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Abortion Debate, College Hockey Recruiting Debate Unexpectedly Collide

22 September 2017

With the recent commitment to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities by the 13 and 14 year old Lucius brothers (whose parents founded a school that revolves around hockey and employs more staff in its athletic department than it does teachers), the men’s college hockey world was once again abuzz with the question “How young is too young to recruit?”

tUMD men’s hockey head coach Scott Sandelin went on the record in a recent Pioneer Press article regarding this question, stating he hopes the process will slow down “so seventh and eighth graders aren’t committing to college,” expertly setting the bar just below his recent recruiting coup, obtaining verbal commitments from brothers Joey and Mikey Anderson just shy of their 15th birthdays.

Bulldog men’s hockey vox Bruce Ciskie was also quick to set apart the Andersons’ commitment from other recent young commitments. “They were both playing varsity high school hockey when they announced, not […] Bantam hockey,” Ciskie stated in a recent off-the-record conversation with this publication. “I’m not running around the country going to those bantam tournaments, I can tell you that,” Sandelin told Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, who wrote the only bantam tournaments Sandelin attended were those of his own son, Hermantown hockey standout and Minnesota State-Mankato commit Ryan. Cleverly, Sandelin did not reveal whether his assistant coaches were attending bantam tournaments, nor did he acknowledge that his son’s bantam tournaments likely included Bulldog prospect Cole Koepke and incoming freshman Dylan Samberg.

Eager to repeat Sandelin’s recruiting success, college hockey coaches have been recruiting younger and younger. In addition to the Gentry Hockey Factory Academy duo, North Dakota has a pair of 2002 birth year commitments, as does Miami. 2017 and 2018 Men’s D1 National Champion Denver University, once famous for its “25 year old Canadian” recruiting strategy, appears to be on board with the new “15 year old American” trend, with three of its own 2002 birth year commits. UMTC’s in-conference rival, Wisconsin, counts 5 2002s among its 31 recruits. Yes, 31.

The have-nots of college hockey are struggling to compete, and resorting to more extreme measures. The “how young is too young?” question collided with the nation’s bitter debate over a woman’s right to bodily autonomy when newly-appointed Northern Michigan University head coach Grant Potulny recently attempted to receive a commitment from the 10 week, 4 day old embryo of a prominent, unnamed NHL player, citing the “elite DNA” of the parents. “I had noticed other college coaches lurking around [redacted]’s wife, and realized I couldn’t wait until the end of the first trimester to sign this kid.” Potulny also mentioned he reserved the right to rescind the scholarship offer after the ultrasound, should the future fetus turn out to be female.

This prompted abortion activists from both the forced-birth and bodily autonomy sides of the debate to wade in to the college hockey recruitment arena, unexpected territory for both. A spokesperson for NARAL commented on the potential commitment, stating “an embryo is not a person, and therefore does not have the agency to commit to a college hockey team. However, the pregnant woman does have every right to make the best decision she can; if that means committing a future child, whether this embryo or another, to Northern Michigan University’s men’s hockey team, we support her decision.” The spokesperson for the anti-choice group Focus on the Family clutched her pearls and said “Won’t somebody please think of the children??? Of course this child’s commitment to hockey should be honored! This precious baby is destined by God to have a blessed career at Northern Michigan University! How dare anyone try to take that away from them?”

Joe Shawhan, head coach of Northern Michigan’s rival, Michigan Tech, scoffed at Potulny’s recruiting strategy. “It’s preposterous,” Shawhan said. “I refuse to recruit that way, even if it means we lose out on some potential stars. I draw the line at fetal viability.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. vizoroo permalink
    22 September 2017 6:10 pm

    NMU jumped the gun–2nd trimester should be the absolute minimum unless, of course, the fetus has already been accepted by Gentry (Fantasy Hockey) Academy.

    • 22 September 2017 8:49 pm

      I believe Gentry Academy has an ecourse for parents on timing their fertility so they can give birth in an optimal month for scouting/draft position.

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