Young committs to UMD

The North Stars announced yesterday that 19 year old forward Blake Young has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Young will join Duluth for the 2014-15 hockey season.

First of all a big congratulations to Blake. He was playing Midget AAA for the Battlefords Stars when I first moved to town. I’ve watched Young grow into one of the top power forwards in the SJHL. That midget team he played on wasn’t very good at the time but you could see that Blake was a very good player. He had a solid rookie season in the SJHL putting up 20 points in 52 games including 8 goals.

I have seen the work that Blake has put in at Lifetime Fitness here in the Battlefords including a couple summers ago when I would see Young almost daily working out with Blake Tatchell amongst other. Younger was kind of tall and gangly when I first met him but that work has allowed him to add power to his speed and now there are few players in the SJHL with the size and skating ability of Blake Young. He hits, is defensively responsible and can score. And there’s nothing better than watching a player use his speed and power to beat a D man wide and power to the net. Younger does that regularly.

When I spoke with UMD assistant coach Jason Herter in Melfort on Wednesday night he spoke of all of those strengths of Young’s game. He says all players have aspects of their game that they can work on and that they will help Young develop even more once he gets to the NCAA level. But Herter, a Hafford SK native, says he likes to focus on what players can do when he scouts. UMD obviously likes a lot of what Young can do and they are getting a heck of a hockey player.

I’ve also noticed Young has matured a lot this season and as that process continues his on ice game is only going to get stronger.

As for Minnesota-Duluth? They are developing into an NCAA Div-1 hockey power house. Coming off a National Championship, their first, in 2011 UMD has made the national tournament in 3 of the last 4 years. With the recent re-alignment of NCAA Div 1 conferences UMD now plays in the NCHA with teams like the University of North Dakota and the University of Denver. UMD is currently ranked #20 in the national polls.

UMD play in the 6,800 seat AMSOIL Arena and have produced NHLers like Hall of Fame member Brett Hull as well as current NHLers Jason Garrison, Justin Faulk, Matt Niskanen and Mason Raymond.

This is a win-win all around. First and foremost this is fantastic for Blake and his family. But it’s also going to work out really well for UMD. It’s also a nice reflection of the SJHL and the Battlefords North Stars, AAA Stars and all the teams and coaches that helped develop Young. With the recent scholarships given to the Norrish twins of the Yorkton Terriers it’s nice to see big time NCAA Div 1 hockey teams are still looking to the SJHL for talented hockey players. And I get the feeling there are more to come.


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