News has just broke that the Badgers have received a verbal commitment from Joseph LaBate for the 2011-12 hockey season.
LaBate, a centerman from the Academy of Holy Angels, a private school from the twin-cities is one of the last remaining elite forwards in the class of 2011.
The 6'4 lefty is a skilled pivot who is expected to hear his name called in the upcoming 2011 NHL Draft which is being held in his home state of Minnesota. LaBate was ranked as the #60 North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting staff during it's mid-term rankings. According to The Hockey News, LaBate is expected to go somewhere between the second and third round of the draft.
A spot for LaBate in the 2011 class recently opened up when this blog broke the news that Madison native Cody Strang would not qualify academically to be eligible for the 2011-2012 hockey season. LaBate joins a freshman class that includes USHL forwards Brendan Woods (Muskegon), Tyler Lapic (Chicago), and Matt Pappe (Sioux City) in addition to NTDP defeseman Jake McCabe, Minnesota high school defenseman Patrick Daly, and BCHL goalie Joel Rumpel from Penticton.
LaBate, who is arguably the best forward in Minnesota high school hockey is a finalist for this years Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award. LaBate and Minnesota Gopher recruit Kyle Rau are expected to be the front runners in this years class. Past Mr. Hockey winners that have attended Wisconsin include Tom Gorowsky and Ryan McDonagh. Badger recruit Patrick Daly is also a finalist this year.
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