Eli May (14) of Eagan checks Hunter Warner (16) of Eden Prairie. Photo by Helen Nelson
The bumps and bruises that come with standing in front of the net during an Eagan power play aren’t much of a concern to Eli May, who doesn’t talk about whacks to the shin or the goalie-stick jabs to the small of his back when discussing the inherent dangers of the role.
“Someone has got to do it,” the Wildcats’ defenseman said. “I’m not afraid of getting a slapshot from (Michael) Zajac or (Will) Merchant or any of them.
“I don’t mind getting hit with a shot or two. You’ve got thousands of dollars of equipment on. It’s not like it is going to hurt for very long.”
May’s grittiness is an important element in a well-rounded skillset that attracted the interest of several Division I college programs.
On Monday the 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior accepted a scholarship offer to play at Minnesota State, becoming the first of what could be several Wildcats seniors – Zajac and Merchant among them -- to commit to a Division I program.
May, who played two seasons in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League and this year was selected for the Bauer National Invitational tournament, took an unofficial visit to Bemidji State and was invited to visit Maine. Ultimately, he chose to Mankato State because of the commitment he felt from the Mavericks’ coaching staff.
“I liked the coaching staff,” May said. “I just really liked the environment. They say you should go with your gut feeling, and I went with my gut.”
May is one of four Eagan defensemen in their third season on the varsity. He is joined by fellow seniors Nick Kuchera, Connor McGovern and Sam Wolfe to form one of the deepest and most defensive corps in the state.
When he isn’t stationed in front of the net during Wildcats’ power plays, May is paired with Wolfe to form a puck-moving, body mashing tandem.
“He’s a great leader with a great attitude,” Eagan coach Mike Taylor said about May, a co-captain who has one assist and four penalty minutes in three games for the No. 4-ranked Wildcats (2-1-0). “He’s got good size, he’s strong and he works super hard.
“He can play with the puck and he can get up and go with the puck. He’s a pretty well rounded.”
May, who first caught the attention of recruiters when he broke into the Elite League two years ago as an injury replacement for Edina’s Parker Reno, said he was happy to have his college decision made. Now he can go about the business of helping Eagan hone its game in preparation for the playoffs and, hopefully, another trip to the state Class 2A tournament. Eagan finished third in the state last season after losing to eventual champion Eden Prairie in the semifinals.
“Obviously that’s our goal,” May said about a return trip to the state tournament. “I think we’ve really worked hard over the summer to make our dream come true.”
|Name||High School||Year||Pos.||College||Verbal Commit|
|Spencer Bell||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Grant Besse||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Jake Bischoff||Grand Rapids||Junior||D||Minnesota||Yes|
|Andrew Commers||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||F||RPI||Yes|
|Jordan Gross||Maple Grove||Junior||D||Notre Dame||Yes|
|Christian Horn||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Justin Kloos||Lakeville South||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Dan Labosky||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Colorado College||Yes|
|Eli May||Eagan||Senior||D||Minnesota State||Yes|
|Judd Peterson||Duluth Marshall||Senior||F||St. Cloud State||Yes|
|Matt Pohlkamp||Brainerd||Senior||F||Bowling Green||Yes|
|Jake Randolph||Duluth East||Senior||F||Nebraska-Omaha||Yes|
|Joe Schuldt||Minnetonka||Senior||D||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Eric Schurhamer||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||D||Maine||Yes|
|Dylan Steman||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Dom Toninato||Duluth East||Senior||F||Minnesota-Duluth||Yes|
|Hunter Warner||Eden Prairie||Sophomore||D||Minnesota State||Yes|