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Rule changes make recruiting prep hockey stars a different animal

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune , 01/13/20, 9:30PM CST


Hockey recruiting differs in many respects from other prep sports, and the window is now tighter on rules such as ones that made Rosemount defenseman Jake Ratzlaff a Gophers recruit before ninth grade.

Rosemount junior defenseman Jake Ratzlaff can now revisit the verbal commitment he made to the Gophers program as a ninth-grader. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky * aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

Jalen Suggs announced his verbal commitment to Gonzaga earlier this month live on ESPN2 surrounded by Minnehaha Academy classmates and local basketball enthusiasts.

About 20 months ago, Edina’s Quinn Carroll revealed during the 10 p.m. news broadcast on KARE (Ch. 11) his intention to play football at Notre Dame.

Such showpieces are commonplace in basketball and football, where a buzz follows the colleges’ courtships of top recruits. Hockey is a blip by comparison, even in talent-rich Minnesota.

Take Jake Ratzlaff, for example. Identified three years ago as one of the nation’s top hockey players in his age group, the defenseman verbally committed to the Gophers in July 2017. The news arrived via Ratzlaff’s modest Twitter message. He started ninth grade at Rosemount a few weeks later.

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Click here to see Star Tribune sports reporter David La Vaque's top 10 recruits in the state.

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