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Eagan's Zajac picks Princeton

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 01/30/12, 4:55PM CST


Wildcats forward made two East Coast trips before settling on Tigers

Eagan's Michael Zajac, who has 17 goals and 19 assists in 19 games, has committed to play at Princeton. Photo by Helen Nelson

Michael Zajac

The fastest way to a hockey recruit’s heart just might be through his stomach.

That route seemed to work on Eagan senior Michael Zajac, who last spring was visiting Princeton University when some of the school’s hockey players took him out to breakfast. They dined at one of the school’s famous eating clubs.

It was an experience that remains filed near the top of Zajac’s memory.

“The players there were all really welcoming,” said Zajac, who is the No. 4-ranked Wildcats’ third-leading score with 36 points in 19 games. “We had fun together.

“The eating clubs are huge houses where you go and eat. They didn’t have to take me there, it wasn’t like they were told to do it. But they did anyway.

“Those eating clubs (which occupy mansions on campus) are a sight to see.”

Zajac’s spring-break visit to the New Jersey school was classified as an unofficial visit. He made his official visit a few weeks ago, when he made a verbal commitment to play for the Tigers. Zajac, a 3.8 student, needed to take an SAT II test to qualify academically, and he got the test out of the way last weekend, clearing his path to those eating clubs.

More importantly than the food, even, Zajac said he hit it off with new Princeton head coach Bob Prier and his staff during his official visit.

Zajac said he also took unofficial visits to Darmouth, Boston College, Union last spring during his trip to the East Coast. He also made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin.

“Last year during spring break instead of going to Hawaii, we went (to the East Coast),” said Zajac, who toured New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. “I liked them all. Each one of the three has a different feel to it.”

The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Zajac is the second Eagan senior to make a college commitment this season. He follows defenseman Eli May, who is headed to Minnesota State. Several more Eagan players, including high-scoring forward Will Merchant, are likely to land at Division I programs.

“We’re all really good friends,” Zajac said. “When it comes to recruiting and stuff, we never really talk about it. Everyone is on their own schedule.”

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2011-12 Minnesota High School Division I Recruits

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
Michael Brodzinski Blaine Junior D Minnesota Yes
Andrew Commers St. Thomas Academy Senior F RPI Yes
Jordan Gross Maple Grove Junior D Notre Dame Yes
Jake Guentzel Hill-Murray Junior F Nebraska-Omaha Yes
Blake Heinrich Hill-Murray Junior D Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Christian Horn Benilde-St. Margaret's Senior F Minnesota Yes
Adam Johnson Hibbing Junior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Justin Kloos Lakeville South Senior F Minnesota Yes
Dan Labosky Benilde-St. Margaret's Junior F Colorado College Yes
Vinni Lettieri Minnetonka Junior F Minnesota Yes
Eli May Eagan Senior D Minnesota State Yes
Will Merchant Eagan Senior F Maine Yes
Lou Nanne Edina Junior F Minnesota Yes
Grant Opperman Breck Senior F Dartmouth 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
Charlie Sampair Hill-Murray Senior F Minnesota-Duluth 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
Jared Thomas Hermantown Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Dom Toninato Duluth East Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Hunter Warner Eden Prairie Sophomore D Minnesota State Yes
Sam Wolfe Eagan Senior D Maine Yes
Michael Zajac Eagan Senior F Princeton Yes