Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Huge Recruiting Weekend In Madison

This is a huge weekend for hockey in Madison. Not only are the Badgers fighting for their lives in the first round of the WCHA playoffs against Minnesota State at the Kohl Center, but the state of Wisconsin's elite high school aged players will also be in town.

Capitol Ice in Middleton is the host rink for the 2009 WAHA State playoffs. Wisconsin has actively been in touch with some of the players who will be in attendance and there is a good chance that more than a few will end up wearing cardinal and white some day.

The tournament will be headlined by Team Wisconsin's Cody Strang (Edgewood, Mr. Hockey winner) and Matt Paape (Appleton) who are both already committed to Wisconsin. Another committed player to watch this weekend would have been defenseman Aaron Harstad (Stevens Point) who is committed to Colorado College, but Green Bay (USHL) rostered him earlier in the season with plans on him finishing the season out as a Gambler, so I doubt he will be in Madison.

Don't worry, there are still many other players who will some day be playing in the WCHA at Capitol Ice this weekend.
  • The Green Bay Jr. Gamblers have a pair of high octane forwards in Ryan Belonger and CJ Eick. Both played at select 16's in New York over the summer and Belonger has been on an unofficial visit to Wisconsin already. USHR rated Belonger as one of the top 15 forwards in camp at one time.
  • Team Wisconsin Major features the players I already listed as well as defenseman Brian Kemp from Fond du Lac who is a big physical presence. They also have high scoring forward Wes Wauters (Ashwaubenon) who has also been on an unnoficial visit to the Madison campus. Another interesting player is defenseman Nolan Kirley (Hayward) who has already been drafted by the Windsor Spitfires in the 11th round of the OHL draft.
  • Team Wisconsin minor has a trifecta of sophomores and a stud freshman to keep an eye on. The sophomores are forwards Ryan Dau (Hudson), and Todd Koritsinsky (Middleton), along with defenseman Joey Fiala (Verona). Defenseman Jake McCabe is the lone freshman from Team Wisconsin, but he plays with poise way beyond his years.
  • The other team to watch this weekend is the Madison Capitols Major squad. They are headlined by defenseman Eric Johnson who has been a regular at the USA select festivals. At 6'2, 190 lbs, Johnson is solid as a rock. Tyler Lundey is a high scoring forward for the caps. The Capitols also have a Suter on the squad with Jake Suter, a 6', 185 lb defenseman.
Here is the schedule for the tournament this weekend in regards to players to watch. There will be a ton of hockey at Capitol Ice with younger players as well but I am just showing the Major and Minor schedules.

Also...don't quote me on this but I think they may serve beer at the rink at Cap Ice for this tournament. It's been a few years since I've been there but I thought I remembered that.