While I wait a bit longer for the junior playoffs to progress before giving a comprehensive report on the incoming recruits (and they've all been performing fabulously btw); I thought I'd take a moment (or two or three) to advocate that Evan Trupp come play at UAA this coming season. Evan is verbally committed to begin his College Hockey career in 2007 at North Dakota. I understand that some people might think it is out of line for me to suggest such a thing in this forum. Comments are free.
Why Should He Play at UAA?
There is a big upside for UAA if Evan were to choose to come back; but what is the upside for Evan? He already has an agreement with a perennial national powerhouse. Going to UND means that 3 out of 4 years he'll be playing on a team that will likely have legitimate chances to win National Championships. Everyone wants to play on a winner don't they? I dunno ... maybe TURNING the hometown team into a winner could be equally gratifying for a kid? Maybe? Ok maybe not ... so the potential "glory" probably can't really match up to UND.
The first upside for Evan in choosing to come to UAA is that he'll be playing College Hockey this October instead of 18 months from now. There's really no doubt that Evan is ready for D-1 now. I can't think of any argument that would convince me he "needed" to stay another year in the BCHL or perhaps play in the USHL for another year. He clearly doesn't. Look at his rookie numbers in BC. There are more than just a few players his age coming into D-1 next year. The second upside for Evan in coming to UAA would be that he'd be on the ice as a freshman. Not for 15 games or 21 games or whatever ... he'd be on the ice in every game (will he at UND in 07?). I'm of the opinion that a year of competition in the WCHA is better for developing a players skills than staying in juniors. As with any kid playing hockey at any level no doubt that Evan would like to play in the NHL one day. Will he really get the development in juniors that will benefit him along those lines? I don't think so. Did I say he's ready for D-1 now?
Think Luke Beaverson is sorry that he spent his sophmore year at UAA instead of his freshman at UND (after they told him to play a third year of juniors under their reasoning that he needed another year to be ready)? Sure UND is on a run to another possible final four appearance this year; Luke could have been a part of that. But everything I've ever heard or read tells me that Luke loves UAA and has never looked back on his decision to come play hockey here. In my book he should get consideration next year for Captain.
Won't a player get better exposure at a school like UND vs. UAA? This is an old argument who's age doesn't make it wise in most cases (especially when it comes to a talented player). Evan will be drafted this summer by an NHL team. Wherever he plays his future employers will be watching. And all you have to do is look to Curtis Glencross to see that an undrafted player can get plenty of recognition by performing well against WCHA competition regardless of the team you play for.
Breaking a Committment is WRONG!
It is true that verbal commitments are almost always honored by school and player. Essentially the commitment is a simple verbal agreement between the player and the school. Unlike the LOI a recruit signs the verbal can (and more importantly has) be rescinded by either party. Is it "morally wrong" to rescind a verbal; didn't they "shake" on it (metaphorically speaking)? No, it has nothing to do with morals. Schools back out of verbal comittments frequently enough (for whatever reason) that a player rescinding is far from anything new much less be somehow morally wrong. It's not the old west where the handshake was a mans bond and all that "cowboy hoohaw". D-1 hockey programs don't look at it that way. Players shouldn't either. Both UND and Wisconsin wouldn't take Evan in 06. Why? Because it didn't fit into their plans. Going to play hockey at a perennial powerhouse doesn't come without a price. In Evan's case that price is that he's going to have to do it on THEIR schedule. Not his. So the verbal commitment is not much more than an agreement of convenience? Yep.
You're a Big Homer and You Suck!
Yes I'm a big UAA Hockey fan. That'd be the reason I started this blog. And obviously as a fan of UAA I see the upside for UAA. Yep. I plead guilty. UAA would definitely be a better team with a kid like Evan. He would be a piece of the puzzle. Along with Eric Walsky, Billy Smith, Merit Waldrop and Erik Felde he could form that core of high end local kids that is a necessity for UAA to build toward success in this league. I'd be a fool of a fan if I didn't advocate that he change his mind; especially when I see plenty of upside in it for Evan. Of course if there are specific educational opportunities at UND that aren't available at UAA; then by all means he should stick to his commitment. I'll stipulate that there may be other unknowable reason's for his choice that render this entire entry moot. If so, oops. I got it off my chest anyway.