Offensive D-man commits to UND

UND received a verbal commitment from an offensive defenseman from Elk, River, Minn., on Saturday.

Matt Kiersted, a sophomore, made a visit to UND on Saturday, received an offer and committed.

“Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of going to North Dakota and playing for the Sioux,” Kiersted said. “When I played for the Minnesota Machine, we would go up to Winnipeg and play and we’d always stop on the way in Grand Forks and get a tour of the arena. I fell in love with the town and the school ever since then.”

Kiersted expects to play next season with Elk River. He will get picked in the USHL draft next month. There’s a good chance he could play his senior year in the USHL with whatever team picks him.

Last season, Kiersted had 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists) in 27 games for Elk River, which lost in the section final to Duluth East.

He’s a 1998-born defenseman who stands at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds. Kiersted said he likes being the fourth guy in the rush and adding offense. He plans to work on his defensive game and being gritty in the corners and in front of the net next season.

His UND arrival date is up in the air.

“Coach (Dave) Hakstol said it will depend on my development,” he said.

Kierstad said he’s happy with his decision.

“Even going up there today, I like how it’s not a huge college and not a small college. It’s right in the middle,” he said. “I like the class sizes. It just seemed like a good fit for me. I like the small-town feel.”

46 thoughts on “Offensive D-man commits to UND

  1. “Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of going to North Dakota and playing for the Sioux,” Kiersted said. “When I played for the Minnesota Machine, we would go up to Winnipeg and play and we’d always stop on the way in Grand Forks and get a tour of the arena. I fell in love with the town and the school ever since then.”

    These are the kinds of kids we need. Love it. Hope to see you wearing a letter one day, Matt. Bleed green.

    • Aren’t these the “kids” we usually get? Usually we get players who understand the culture and class of Sioux hockey. Yes there are some top end talent that can handle the pressures of college hockey, school, and not being the #1 guy like they get in the CHL. Overall the coaching staff is doing an amazing job of balancing the two . Getting top end talent, plus adding the 4 year type players like Ausmus, Thompson, and other hometown guys.

        • Gene, can you extrapolate your thought process just a tad; I’m a bit confused? Depending on when a kid commits (or is recruited) determines if said player is truly a student-athlete? In other words, anyone who commits early (earlier than has been typical) is much less likely to be a “true” student-athlete? Am I understanding you correctly? Are you saying a HS student who commits during his sophomore or junior year is less likely to take his college studies seriously than a student who commits in his senior year of HS? If this is your premise, can you share with us how you came to this conclusion? Thanks Gene, I will hang up and listen…:)

          • Adding on to that – a couple of months after Danny Kristo committed, Nick Mattson became the youngest player ever to commit to UND hockey. A couple weeks ago, Mattson won the Elite 88 award as the best student at the Frozen Four. He has received one B in his college career.

          • I am saying there is no means of determining whether a high school freshman or sophomore has the aptitude for college. That is the purpose of the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. In other words, Hakstol is not recruiting students, he’s recruiting hockey players. But this is what D I sports are all about, and what leads to the problems down the road with academic eligibility and ways athletic programs seek to assure it. You are aware of the big scandal at the U of North Carolina, right?

          • Obviously, Hakstol is recruiting hockey players. There might be a math wiz out there who got a 1600 on his SAT but has never skated before in his life. Probably isn’t going to recruit that kid. When the coaching staff does recruit players, it is fully aware of the kid’s academic background. Do you really think that it is impossible to tell which kids are going to be good students without them taking the SAT or ACT?

        • So you accept the fact he is not recruiting students? Good. Now, there is no way the coaches can tell at 9th and 10th grade what kind of student they’ll get. Actually, my point is made by the kid himself:

          “Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of going to North Dakota and playing for the Sioux,” Kiersted said.

          No mention of academics there.

          • I went to UND because I liked the campus, campus size, relation to home town (far away), and wanted to be a part of Sioux hockey. Do you have an issue with the University accepting me?

          • I don’t have an issue with anyone coming to UND. My issue is with the idea that the NCAA and universities continue to perpetuate the scam that many of the athletes are students. A recent study, for example, showed that football players dedicated 90 hours per week to the sport during the season. I simply suggest to let athletes play the sport, and don’t pretend they are students. For those who want to get a degree, have them take courses during the off-season. There has been too much corruption, phony courses, altered grades, low graduation rates, while universities have no problem in watching their reputation go down the toilet. Check out the story of UNC-Chapel Hill. At UND, where criticizing hockey is blasphemy, how many players leave as sophomores and juniors? Back in 1986, a 21 year-old freshman showed up to play goalie from Canada. UND won the title, and 2 weeks later he was in goal for the Blackhawks. Just admit what is true: athletic departments function as an independent fiefdom.

          • Are there issues with the student-athlete model? Absolutely. But don’t also pretend that there aren’t a ton of athletes who also go on to get their degree and use it in the future, especially here at UND. A couple years ago, UND had a goalie who was a draft pick and hoped to eventually have an NHL career. It didn’t work out that way. But in his four years, he also earned an undergraduate degree and a master’s. He is now in law school and will surely go on to great things. Should we, as you suggested, not pretend that he was a student? How about Dillon Simpson, who will graduate with honors in managerial finance? Not a student, right?

            Re: Belfour. If I wrote for the UND student paper as a freshman and had the New York Times call me and say, “You know what, that’s some really good stuff. We’ll pay you $1M per year to come work for us.” Would you expect me to stay at UND or do you think I would take that offer? The cards don’t fall like that for many people. But if you are one of the lucky ones like a Toews, Parise or Belfour, you are probably going to move on, just like a freshman writer would take that $1M offer from the New York Times.

      • Gene-Gene, with which part of the below sentences did you have comprehension problems?

        “His UND arrival date is up in the air. Coach (Dave) Hakstol said it will depend on my development”.

        “Development” = his hockey skills, GPA & testing, as well as personal character.

        Any other questions? That will be $42.50…… :-)

        • What I have problems comprehending is the mindset that a university exists to have a hockey team. Are you related to Ralph E.?

          • There are currently 312 STUDENT-athletes attending UND with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Just sayin’…

          • What courses did they take? An A in Fundamentals of Coaching is not the same as an A in Microbiology. Also, what’s the breakdown by sport?

          • Ya know Gene-Gene, if you hate the Sioux that much you could alleviate your angst and grief by not following them (or posting negative drivel here on the blog). Heck; you might even be able to rustle up the time to finish off YOUR degree…… :-)

        • Then why did you say, “I believe” instead of “I know”? If you know, then what is the kid’s name, so we can check. You have been found to lie before with some of your other forum names.

          • Uh, I have no other forum names. I don’t save stories from years ago. Perhaps Mr. Schlossman can research the Herald archives. In fact, he may reported the story.

        • How does a kid “withdrew from the offer”? He could commit and he could de-commit or never accept the offer but the kid cannot “withdraw the offer”.

      • Careful now. If we don’t have a 1st rounder who scores 50pts a season we are considered underdogs. Who cares if 15 of our players were NHL draft picks because age trumps talent according to Brad and everyobody else who posts here.

        But riddle me this jokers if i go play a pickup game of hockey and I pick the best players on the sidelines should i win all the time? My answer would be yes!

        • For starters, when did I say age trumps talent? Never. Also, you are one of those obsessors of draft picks, thinking that anyone drafted is more talented than a guy who is undrafted. Are you also perplexed why the coaching staff was playing Drake Caggiula over Wade Murphy? Obviously Murphy is more talented than Caggiula, right? After all, he’s drafted. Sometimes, you have to actually evaluate the players for what they are. Realize that Austin Czarnik, although undrafted, is one of the league’s biggest talents.

          • I guess that should put into focus the way the NHL drafts players. Maybe it should be like other sports and they get drafted the year before they join. Imagine how much better it would be for college hockey.

  2. Nice sounding attitude , sounds like a blue collar kid. give him a chance , he may be something some day. Go Sioux Hockey !!!!!

  3. What’d he do that’s so “offensive”? I checked his Twitter and I didn’t find anything that was otherwise obscene. I don’t understand why you label him that way.

  4. I hope the University doesn’t encourage their professors (Gene) to discourage future students by expressing their negative opinions on a pubic forum. Seems like we should be encouraging a future student athlete.

  5. I haveto think that every kid that plays good enough to make a D1 roster dreams of playing in the NHL! I also believe they are mentored to the best path for them to achieve that dream. Key point, it is their dream to get to the NHL, not win a national championship! If that happens along the way great! But I have learned there are different priorities in play. Not sure I have the answer, but if you look at the last couple of national champs (Yale and Union) neither had many draft picks. However, both had strong teams of potential free agents hoping to find a way to the NHL, that each got a strong plan b (an education) along the way.

    • I’m not sure on the theory that it is not their dream to win a national championship just because they have been drafted. I have been in 10 dressing rooms when a season has come to an end in the NCAA tournament, and I can assure you, they are not saying, “Oh well, that wasn’t our goal anyway.” I had a reporter who has covered more than 20 Frozen Fours tell me that he’s never seen a team take a loss harder than the 2011 UND team. Zach Parise is an NHL superstar with a $98 million contract, and I know for a fact, the loss to Denver in 2004 still bugs him to this day.

      • I don’t think any hockey player enjoys a loss regardless of the level of the game or whether or not they are drafted! However, my experience is that after such season ending losses the drafted player contemplates leaving the team for the lure of that NHL contract. Additionally, while some say they will chose to return the next year… my experience is that they were told that they needed additional development! Again, I can understand the magic money creates and really am not surprised when players make that choice. Honestly, I would question a player that didn’t take the money and run! But that happens regardless of whether it’s college or major jr hockey!

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