards Greg Nemisz at the net, but the attempted pass went in off an Admiral defender and in for his second of the season.

      Turner Elson and Ben Hanowski also scored for Abbotsford (2-1-0) in the club’s home opener.

      Reto Berra stopped 24 shots in the victory.

  7. And Andy….That Jon Toews guy and Zack Parise were not good players either and only had any success at UND because of being there at the right time….

  8. Andy thank you so much for visiting us from your Gopher hole. We appreciate your interest in our program and that you like to come and comment. When I read your comments, I’m reminded why I’m a Sioux fan and show class. I’m also reminded that I have a life and don’t have the time or energy to go to other programs sites to comment and stir it up. Thanks for those reminders!!

    • Well you never know ESF, Andy could just as easily be a DU, UMD, St. Cloud, CC, Mankato, Tech, Miami or BSU fan. They don’t like the Whioux either.

  9. I always find it funny. When announced, Gropp was touted by you as one of the top 96 born players in Canada, a coup for UND to get a guy of this stature. Then he decides not to come and the daggers come out. It is downright comical how when they are ” your guys ” they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and when they de-commit, well, they were not that good anyway, he has struggled in the BCHL, we still have a great recruiting class blah blah. The hypocrisy is everywhere. And the best part of it, I doubt you have ever seen the guy play before. He was overrated in the first place. Oh, and watch for Gardner to be in Brandon soon as well.

    • If you were on the Sioux Sports site, you would have noticed that some people were taming the comparisons to Toews because he hadn’t really done a lot in an offensive league. So, that talk was going on well before he decommitted. Thanks for the concern though.

    • A. When Gropp committed, I wrote that it is rare for college programs to land a player who was a first-round pick in a CHL draft. That is a fact. It remains to be true.
      B. In this blog post, I wrote that he figured to be “a very good college player.” Apparently, you took that for “he’s not that good.”
      C. I wrote that he was struggling in the BCHL to start the year. His coach said that. The stats illustrate that. It’s a factor in why he’s leaving his BCHL team mid-season.
      D. I wrote that UND still has a very good recruiting class. Do you believe that it is not?
      E. I have seen Gropp play.

  10. I’m sorry Greg but where exactly in Brad’s post does it say that Gropp was “not that good anyway”… I don’t see that anywhere in the post. In fact I don’t really see anything negative. The piece at the end about the recruits UND has lost over the last couple years was simply a statement of fact. The only negativity on this whole page is coming from you and your fellow troll Andy. That being said, we all truly appreciate you sharing your opinion with us. As EdinaSiouxFan said, it reminds me of why I’m a Sioux fan ;-)

  11. I don’t believe anyone said he is no good anyway now that he decommitted….. It was just pointed out he was struggling a bit in a league where he should have been more dominate but don’t let that stop you from thinking the way you do. Pesky facts are tough to swallow when they don’t match up with the crap you spew.

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