Update on UND signings

A total of 40 former UND players are now under contract for pro teams for next season. A number of others are still yet to be signed. Here’s an updated list of 2014-15 UND signings (let me know if I’m missing anyone).

NHL
Taylor Chorney, Pittsburgh Penguins
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles Kings
Matt Frattin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Greene, Los Angeles Kings
Rocco Grimaldi, Florida Panthers
Corban Knight, Calgary Flames
Danny Kristo, New York Rangers
Andrew MacWilliam, Toronto Maple Leafs
Brad Malone, Carolina Hurricanes
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders
T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
Chris Porter, St. Louis Blues
Dillon Simpson, Edmonton Oilers
Drew Stafford, Buffalo Sabres
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Chris VandeVelde, Philadelphia Flyers
Darcy Zajac, New Jersey Devils
Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils

AHL
Joe Finley, Hamilton
Carter Rowney, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

ECHL
Corey Fienhage, Toledo

EUROPE
Ryan Bayda, Augsburger (Germany)
Robbie Bina, Wolfsburg (Germany)
Brandon Bochenski, Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL)
Ryan Duncan, Salzburg (Austria)
Michael Forney, Sheffield (England)
Chay Genoway, Riga (Latvia, KHL)
Colby Genoway, Lausanne (Switzerland)
Joe Gleason, Lillehammer (Norway)
Andrew Kozek, Linz (Austria)
Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, Villacher (Austria)
Ryan Martens, Sonthofen (Germany)
Jake Marto, Graz (Austria)
Curtis Murphy, Linz (Austria)
Rastislav Spirko, Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL)
Bill Trew, Landshut (Germany)
Jason Ulmer, Linz (Austria)
Jeff Ulmer, Innsbruck (Austria)
Matt Watkins, Vienna (Austria)

UNSIGNED
Hunter Bishop
Ben Blood
Mike Commodore
Aaron Dell
Jason Gregoire
David Hale
Brett Hextall
Ryan Hill
Mario Lamoureux
Brian Lee
Mitch MacMillan
Brady Murray
Travis Roche
Derek Rodwell
Clarke Saunders
Matt Smaby
Evan Trupp

Poganski gets WJ camp invite

UND freshman forward Austin Poganski has earned an invitation to the World Junior Evaluation Camp next month. He is a late addition.

Poganski will join classmate Nick Schmaltz at the event, which is used to help coaches and administrators select the roster for the World Junior Championship. The camp will run from Aug. 2-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Poganski and Schmaltz will play on different teams in the event.

USA Hockey will continue to evaluate players through the first half of their seasons and will make final selections in December. This year’s event will be held in Toronto and Montreal.

As a late addition, Poganski is probably a longshot to make the team at this point, but even if he doesn’t, it should be a good experience before coming to campus.

Random updates

UND bid farewell to one member of its support staff this week as equipment manager Andy Rannells left to take a job the head equipment job with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL team of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Rannells came to UND from the National Team Development Program in the summer of 2010 and spent four seasons with the program. As a very dedicated worker, Rannells was usually at the rink for many, many hours each day, starting very early. One day last season, he even slept at the rink because of a quick turnaround.

Recently, he’s been working out of a locker room due to the renovations. UND will hire someone new for that position this summer.

*****

The Penticton Vees have hired former Central and UND defenseman Nick Fuher as a new assistant coach. Fuher was most recently with Winkler in the MJHL.

Penticton has been a powerful program in the BCHL the past few years, producing many D-I college players, including UND’s Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell and Wade Murphy.

What also could be notable is that the Vees will have two highly touted prospects on this year’s team in forward Tyson Jost and defenseman Dante Fabbro.

*****

Rosters have been posted for the Minnesota High School Elite League. Only nine underclassmen are on rosters out of 118 players.

Among those nine are two locals in Devils Lake’s Cole Thompson (Keaton’s brother) and Thief River Falls’ Brendan Bushy. Both are listed as defensemen. Thompson has played some forward in high school.

There are many other local names on the list. Check it out here.

Other notable names on the list include EGF’s Dixon Bowen, Tanner Tweten and Grant Loven as well as Warroad’s Kobe Roth and Jared Bethune. That would indicate all are returning to prep hockey next season and it should make EGF and Warroad instant favorites in Section 8A.

*****

A couple of signings to report: Former UND D Corey Fienhage has signed with Toledo in the ECHL and Grand Forks native and former Omaha D-F Tony Turgeon has re-signed a one-year deal with San Antonio in the AHL.

Could REA land 2016 U18s?

Bids to host the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 tournament are due July 31. They will be submitted to USA Hockey, which was awarded the event.

Could Ralph Engelstad Arena be the host?

Here’s my story in today’s paper. The Ralph is going to submit a bid for it.

The positives for USA Hockey: REA knows how to host events like this. It can generate revenue. It can provide an unbelievable facility for the players and fans.

The negative: This event has only been placed in the U.S. once and it was held in Fargo. Sometimes, they like to spread things out. That will be the big question for USA Hockey when evaluating the bid.

The U18s usually occur right after the Frozen Four and would be a great highlight event for hockey fans in the area. A lot of the players in the event will go on to the NHL.

The U.S. also gets to host the 2018 World Juniors. REA will likely submit a bid for that, too, when the time comes.

Former UND coach Bob May dies

Bob May, the coach who led UND to its first national championship in 1959, has died, the university said this morning.

May coached the school for two seasons from 1957-59, leading UND to its first conference title in 1958, followed by its first national title in 1959. He coached some of UND’s all-time legends in players like Reg Morelli and Bill Steenson.

May’s teams went 44-17-2 in the two seasons he coached.

He also played for UND for two years from 1949-51 under Fido Purpur.

After coaching, May became a dentist.

UND media relations contact Jayson Hajdu said: “We are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Bob May this morning. On behalf of UND Athletics, our condolences go out to Dr. May’s friends and family. A true pioneer and friend to our university.”

REA gets full-time anthem singer

UND has traditionally rotated national anthem singers throughout the year, but it will go with one, full-time singer this season for men’s games — Mark Lindquist.

UND says that, “with a significant amount of positive feedback from fans, as well as the desire to add to the unique experience of UND men’s hockey games at The Ralph, the decision was made to ensure a consistent performance of the national anthem.”

From the school:

Lindquist is a nationally-recognized speaker and world-touring entertainer who has performed live for over a half-a-million people throughout his career. As an actor, he has appeared in ABC’s “Lost,” CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O” and the Universal Studios movie “Battleship.” Currently, Mark travels the country performing the national anthem for collegiate and professional sports teams, delivers keynote addresses for businesses, associations, conferences and school assemblies, as well as educational financial seminars in cities across America. This summer, Mark has performed at the College World Series and will be performing at Fargo Redhawks and Minnesota Twins games in July, as well as for the Los Angeles Dodgers in August.

“It’s such an honor to become a consistent part of such a storied hockey program. The national anthem is my favorite song to sing and I am proud to bring my rendition to UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist makes his home in Fargo and co-founded Breath Is Limited Motivational Speaking LLC as his way of bringing a message of hope, passion, perseverance and joy to people all over the world (www.BreathIsLimited.com). He is also a partner at The 7 Mindsets out of Atlanta, Ga.

Lindquist is a former sergeant in the United States Air Force and an Afghanistan war veteran who grew up in Ortonville, Minn.

Caggiula ‘really good’ in Buffalo

UND forward Drake Caggiula went undrafted once again in June, but he’s clearly on the radar of at least one NHL team now.

The Buffalo Sabres invited Caggiula to their development camp as a free agent and Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy, who has been running the camp, had glowing things to say about the junior-to-be.

Caggiula scored two goals Tuesday night during his team’s 5-1 victory in a scrimmage.

On a story posted on sabres.com, Cassidy talked about Caggiula’s performance.

“He’s been really good. Real good skill level, nice release and certainly knows what to do with the puck around the net,” Cassidy told sabres.com. “This is the first viewing that I’ve ever gotten of him, but I’ve been really impressed with him.

“I think he makes plays at speed and he’s one of the few smaller players that we brought in, but he plays at a really good pace and he’s made players around him better all week. He’s made a good impression on us.”

Caggiula has showed high-end skills since stepping foot on campus two years ago and added more consistency last season. He’s a candidate to be a breakout player this season.

Mattson, Kiersted to play in Germany

UND’s two 1998-born recruits, forward Mitchell Mattson and defenseman Matt Kiersted, have both been selected to play for Team USA at the Under-17 Five Nations tournament in Germany in mid-August.

They will be coached by former UND forward and assistant coach Cary Eades at the tournament.

Every player selected to represent the U.S. in the tournament participated in the Select 16 festival in New York. Presumably, Mattson and Kiersted faired well there.

I also asked one scout to evaluate Mattson and Kiersted. Here’s what the scout had to say:

On Mattson:

“Appears a bit awkward when you first notice him because he’s taller and thinner than almost anyone else on the ice. That said, his offensive ability is readily apparent as he has smooth hands and is an effective skater for a kid his size. He has the frame to carry more muscle and once he starts to get stronger he has the ability to become one of the premier forwards in the 1998-born class. Mattson can beat you one-on-one, has scoring ability and can skate. When you look at his projectable size, he’s someone you can get really excited about. The biggest knock on him so far has been consistency and strength. He’ll have an opportunity to improve in both areas over the next few years. If he can add weight to his frame he should be effective winger at the collegiate level in the future.”

On Kiersted:

“Kiersted is a player you can’t help but notice when you’re watching a game because he dominates possession of the puck and is always making things happen. An electrifying playmaker, Kiersted has a special combination of skating ability, poise and hockey sense to be a threat offensively any time he’s on the ice. Reminds me a little bit of Joe Gleason at the same age in that he’s fearless with the puck and isn’t afraid to carry the mail up the ice himself. Has work to do defensively — needs to add strength and doesn’t have much physicality in his game yet, but the offensive skills he has, you can’t teach. At the high school level he can skate out of trouble in his defensive zone. As he gets older he’ll have to learn the intricacies of playing the defensive position. Exciting upside. Someone you’re willing to take a chance on because the special offensive skills he can bring to your team.”

Kristo, Ness accept qualifying offers

Former UND All-American Danny Kristo and former Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner Aaron Ness both accepted qualifying offers from their NHL teams, agent Neil Sheehy posted on Twitter on Friday.

That means Kristo will remain with the New York Rangers and Ness, a former Gopher, will remain with the New York Islanders.

Exact terms of their deals have not yet been posted.

Update on UND women’s recruiting

We’re into July. The players will all be on campus next month, so I’ve updated the sidebars, turning the page to the 2014-15 season for both the men and the women.

I threw the incoming recruits onto the stats file and cleared them off the commit list. The women only are bringing in two players — Fargo South’s Kara Tupa and Northeastern transfer Jordan Hampton, who will have three years left.

They have five future commits — here’s a bit of info on them.

Rebekah Kolstad, F, 2015: The Mankato East player racked up 58 points in 25 games last season, leading her team in scoring by a whopping 24 points. She finished 16th in the state in scoring. Kolstad has one year left in high school, then will arrive on campus. The Mankato Free Press wrote a story on her last season.

Taylor Flaherty, D, 2015: The blueliner for Lakeville North has the ability to add some offense from the back end. She had 14 points in 22 regular season games, then tallied five points in three section tournament games, leading Lakeville North to state. She has one seasons left before coming to UND. Her highlight video is pretty impressive.

Charly Dahlquist, F, 2015: The Eden Prairie forward had 35 points in 25 games as a junior last season, leading her team in scoring. In the first round of the state tournament, she scored the tying and go-ahead goal against Andover to lead Eden Prairie to a victory. Her father is Chris Dahlquist, a defenseman who played for the 1991 Stanley Cup finalist Minnesota North Stars. She has one year of high school left.

Kristen Campbell, G, 2015: UND went up to Manitoba to get another goalie. This one is Winnipeg’s Campbell, who plays for the Shaftesbury Titans. She was Manitoba’s goaltender at the 2013 Canadian Under-18 championships and is listed at 5-foot-10, which is tall for a women’s goaltender. She will come next season.

Abigail Stanley, D, 2016: Stanley is from Missouri, which hasn’t exactly been a hot bed for hockey recruits. But I’ve heard that the coaching staff is excited about this get. Stanley is a very offensive defenseman who can pile up the points. That’s evident if you see her stat page from when she played with the St. Louis Lady Blues program. She won’t be on campus until 2016.

Future targets?

It’s no secret that two of the most hyped recruits in the women’s hockey world right now are defenseman Jincy Dunne from Missouri and forward Amy Potomak from British Columbia. Dunne’s sister is an Ohio State commit. Potomak’s sister is a Minnesota commit. They are big-time players, though.

Potomak is a 2017 recruit, but was good enough to play in the WCHA as a top-six forward as a high school freshman. Dunne nearly made the U.S. Olympic team as a 16-year-old.

The younger sister of UND defenseman Tanja Eisenschmid, Nicola, also is a potential target. Nicola is a forward. A local name to watch is East Grand Forks forward Haley Mack. She will play Division I hockey somewhere. You have to believe that her old high school coach, Bemidji State new bench boss Jim Scanlan, would like to nab a commitment from Mack.